Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó opened the Moscow representative office of the Hungarian Export Development Agency (HEPA) on Friday. “The job of the Hungarian government is to facilitate the success of Hungarian enterprises on the Russian market, similarly to the large Western European countries”, Mr. Szijjártó declared at the opening ceremony.

The Minister drew attention to the fact that from among the European members of the G7, Germany, France and Italy increased their trade flow with Russia last year by 56 percent, 40 percent and 37 percent, respectively. “German-Russian trade flow exceeded 60 billion dollars last year”, he pointed out.

“While Hungary realised 10 billion dollars in annual trade with Russia prior to the introduction of the sanctions in 2014, this figure was only 6.4 billion dollars last year. And it was only able to achieve this figure through increasing its trade flow by 17 percent from 2017 to 2018”, Mr. Szijjártó said. “While the large Western European countries are continuously increasing their commercial and economic cooperation with Russia, the Hungarians have lost out on 8 billion dollars in export opportunities since the introduction of the sanctions”, the Minister declared.

“Hungary’s export strategy has succeeded in producing major results in recent years thanks to the loans provided by Eximbank and with the help of economic diplomacy, particularly within the fields of agriculture, feed production, the milk industry, pharmaceuticals production and medical instruments”, he noted. “If there is no market presence and we are unable to assist Hungarian enterprises on site, then we cannot expect to achieve further market success. For this reason, following Eximbank, the Hungarian Export Development Agency is now also opening a representative office in Moscow”, Mr. Szijjártó stated.

“Hungary has broken its export record every year for the past five years while having to continuously endure major losses with relation to Russia, which used to be its second largest trade partner”, he declared.

The Minister said it is important to further expand pharmaceutical exports, within which field Hungary is currently Russia’s tenth most important source of imports, and where last year exports totalled 400 million dollars. Hungary’s share of Russian cereal imports was 20 percent, while that of corn imports was 42 percent. The Minister also mentioned water industry exports as a major area of business.

He told reporters that Eximbank’s 495-million-dollar credit line is also contributing to covering the financial requirements to enable Hungarian enterprises to achieve success on the Russian market. “We are striving to contribute to the success of as many Hungarian enterprises as possible in Russia through the continuation of our pragmatic and rational foreign policy, and the provision of active foreign trade assistance that enforces Hungarian national economic interests”, Mr. Szijjártó emphasised.

This is the HEPA’s fifth regional partner office following the ones already opened in Tokyo, Shanghai, Istanbul and Belgrade.