“Hungary’s economic strength is also being reinforced by the Swiss companies operating here, in view of the fact that four fifths of their production is manufactured for export”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said on Wednesday in Budapest at a business forum organised by the Swiss-Hungarian Chamber of Commerce.

“The Government has helped fund 15 major Swiss investment projects since 2014, and negotiations are ongoing with tow further companies” the Minister highlighted, adding. “The 900 Swiss companies operating in Hungary have created 30 thousand jobs”.

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Mr. Szijjártó drew investors’ attention to Eximbank’s 1.7 billion euro credit line for the facilitation of cooperation between Swiss and Hungarian enterprises, which may be applied towards investment projects that increase competitiveness, export-import transactions or start-ups on third markets, amongst other options.

At the event, the Minister declared that in recent years not only have security and political challenges changed, but so have challenges faced by the economy; the conditions for competitiveness have been transformed and previously unimaginable technologies have appeared, bringing with them new legal and regulatory issues. Mr. Szijjártó stressed that in the new global economic era success will be achieved by those who not only realise achievements in production, but also in linking production and development. “Accordingly, now that production has been successfully increased Hungary must also become competitive within the fields of digitalisation and research & development, and must convince companies that play a leading role in the new industrial revolution that it is worth not only producing here, but also realising developments”, he added.

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According to the Minister, approaching full employment had brought new challenges, for which reason the Government has decided to increase the number of state-financed engineering, IT and mathematics courses, establish industrial university centres, and adopt the dual vocational training system. “The new investment promotion system also points in this direction, and now not only supports job-creation, but also development investments and technological development”, he said.

At the event’s opening ceremony, Switzerland’s Ambassador to Budapest Peter Burkhard stressed that Swiss companies have become one of the most active groups of investors in Hungary, adding that the Swiss companies operating here are continuously expanding their activities. He highlighted, amongst others, Nestlé’s recently inaugurated new, 20 billion forint (EUR 63 million) plant in Bük, automotive company Adval Tech Plant 2 Limited’s new production hall in Szekszárd, and the new projects due to be launched by Stadler and several other Swiss enterprises. “The common characteristic of Swiss investments is that they all provide innovative access to the latest technologies, thus improving Hungary’s competitiveness”, the Ambassador said.

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The Swiss Foreign Ministry’s Ambassador for European, Central Asian, Council of Europe and OSCE Affairs Nicholas Brühl said relations between the two countries are strong and diverse, mentioning amongst others the Hungarian Reformation and the Hungarian refugees who settled in Switzerland following the 1956 Hungarian Revolution who, he explained, played a significant role in reinforcing relations between the two countries following the regime change. “Accordingly, the relationship between Switzerland and Hungary is not only significant from an economic perspective, but is also alive with relation to culture”, he added.

“Bilateral relations are particularly successful within the field of research, and especially within the field of healthcare”, Mr. Brühl said, stressing that in recent years Switzerland has developed to become one of the world’s most innovative states, the achievements of which are provided for by the country’s excellent education system. “Swiss universities train outstanding researchers, but the level of vocational training is also significant in view of the fact that one third of Swiss youngsters take part in this kind of education”, he added.

(Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade/MTI)