Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó opened Hungary’s westernmost permanent representation on Thursday in Vancouver. In a statement to Hungarian news agency MTI from Canada, Mr. Szijjártó said the opening of the consulate was justified by the economic opportunities available in the region, the technological developments there, and the need to maintain contact with Hungarians living in the area.

In his opening speech, the Minister explained that Canada is a strategic partner and ally of Hungary. “As members of NATO we take part in joint military missions, are attempting to make the world a safer place, and are fighting together against globally increasing terrorism”, he said. “In addition, Canada has one of the world’s most highly developed industries and is a member of the G7. For this reason, it is extremely important to Hungary, which has an open economy, to develop bilateral economic relations with Canada”, Mr. Szijjártó stated.

“Bilateral trade flow is an annual 400 million dollars. Food exports to Canada are particularly important: Hungary is Canada’s number one importer of duck meat and Hungarian importers are also the fourth largest providers of chicken on the Canadian market”, he added. “The operation of the consulate will enable the exploitation of the opportunities available in the Western part of Canada in view of the fact that the region’s technological and IT development is recognised worldwide”, Mr. Szijjártó underlined.

The Minister said that there are 400 thousand people with Hungarian roots living in Canada, many of them in the western part of the country. “The Hungarian Government expects the consulate to represent the interests of Canadian Hungarians, help them to preserve their Hungarian identity, and also find new business opportunities for Hungarian enterprises”, he stated.

Mr. Szijjártó pointed out that British Columbia is Canada’s third most important province for Hungary from the perspective of economic cooperation, in addition to which there are some 25 thousand people with Hungarian roots living in and around Vancouver. “A particularly large number of Hungarians found their second home in Canada following the 1956 Hungarian Revolution”, he added. The Minister said the Government regards the Hungarian nation as something that is present worldwide, meaning Hungarian living in far-off areas of Canada can also count on their home country and on the support of the Hungarian Government. The new diplomatic representation in Vancouver is Hungary’s third in Canada following the Embassy in Ottawa and the Consulate General in Toronto.

(Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade/MTI)