Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó concluded an economic cooperation agreement with Governor of the U.S. state of West Virginia Jim Justice on Tuesday.

In a statement to Hungarian news agency MTI from the state capital Charleston prior to the signing ceremony, the Minister declared. “Hungarian-American cooperation can clearly be called a success story from both an economic and defence perspective, and since the Republican administration took office, also from a political perspective”. “However, further progress requires that the Government develop good relations with individual states, and it was in this spirit that we previously concluded economic cooperation agreements with Ohio and Indiana”, he explained. “There are several similarities between the development trajectory that Hungary and West Virginia have travelled recently. West Virginia boasts the highest GDP growth from among the U.S. states, while Hungary has the highest rate of growth within the European Union. Thanks to our courageous economic policies, we have both broken employment records during the past year and have also regularly broken our own export records”, he continued.

According to the Minister, economic cooperation with West Virginia is particularly significant within two fields. “One is the chemical industry, which is responsible for 40 percent of West Virginia’s production, and the state’s largest corporation, Dow Chemical, is also present in Hungary. This sector of industry also has a major research & development potential, and this is also need for the transition of the Hungarian economy into a new dimension”, the Minister highlighted. “In Hungary, the performance of the chemical industry increased by 18 percent last year, and the sector employs 97 thousand people”, he added. “The other important sector is information technology. There is an important IT data centre network in West Virginia, and Hungarian enterprises could also be given an opportunity to take part in its continuous development. The state leadership in Charleston was open to this idea”, Mr. Szijjártó emphasised.

“Energy is also an important issue. This remains a critical area in Central Europe. However, West Virginia is one of the Unites States’ energy hubs: it is in first place with relation to inter-state electricity exports, and it also boasts a major natural gas industry”, the Minister continued. While in Charleston, Mr. Szijjártó will be holding a lecture at the city’s university, amongst others on the subject of migration, and about the relationship between Hungary and the European Union. The Minister will also be holding talks with representatives of local enterprises, including Dow Chemical, as well as with the directors of industrial software developer Azimuth and pharmaceutical company Mylan. The Hungarian Foreign Minister will also be meeting with the pastor of the city’s Sacred Heart Cathedral, Father Donald Higgs.