Eastern Opening: Hungary Continues To Enhance Economic Cooperation With Asian Partners
Tamás Székely 2016.04.28.
Hungary’s orientation towards eastern markets has remained in the focus of the country’s foreign and trade policies, recent developments clearly show. Two weeks ago it was announced that Singapore became the most important trade partner of Hungary in South-East Asia after the volume of trade between the two sides reached 528 million US dollars in 2015. Economic relations with China seem even more important in the wake of the Suzhou Summit as Chinese and Hungarian firms announced new invesments from time to time in recent months. Furthemore, in accordance with the EU’s new central Asia strategy, Hungary also devotes more attention to partners such as the Kyrgyz Republic.
Yanfeng in Hungary
China’s Yanfeng Automotive Interiors (YAI), a leading automotive supplier, said it would spend 7.4 billion forints (EUR 23,71m) on expanding its existing unit in Pápa, in western Hungary, the Hungarian foreign minister (picture above) announced. The Hungarian government will provide 1.85 billion forints to support the investment which will create 450 jobs, Péter Szijjártó said at a press conference. The Pápa unit makes interior parts for premium-category passenger cars. It exports 100% of its output and employs 1,600 people, József Vallyon, head of the Hungarian subsidiary, said. The investment will expand production area by 17,000 sqms from the current 20,000 sqms and will add new production equipment and technology, he added. Szijjártó noted that Hungary’s automotive sector had a record output worth 7,833 billion forints last year, up by 17% from 2014. The sector accounts for more than 31% of Hungary’s industrial output. It employs more than 150,000 people.
Kürt in China
At the same time Hungarian data recovery and security company KÜRT said it would expand in China. Having signed a strategic partnership agreement with Invest Shenzhen, China’s first special economic zone, last year, KÜRT has conducted talks on specific projects as part of the agreement in recent weeks. Deputy CEO Miklós Márton said the recently signed agreement could open up a data recovery market of amazing dimensions. Revenue from data recovery could increase by 5-6-fold within a short period, with costs rising relatively little, he added. In the long term, the expansion could require additional capacities, he said, without providing projected investment figures. KÜRT had net profit of 45 million forints on revenue of 1.18 billion forints in 2014. Márton said revenue increased by 15-20% in 2015 according to preliminary figures.
Visit to Kyrgistan
Meanwhile Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó met Kyrgyz officials in Bishkek to discuss bilateral economic ties and strengthening relations between the European Union and central Asian countries. The EU is working on a new central Asia strategy which will devote more attention to the Kyrgyz Republic and strengthening the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the two is also being discussed, Szijjártó told news agency MTI. An economic cooperation agreement, which will be signed later this year, will set up an economic mixed committee, he added.
The parties agreed to focus economic cooperation on four areas, with the primary emphasis on the pharmaceutical industry. Szijjártó noted that Hungarian drugmaker Gedeon Richter already sells its products in Kyrgyzstan and has a representative office there. Cooperation will also focus on health-care developments with Hungary supplying health-care products to the Kyrgyz Republic. The two countries agreed that Hungary would export environmental protection and water management solutions. The fourth area covered by the agreement is energy infrastructure, particularly pertaining to electricity supply and hydropower.