Foreign investors continue to regard Hungary as an attractive business destination, Antal Nikoletti, Deputy State Secretary for External Economic Relations from the Ministry for National Economy told Hungarian news agency MTI. He added that although several topics have been raised by the press in the previous period which were linked to foreign business attitudes of investing in Hungary, he has experienced no change in the mood of foreign investors with a presence in Hungary. No change of atmosphere could be observed during our conversations with foreign investors, he said.
Commenting on allegations that Hungary is becoming the “assembly plant of Europe”, the Deputy State Secretary said that it is evident that the aim should be for Hungary to host production with the highest possible added value. He explained that business leaders primarily examine whether the profit generated in Hungary is competitive globally or within the region, adding that investors generally regard Hungary as an attractive business destination on account of low taxes and the labour’s good value for money. In the case of many industries, Hungary is in the forefront among European countries as an investment destination, he said. Hungary needs to attract investments related to research and development and innovation; however, most commonly any given company first sets up an assembly plant and only after this will it establish an R&D centre, he said. The Government welcomes foreign investors in the manufacturing industry, especially in sub-sectors with a high number of suppliers so as to offer opportunities to Hungarian SMEs. Agriculture, the food industry as well as the pharmaceutical industry are also areas where Hungary has a broad base with investment opportunities, the Deputy State Secretary underlined.
According to the Central Statistical Office (KSH), in the first three quarters of 2014, Hungarian exports were up by 4.3 percent, which is an outstanding figure in Europe, he pointed out. Hungary’s main trade partner is still Western Europe. In Q1, 78 percent of Hungarian exports headed to this region. Outside Europe, South-Korea is a significant partner since exports to the country increased by 14 percent. At the same time, the Ukrainian crisis is affecting Hungary since exports towards Ukraine and Russia fell by 14-15 percent, and by the end of the year, this number may be 20 percent, he noted.
In response to a question regarding complaints about “Hungary’s unpredictable legal environment”, Mr. Nikoletti said there is continuous dialogue between the Government and foreign investors and there are also regular talks for instance with the German and American chambers of commerce.