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Southern Opening – Foreign Minister Advocates New Trade Strategy

By Tamás Székely // 2015.03.06.

Announcing the plan at an event organised by the geopolitical foundation of the National Bank, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said that the new strategy was needed to open a new chapter in Hungary’s trade-based diplomacy. At the event, Szijjártó said that Hungary would open four new embassies in the next four years, in Ecuador, Ethiopia, Ghana, and Angola, as well as six Hungarian trading centres (in Ethiopia, Angola, Chile, Ecuador, Peru, and Kenya).

Péter Szijjártó argued that the government’s eastern opening strategy had been a success, as it had “opened up doors for economic players”. On the subject of investments in Hungary, Szijjártó said that foreign projects in Hungary had increased by 14% in 2014. Up to now, the government has signed 55 strategic agreements, including 11 with companies based in countries involved in the eastern opening strategy. The projects of those eastern companies have now totalled 6.4 billion dollars and created 4,900 new jobs for the Hungarian workforce, the minister said.

Meanwhile the Central  Statistical Office (KSH) said that Hungary had posted a trade surplus of 6.402 billion euros in 2014. The surplus was slightly below the 6.555 billion euro surplus in 2013. Exports grew by 4.2% to 84.7 billion euros while imports were up 4.7% at 78.3 billion euros. The surplus for December alone came to 345 million euros. For the full year, the machinery and transport equipment sector had a 9.956 billion euros trade surplus and net exports of the food sector reached 2.479 billion euros. Hungary’s energy deficit reached 6.401 billion euros.

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