Central Asia is becoming increasingly important in terms of Hungary’s policy of opening to the East, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said after talks with his Kyrgyz counterpart on Thursday, adding that the countries of the region were achieving impressive economic growth.
The region’s rapid growth presents an opportunity for Hungarian businesses looking to enter new markets, Szijjártó told a press conference he held jointly with Chyngyz Aidarbekov, adding that the financial conditions for entering the Central Asian market were now more favourable than in the past.
Szijjártó said that the European Union’s decision to develop a strategy specifically for cooperating with the countries of Central Asia reflected the region’s growing importance.
He said Hungary will urge the EU to finalise and sign the partnership and cooperation agreement with Kyrgyzstan which has been under negotiation for a long time. Hungary will further support Kyrgyzstan’s membership application to the UN Security Council and its Human Rights Council, Szijjártó added.
Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó (right) with Kyrgyz Foreign Minister Chyngyz Aidarbekov (left) at a press conference, Budapest, 17th of Septermber 2020. Photo by Lajos Soós/MTI
He said he and Aidarbekov sealed a Hungarian-Kyrgyz investment protection agreement and an agreement on the avoidance of double taxation which will create a framework for their companies’ safer and more predictable operation in each other’s territory. Another agreement was also signed between the two countries’ chambers of commerce and industry on oiling the wheels of cooperation between their members, Szijjártó said.
Further, they signed a pact on setting up a 50 million euro Kyrgyz-Hungarian investment fund to support Hungarian investments in Kyrgyzstan and joint projects in third countries, he said.
Hungary has increased its exports to Kyrgyzstan by 7 percent in the first half of 2020, led by pharmaceutical company Richter, Szijjártó noted.
As regards education cooperation, Hungary will double its state scholarships to meet the demand of 383 applicants this year, he said.
Szijjártó said today’s meeting was held in preparation of the Kyrgyz president’s visit to Hungary at the end of September, during which a number of strategic partnership agreements will be signed on boosting economic, trade, education and international political cooperation.
Aidarbekov called Hungary a crucial partner of Kyrgyzstan, noting that it was the first EU member state with which his country has elevated its bilateral ties to a strategic partnership.
Featured photo by Lajos Soós/MTI