(MTI) – Hungary has become a competitive state which has grown into a production hub and should develop into an area for European innovation, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Monday.
Opening the 3rd Hungarian-Turkish Business Forum, he said that “we need partners to achieve this and Turkey is such a partner for Hungary.”
Although bilateral trade figures are remarkable, the level of investment is still low between the two countries. Efforts should be made to have at least one “flagship” investment project in both countries, the prime minister added.
Orban highlighted that Turkish-Hungarian relations rest on trust and praised Turkey’s political leaders for their courage to set targets, such as to become one of the world’s ten strongest economies by 2023.
“If they are looking for courageous economic partners for this goal, they have come to the right place,” Orban said.
Turkish President Abdullah Gul told the forum that business links with Turkey have great profit potential at low risk. Hungary and Turkey make many similar products, with car manufacturing being a significant industry in both countries. In a sense they are rivals but the two countries should find the areas where their economic cooperation can be intensified, he added.
Turkish companies’ investment in Hungary totals around 60-70 million dollars which is significantly less than in many other countries. This gap shows that businesspeople have not yet recognised the potentials in bilateral relations, Gul said. Excellent political cooperation between Hungary and Turkey, however, offers a sound basis for developing closer economic ties, he added.
Large companies in both countries need to open towards each other. A potential area of cooperation is the energy sector and Hungarian and Turkish companies could enter third markets together, for instance in Central Asia and the Caucasus, he said.
Economy Minister Mihaly Varga said that Hungary aims to double bilateral trade with Turkey by 2015. Hungary is ready to intensify trading in vehicles, electronics, pharmaceuticals and information technology, as well as in food products, he added. Further areas of potential cooperation include environmental protection, energy, medical technology and health tourism, he said.
Trade chief Peter Szijjarto said that agreements signed during past Hungarian-Turkish business forums have resulted in 110 million euros worth of new business. Trading between the two countries increased by 27 percent in the first eleven months of last year and Turkey has become Hungary’s fifth biggest trading partner outside the European Union.