Washington, DC, March 27 (MTI) – Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto opened a Hungarian trading house in Mexico City on Thursday local time, he signed several agreements with the Mexican government and requested Hungary’s admission to the Pacific Alliance as an observer.
After talks with Mexico’s Secretary of Economy Ildefonso Guajardo Villarreal and Secretary of Foreign Affairs Jose Antonio Meade Kuribrena, Szijjarto told MTI by phone that Hungarian exports to Mexico last year increased by a record 17 percent to 640 million dollars. Hungary wants to further increase exports this year, he added.
“First, we opened our trading house which had already struck its first export deal and sold Hungarian wines for 15,000 dollars,” he said.
In addition, Hungary’s Eximbank has opened a 287 million dollar credit line to help cooperation between Hungarian and Mexican companies, and the meeting of a Hungarian-Mexican mixed committee has been called for April 27, Szijjarto said.
Talks will be restarted on an investment-protection deal, Hungary has offered 40 scholarships to Mexican students at Hungarian universities and agreements have been signed on cooperation in diplomat training, education and tourism, he added.
He noted that Mexico is the 15th strongest national economy in the world, it has signed 45 free trade agreements and its foreign policy focuses on international trade because the country aims to fulfil a global economic role. This perfectly fits the Hungarian government’s strategy of opening to the south and offers an excellent opportunity for developing economic-trading-investment cooperation with Mexico, Szijjarto said.
He said Mexico is Hungary’s second most important economic partner in the American Continent after the US and its number one partner in trade and investment in Latin America. He added that the last time a Hungarian foreign minister visited the country was 23 years ago.
Szijjarto said it is important that Mexico offers an opportunity also from the point of regional cooperaton. It currently fulfils the presidency of the Latin American trade bloc Pacific Alliance in which 9 European Union countries are observers.
“We requested today Hungary’s admission in this alliance as an observer and this is supported by the Mexican government,” he said. The request will hopefully be approved at a summit in April and it will offer Hungary further opportunities in regional cooperation with Latin American countries, he added.
Szijjarto said Hungary supports talks on the renewal of a free trade agreement between the EU and Mexico.
“At the same time, it is necessary to make it clear that from Hungary’s point of view the opening of the EU’s agricultural market is only acceptable if the conditions for equal competition are guaranteed. However, in the field of industrial cooperation the renewal of the free trade agreement would be clearly beneficial to us,” he added.
Deputy head of the Hungarian National Trading House Gabor Kun said Hungary sees good opportunities in cooperation with Mexico in the fields of food industry, especially gourmet product, medical technology, pharmaceuticals, renewable energy and water management.