Hungary’s Eximbank signed an agreement with Latin American development bank Bancomext of Mexico on supporting Hungarian corporate investments in Mexico, the foreign ministry said on Wednesday. Also, Eximbank staff will get training at the Mexican bank.
Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said at the signing event that Hungary had launched its “opening to the south” scheme to develop closer cooperation with countries in Latin America five years ago. The success of the scheme is well demonstrated by the fact that Mexico has become Hungary’s number one trading partner in Latin America, he added.
Hungarian exports to Mexico reached 877 million dollars last year, so they currently dominate bilateral trade which totaled over 1 billion dollars, Szijjártó said. Budapest is determined to further increase this figure, he added.
Szijjártó said more and more companies were expressing interest in Mexico and Hungary should have flagship companies, such as Richter and Graphisoft, which are followed by smaller companies, including medical equipment manufacturers, food industry companies, car industry suppliers and firms involved in water management, he added.
Last year, Richter’s revenue from Latin America exceeded 30 million euros, he said. A Hungarian plant owned by Mexican company Nemak, which has signed a strategic cooperation agreement with the Hungarian government, supplies almost all large car makers around the world, he added.
“Considering the great geographical distance between the two countries, it is important to help our companies and give them … backing for cooperation,” he said. As a result, the Hungarian government has opened a 620 million dollar credit line to help the activities of Hungarian companies in Mexico and finance Hungarian-Mexican intercompany cooperation through Eximbank, Szijjártó said.
“I believe the next step in advancing Hungarian-Mexican economic relations to a new dimension would be to go beyond trading with each other, and in addition to us selling products here and you investing in our country, Hungarian companies would start investing here,” he said.
“The support by Bancomext and the training provided under its arrangements will be necessary components of that process,” he added.
In international economic cooperation Hungary concentrates on areas where know-how is important, such as food industry and agriculture, he said. Hungary’s constitution guarantees that its agriculture and food industry remain GMO free, he added.
Szijjártó said an agreement between Hungary’s fishing research institute within the national agricultural research and innovation centre and a Mexican partner was highly important, and he expressed hope that cooperation based on technology transfer and know-how would be successful and beneficial to both sides, despite the great distance.
Hungary’s agriculture accounts for 7 percent of GDP, he noted. But if the money spent on agricultural research, the accumulated know-how and technology, food processing and agricultural machine industry are also added, then the ratio is around 16-17 percent, which is very significant, he added.
“We are supporters of free trade,” he said. “We believe that the more liberalised global trading is, the better can we make use of the opportunities … when it comes to bringing global cooperation between the European Union and Mexico up to date,” he added.
Also we wrote today, Szijjártó held talks in Mexico on economic issues and he is scheduled to sign an agreement on Hungary granting EUR 6.23m for the rebuilding of two Catholic churches in Mexico.
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