Budapest, February 7 (MTI) – Several economic agreements were reached at the inaugural meeting of the Hungarian-Iranian economic mixed committee, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said after the meeting on Tuesday.
Bilateral trade between Hungary and Iran totals an annual 30 million dollars at present, less than one-tenth of the 350 million dollars reached before sanctions were introduced, he told a press conference.
Hungary’s Eximbank has opened an 85 million euro credit line to support Hungarian-Iranian business ties and the establishment of joint ventures, Szijjártó said.
Once okayed by Brussels, the two countries will begin talks on an investment protection deal, the minister said. Eximbank will lead the talks on creating direct inter-bank links, he said.
The two countries also reached a deal that will afford Hungarian products and technologies an advantage with Iran’s import licensing authority, he added.
Szijjártó also said an agreement was reached on Hungary’s Ikarus Global delivering several hundred buses to Tehran with the financing of Eximbank.
He identified prospects for Hungary in food exports to Iran, a country heavily dependent on buying farm products from abroad.
The two countries will enhance cooperation in the energy sector, Szijjártó said, adding that this would include opportunities for Hungarian companies in developing Iran’s energy infrastructure.
Iran’s interest in establishing a presence on European energy markets is one that is shared with Hungary, he said. Experiences so far with Iran as a country with the world’s second largest natural gas reserves and fourth largest crude oil reserves have been positive, he said, noting that Hungarian oil and gas company Mol purchased 140,000 tonnes of crude from Iran last year.
About 1,200 Iranian students are enrolled at Hungarian universities at present, and the state has made scholarships available to 100 of them. From June, 150 Iranians will train as air traffic controllers in Hungary, he said.
Iranian Economy and Finance Minister Ali Tayebnia welcomed the agreements, and highlighted that due to its central position Hungary serves as a gateway for Iranian companies in building partnership with the European countries.
He signed a memorandum of understanding between Hungary’s human resources ministry and Iran’s ministry of youth affairs and sport.
The Hungarian National Trading House (MNKH) will host a business forum with the participation of the two ministers later in the day. Representatives from almost 100 companies are expected to participate.Hungarian-Iranian mixed committee holds inaugural meeting in Budapest, photo: MTI