Dubai, March 2 (MTI) – Hungarian companies and their counterparts in the United Arab Emirates concluded nuclear, food industry and aviatic agreements during a visit by Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó to Dubai, which ended on Wednesday.
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Szijjártó told MTI by phone that Hungary would contribute to the training of nuclear engineers of the UAE. The Hungarian government has also applied for an export licence of poultry and beef to that country, while one Hungarian dairy firm signed a supplier agreement worth 22 million dollars.
The government of the UEA has asked that its airline companies be licensed to operate flights from Budapest to destinations other than domestic ones, Szijjártó said.
Szijjártó also noted that the United Arab Emirates is in the process of building a four-reactor nuclear power station and has come to an agreement with Hungary on training nuclear engineers and experts. In addition, technological solutions provided by Hungarian enterprises could also play a role in the UAE within the field of renewable energies, he said, adding that genetically manipulated imported foods are often a problem in the Emirates, and since Hungary’s constitution only allows for the production of GMO-free foodstuffs, Hungarian companies are enjoying major export opportunities. Budapest has requested permission from Dubai for the import of Hungarian poultry and beef, and has been promised a rapid procedure, in addition to which a Hungarian company, Kőröstej, had already signed import agreements with a total value of 22 million US Dollars for their milk products with three clients from the UAE. Accordingly, Hungarian food industry exports to the Emirates, which grew by 14 percent last year, could produce a further significant increase this year.
“Within the field of water management, we will have major opportunities in the areas of Hungarian irrigation, water use reduction, and wastewater treatment technologies”, the Minister announced. “Achieving success in this field requires putting into order the contractual and financial background. Accordingly, we have agreed to conclude an investment protection agreement by mid-summer. In view of the fact that we are already represented by a Trading House in Dubai, Eximbank has opened a 406 million US Dollar credit line to facilitate cooperation between enterprises from Hungary and the UAE”, he said. The most important task in this area is for small and medium sized Hungarian enterprises (SMEs) to play as large a role as possible in bilateral economic cooperation, because bilateral trade has so far significantly depended on multinational companies. “For instance, when Nokia closed its Hungarian subsidiary, it led to a 75% decrease in Hungarian exports to the Emirates. Economic and trade cooperation must be diversified, which requires the involvement of SMEs, who in turn require a financing background, which Eximbank is providing”, he added.
According to kormany.hu, with regard to UAE investments in Hungary, Szijjártó told the press that he had met with Chairman and CEO of Emirates Airline Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum. Emirates, which runs daily direct flights to Budapest, already operates a service centre in Hungary, which next year will expand to employ 300 people making it the company’s second largest international service centre after its headquarters in Dubai. The Minister also said that the government of the United Arab Emirates had asked Budapest to provide UAE airlines with the so-called Fifth Freedom of the Air, which would enable an airline designated by the UAE government to launch flights from Budapest to other destinations in addition to Abu Dhabi. “We are prepared to provide this Freedom and will conduct the required procedures rapidly with both the Emirates and the European Union. This could contribute to the given airline using Budapest as a regional hub and finally put an end to the state of affairs according to which Budapest is the last major city in Europe not to have access to direct, transatlantic flights”, Mr. Szijjártó said.
According to government’s offical site, there is an Emirates-based company operating within the field of the chemical industry which is in negotiations with Hungary on an investment project worth 50 million US Dollars. “We have presented our financing offer and the company will come to a decision in the near future. In this case, we are competing with another European country, but we feel our offer is good enough to enable us to clinch the deal for the Hungarian chemical industry”, the Foreign Minister said. Mr. Szijjártó also reported on the fact that he had participated at a business forum in the company of representatives from 35 Hungarian enterprises on Tuesday and Wednesday, in addition to which the Hungarian-United Arab Emirates Joint Economic Committee had also held its first, founding session.