Hungary and Uzbekistan have agreed to set up a special industrial zone tailored to the needs of Hungarian businesses near Tashkent, Péter Szijjártó, the minister of foreign affairs and trade, said in the Uzbek capital on Thursday.
Hungarian firms will have a special legal status to carry out investments and business activities in the area, Szijjártó said, according to a foreign ministry statement.
Detailing his talks in Uzbekistan, Szijjártó said Hungary’s OTP Bank recently acquired Uzbek peer Ipoteka Bank. The minister added that OTP’s entry into a given market tended to encourage more investments in that market by Hungarian businesses.
“This is only natural, given that such a step guarantees a form of legal and financial security for their investments,” Szijjártó said. This is once again the case, he said, noting that eight Hungarian companies have announced plans to invest in Uzbekistan’s food industry, agriculture, nuclear industry, pharmaceutical industry, the production of medical equipment and the construction industry since OTP established a presence in the country.
The ability of Hungarian businesses to invest in foreign markets and reinvest their profits in Hungary is key to the country’s future economic growth, Szijjártó said.
The government therefore supports Hungarian investments in the fast-expanding market that is Uzbekistan, he added.
Meanwhile, Szijjártó said both central Europe and central Asia were suffering from the effects of the war in Ukraine. Both Uzbekistan and Hungary want the war to be over and peace to be established as soon as possible, he added.
“International decisions that risk prolonging or — God forbid — expanding the war go deeply against our national interests,” Szijjártó said.
Weapons deliveries contribute to the prolongation of the war and carry a risk of escalation, he said, adding that both Budapest and Tashkent supported an urgent ceasefire and peace talks.
Szijjártó met Uzbekistan’s deputy prime minister, foreign, economic and investment ministers as well as top officials of the presidential administration, among others, during his visit.