The facts prove that the Hungarian government made the right decision when it decided to base its policy towards Russia on common sense and mutual respect, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó told MTI over the phone from Moscow on Tuesday.
The delegation led by Szijjártó signed a 500 million forint (EUR 1.6m) agreement for Hungary’s Dunaferr steelworks to buy modern machinery from a Russian company, which the minister said would further boost Dunaferr’s output, creating more jobs.
Hungary and Russia also signed an agreement for a Hungarian company to build a sports and recreation centre in Chelyabinsk for 17.5 billion forints.
“We can once again say that Hungarian-Russian economic ties and trade relations are about success” after years of losses due to the economic sanctions imposed on Russia, Szijjártó said. This is good news for Hungarian companies and the Hungarian people in general because the development of bilateral economic ties will generate jobs for Hungarians at Hungarian companies, he added.
Bilateral trade turnover increased by 30 percent over the first four months of 2017 after declining over the past few years, Szijjártó said. Hungarian exports to Russia rose by 24 percent during the period, reaching 600 million dollars. The rise in exports was lifted by high value-added sectors, he added.
Pharmaceuticals exports grew by 40 percent during the period, with Hungarian drugmaker Gedeon Richter becoming one of the top ten pharmaceutical companies in Russia by market share, Szijjártó said, adding that Richter’s investments in Russia have exceeded 100 million euros. Hungarian wheat exports to Russia grew by 88 percent over the first four months of the year, the minister said.
Among Hungarian investments in Russia, Szijjártó noted an animal feed factory built at a cost of 3 billion forints in Tula region, a meat processing plant to be inaugurated in Sverdlovsk redion on Wednesday that had cost 5 billion forints. He also noted a spice grinding plant to be built in Moscow and a grain cleaning plant in Mordovia that has been operating for two years.
Szijjártó also said that investments by Hungarian oil group MOL in Russia have reached 1.3 billion dollars, adding that the company had prepared a new development plan for its oil fields in the country.
The minister also touched on the tourism sector, noting that the number of Russian tourists visiting Hungary had grown by 39 percent and had exceeded 50,000 over the first four months of the year. Szijjártó said he expects a further increase in tourist numbers after the relaunch of direct flights between Budapest and St. Petersburg in August.
As we wrote, Péter Szijjártó, Hungary’s foreign minister held talks with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Moscow.