State Secretary for Foreign Affairs and External Economic Relations Peter Szijjárto is holding talks in Tbilisi on deepening economic and education-related ties between Hungary and Georgia.
Peter Szijjárto told Hungarian news agency MTI in the Georgian capital on Monday that during his visit, the parties would be signing a treaty on Hungarian-Georgian freight trade flow regulation, as well as an education and culture treaty. Thanks to the latter, 50 Georgian students will be able to participate in a scholarship programme organised under the aegis of the Opening towards the East strategy and study at Hungarian universities, predominantly engineering and agriculture.
Negotiations have also begun on a mutual investment protection agreement, in addition to which the two countries’ investment agencies and chambers of commerce and trade have launched talks on cooperation, said the State Secretary, who during the day met with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Economy Georgi Kvirikasvili, Minister for Agriculture Salva Pipia, Minister for Energy Kahi Kaladze and Minister for Foreign Affairs Maia Panddzsikidze, as well as with the leaders of the Georgian Development Agency and the local Partnership Fund.
Mr. Szijjárto highlighted that Georgia is an important country for the success of Hungary’s Opening towards the East strategy. Trade between the two countries exceeded USD 50 million last year and successfully increased by a further 10% during the first six months of this year.
According to the Hungarian State Secretary, negotiations were also held on Hungarian participation in large scale Georgian infrastructure investments. He added that during his meeting with Minister for Energy Kahi Kaladze, they discussed the possibility of Hungarian Electricity Ltd. (MVM) participating in the development of the Georgian high-voltage electricity network and the option for Hungarian firms to engage in the building of the Baku-Tbilisi railway and a new deep-sea harbour.
Regarding energy relations, the planned AGRI (Azerbaijan – Georgia – Romania interconnector) gas pipeline may be a huge step forward, and a feasibility study on the project will be published during the second half of this year. The planned reform of the Georgian healthcare and agricultural sector were also given high priority during the negotiations. There is significant Georgian interest in Hungarian firms with experience in hospital construction and manufacturing medical equipment, and in firms that are part of the water cluster. There is also huge potential for the growth of Hungarian agricultural exports, the State Secretary added.
The competitiveness of Hungarian firms will be significantly improved by the fact that Eximbank is prepared to provide the financial background for them, the State Secretary said. The State Secretary also said that Hungary is a devoted supporter of Georgia in the matters of European and Euro Atlantic integration; economic cooperation between the two countries is not hindered at all by any political factor and last year’s change of government is Georgia caused no significant worsening of their relationship, he added.
Source: Prime Minister’s Office