Washington, DC (MTI) – Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto opened a Hungarian trading house in Santiago de Chile on Friday.
Following talks with Chile’s Foreign Affairs Minister Heraldo Munoz and with Chilean businessmen, Szijjarto told MTI by phone that Chile is one of the most active participants of South American regional policy. It is also one of the most open countries on the continent, which is highly integrated into the global economy, and has signed 60 free trade agreements. Chile’s foreign policy focuses on foreign trade, he added.
“Chile’s economic openness and regional commitment, combined with the Hungarian government’s strategy of opening to the south provides good opportunities to assert Hungarian economic interests in this cooperation,” the minister said.
Szijjarto pointed out that there is a global race for economic cooperation with Chile, noting that Chile’s number one trade partner is China and it is in Chile that Poland has carried out its biggest non-ferrous metal mining investment. If Hungary is to succeed in this race, it needs to rebuild its presence in time, the minister said.
“Accordingly, we reopened our embassy in 2013. This has already yielded some positive results, …, Hungarian exports rose by 62 percent last year to close to 60 million dollars,” he said.
Szijjarto said the aim of the newly opened trading house is to help Hungarian small and medium-sized companies operate successfully in Chile. Eximbank has opened a 299 million dollar credit line to finance the cooperation of Hungarian and Chilean companies.
Szijjarto said talks have been started on an agreement to avoid double taxation.
The minister said the key areas with potential for bilateral cooperation are the energy sector, food processing, information technology and mining technology. Chile, which is the world’s largest producer of copper and has other substantial mineral resources as well, is highly interested in modern Hungarian mining technologies, Szijjarto added.
Szijjarto noted that Hungary remains committed to supporting the renewal of the association agreement between the European Union and Chile.
He also said that 15 scholarships have been offered to Chilean students at Hungarian universities.
Heraldo Munoz awarded the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of Bernardo O’Higgins to Szijjarto for his efforts to develop bilateral relations.