Szijjártó opens Hungarian trading house in Chile
Hungaryʼs Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó opened a Hungarian trading house in Santiago de Chile on Friday, the minister told Hungarian news agency MTI by phone early this morning following talks with Chileʼs Foreign Affairs Minister Heraldo Munoz and with Chilean businessmen.
Szijjártó said on the phone that Chile is one of the most active participants in 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. Chileʼs foreign policy focuses on foreign trade, he added.
“Chileʼs economic openness and regional commitment, combined with the Hungarian governmentʼs strategy of opening to the south, provides good opportunities to assert Hungarian economic interests in this cooperation,” the minister said.
Szijjártó pointed out that there is a global race for economic cooperation with Chile, noting that Chileʼs 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 due time, the minister said.
“Accordingly, we reopened our embassy in 2013. This has already yielded some positive results….Hungarian exports rose by 62% last year to close to $60 mln,” he said.
Szijjártó 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 mln credit line to finance the cooperation of Hungarian and Chilean companies.
Szijjártó said talks have begun 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 worldʼs largest producer of copper, and also boasts other substantial mineral resources, is very interested in modern Hungarian mining technologies, Szijjártó added.
Szijjártó 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 OʼHiggins to Szijjártó for his efforts to develop bilateral relations.