South Korean President Moon Jae-in (l) and Prime Minister Viktor Orbán – Photo: MTI

Moon Jae-in: 'South Korean companies have become engines of V4 economies'

Orbán: Talks on setting up Korean university campus in Budapest begin

Negotiations on setting up a large Korean university campus in Budapest have begun, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said on Wednesday. Addressing the opening of a V4-Korea Business Forum in Budapest, Orbán said that the existing good and friendly relations between Hungary and the Republic of Korea would be raised to a strategic level and economic relations would be expanded to include science, research and education.

Orbán said Hungarians find it difficult to understand how it is possible that South Korea, which was among the poorest countries in the world some fifty years ago, can currently produce the 12th largest GDP globally.

He said his government had looked to South Korea as a “success story” to learn from when it returned to power in 2010.

Orbán said the country offered an example of how tradition must be combined with technology, family must be “placed above all”, the economy is work-based and there is life-long learning, national identity is strong, regional logistics advantages are put to use, and planning is for the long term.

Orbán noted that bilateral trade between Hungary and South Korea has grown by a factor of ten in the past decade. South Korean companies are the fourth-biggest group of investors in the country and have projects worth 4 billion dollars underway, he said. Talks are ongoing on the launch of a further 16 big South Korean investments, he added.

“The broader and deeper cooperation is between South Korea and the European Union, between South Korea and the Visegrad Group, and between South Korea and Hungary, the sooner the whole of the European continent can regain its competitiveness in the global economy,” he said.

Moon Jae-in: ‘South Korean companies have become engines of V4 economies’

Korean companies have become particularly active in the Visegrad Four countries and engines of the region’s economic development over the recent period, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said in Budapest on Wednesday. Addressing the V4-Korea Business Forum, the president said that the Republic of Korea and Hungary had developed mutual confidence, which may give a boost to post-pandemic economic recovery.

Despite the pandemic, two-way trade continued to increase last year and another major rise is expected this year, he said.

South Korea has a vested interest in close cooperation with the Visegrad countries which it considers bridges towards Europe, Moon Jae-in said.

The president said that the V4 countries and South Korea could cooperate in manufacturing batteries for electric cars, in the digital, green and health industries, and in infrastructure projects.

Szijjarto: Administration steamlined for South Korean companies

South Korean companies can expect completely hassle-free administration during investment and trading operations in Hungary thanks to a recent agreement between the investment promotion agencies of the two countries, Hungary’s minister of foreign affairs and trade said on Wednesday.

Addressing the forum, Peter Szijjarto said that Hungary had taken measures to guarantee smooth trading and an attractive investment environment. Hungary’s Eximbank has opened a 1.4 billion dollar credit line to support cooperation and the government agency in charge of investment promotion guarantees the highest cash support and tax-breaks allowed by law to all South Korean investors, he said. The combined support could reach half of the value of the investment, he added.

Companies from South Korea bring cutting-edge technology to Hungary which contributes to the Hungarian economy’s switch to a higher level of development, Szijjarto said.

The government has shortened administrative deadlines on investment projects thanks to its priority investments scheme, Szijjarto said.

In line with an agreement signed with the Korean airline company, cargo flights operate between Hungary and South Korea twice a week, he said.

On the sidelines of the forum, Szijjarto and South Korean counterpart Chung Eui-Yong signed an agreement on cooperation between the two countries’ diplomacy academies.

Ader discusses economic, climate goals with South Korean counterpart

Bilateral ties between South Korea and Hungary offer ample opportunities, President Janos Ader told a press conference after talks with his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in on Wednesday. The volume of South Korean investments in Hungary has exceeded 5 billion US dollars, making the country one of the most important investors in Hungary, Ader said, noting that South Korea replaced Germany as the top investor in Hungary in 2019.

At the United Nations COP26 climate summit held earlier this week in Glasgow, it became clear that the two countries have similar climate goals too, Ader said. They aim to become carbon neutral by 2050, and agree that that goal is impossible to fulfil without nuclear energy, he said.

Ader pointed out, at the same time, that achieving climate neutrality required further efforts and developments which gave the two countries more opportunities for scientific, technological and economic cooperation.

Moon, who is the first Korean head of state to visit Hungary in the last 20 years, said the two countries worked to elevate their bilateral ties to a strategic partnership.

He noted that bilateral trade turnover reached a record high last year in spite of the pandemic. Moon said that because South Korea was investing in innovative areas in Hungary like the electric vehicle and battery sectors, there was more room for them to expand their ties.

He thanked Hungary for the help it provided after a deadly boat collision on the River Danube which took the lives of many South Korean tourists in 2019 and for erecting a memorial to the victims.

Moon spoke highly of Hungary’s history of having been the first country in the region to establish diplomatic relations with South Korea and noted that Korea will also be present at a meeting of the Visegrad Group countries on Thursday.

He also touched on the importance of the dialogue between the two Koreas and thanked Hungary for its support in this area.

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