Foreign minister Peter Szijjarto – Photo: Facebook

Szijjarto: Record investments, exports in 2023

New records in investments and exports "can now be taken for granted" for this year, the minister of foreign affairs and trade told parliament's economic committee on Tuesday.

The foreign ministry quoted Peter Szijjarto as attributing the good results to the government’s “maintaining its strategy aimed at building a work-based society promoting investment and job-creation even in times of crisis”.

Hungary is directly impacted by the war in Ukraine, and “Europe’s handling the conflict has resulted in a situation which poses extraordinary challenges for the Hungarian economy,” Szijjarto said, addig that soaring inflation was “clearly caused by the war and the sanctions aimed at addressing it”.

Szijjarto welcomed that, despite all difficulties, investments, exports, and employment reached new record highs in 2022. While Hungary’s exports totalled 142 billion euros in 2022, the total may exceed 150 billion euros this year, and investments could double, from 6.5 billion euros to 13 billion euros, he said. Employment may again be at a record high level this year, he said.

“The basis is investments … record investments will boost job creation and GDP growth, and what I can tell you for this year, is that both in terms of investments as well as exports we can take new economic records for granted,” he said.

Referring to the government’s scheme to promote investments, he said agreements were signed for 214 new projects this year, to create 19,000 new jobs. He added that most investments were coming from China, followed by Germany and the US.

Through its programme, the government has helped 1,159 companies with grants totalling 304 billion forints. The grants have contributed to projects worth a combined 801 billion forints, he said, adding that the projects had helped save 253,000 projects during the coronavirus pandemic.

Another government programme aimed at saving companies amid challenges posed by the war in Ukraine has helped companies manage a large part of their energy needs, Szijjarto said. “Fully 143 companies are investing a total 400 billion forints, to which the government has contributed 150 billion forints,” he said, adding that 69,000 jobs had been saved through those schemes.

Concerning the focus of developments, Szijjarto said that in recent years the government had worked to reduce the gap between the eastern and western parts of the country in terms of their “FDI-attracting potential”. He added that “a jump in investment figures” in Debrecen, Nyiregyhaza, and Miskolc indicated the success of those efforts.

“It is important to focus on the southern region next, with industrial parks to be built in the Szeged region and Baranya county,” the statement quoted Szijjarto as saying.

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