Hungary keen to develop bilateral trade ties
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Hungary keen to develop bilateral trade ties

Thailand investing in food, hospitality

Mr Szijjártó at the 'Business Opportunities & Investment Promotional Policies in Hungary: Investment Success Stories in Hungary' seminar on Tuesday. (Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)
Mr Szijjártó at the 'Business Opportunities & Investment Promotional Policies in Hungary: Investment Success Stories in Hungary' seminar on Tuesday. (Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)

Hungary is looking forward to developing deeper bilateral ties with Thailand in terms of trade, investment and tourism, partly to support the Central European nation's goal of 4% economic growth this year, says Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó.

Last year, trade between the two countries reached a record of more than US$730 million, with Thailand making some very important investments in Hungary in the food and hospitality sectors, Mr Szijjártó said during his visit to Bangkok.

"More Hungarian companies are investing in the Thai market in medical and pharmaceutical products," he said.

Tourism numbers have doubled, with 10,005 Thais visiting Hungary and more than 30,000 Hungarians travelling to Thailand last year, said Mr Szijjártó.

"I tried to convince Thai AirAsia to launch a flight to Hungary, as it is exploring some Central European destinations at the moment," he said.

Hungarian exports to Thailand increased by 9% in 2023 and the country is Thailand's 11th-largest business partner.

Thai exports to Hungary are three times the amount it imports from Hungary, according to statistics provided by the Hungarian Embassy in Bangkok.

"Food, hospitality, automotive and medical are traditional trade fields. Our target is to begin a new chapter in our bilateral trade relations, working closer together in the defence sector," the embassy noted in response to a Bangkok Post inquiry.

To improve bilateral ties, Mr Szijjártó said Hungary is working to accelerate free trade agreement negotiations between Thailand and the European Union, which recently resumed.

"We will also start discussing the possibility of a visa facilitation agreement between the EU and Thailand," he said.

Foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows to Hungary amounted to €6.5 billion in 2022, a new record, increasing to €13 billion last year.

Some 82% of all investments last year came from Asia, particularly China, South Korea and Japan.

The automotive sector is prominent in Hungary, as it is the only country other than Germany and China where all three premium German automakers each have a factory.

Mercedes-Benz is constructing a second factory in Hungary and BMW Group is about to start production on its first purely electric platform in the country.

Japan's Suzuki Motor has its sole European factory in Hungary and Chinese automaker BYD recently decided to build its first European plant in the country.

While its first major European investment was in Germany, CATL, the world's largest electric battery manufacturer, invested €7.3 billion to build a second European factory in Hungary.

Mr Szijjártó said Hungary has the most stable political system in Europe, with a single-party government ruling the country for 14 years.

Corporate income tax in Hungary is competitive at 9%, the only single-digit rate in Europe, noted the embassy.

The country also offers a generous cash incentive to investors, reimbursing up to 60% of their investment based on the level of development in the specific region of the country in which they choose to invest, he said.

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