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Building closer ties with Southeast Asia offers "great potential" for Hungarian businesses, the foreign minister said after talks with his Philippines counterpart in Budapest.

At a joint press conference with Teodoro Lochin, Péter Szijjártó said that the Southeast Asian region’s economic boom and increased import demand offers great opportunities for the Hungarian economy. He welcomed that Hungary’s exports to the Philippines had grown by 74% in the first 11 months of last year and added that the goal was to help Hungarian businesses to further market opportunities. He added that the food industry and water management could become the “flagship” of Hungarian exports. At the talks, Szijjártó voiced Hungary’s solidarity with the Philippines over a recent terrorist attack by the Islamic State militant group on a Catholic church. The attack “also shows that the global fight against Islamic extremism, a hotbed for terrorism, must be stepped up”, he said. Lochin thanked Hungary for its assistance to Christian communities and advocating protection for those communities in the UN. Lochin said that bilateral political and economic ties are strong, with farming and water management being the primary areas of business cooperation.