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Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó, opening an Uzbek-Hungarian business forum in Tashkent, said Hungary belonged to an “elite club of 35 countries”, having exported 100 billion euros of goods annually over the past three years.
A focus of Hungarian foreign policy is to boost cooperation between fast-growing Central Asia and central Europe, “the growth engine of the European Union”, Szijjártó said. Uzbek-Hungarian relations are not burdened by any unresolved issues that may hinder “peaceful business dealings”, he said. Due to recent shifts in the world economy, regions that were once condescended to now boast healthy growth, and Hungary and Uzbekistan both belong to such regions, he added. Central European growth is more than twice the European average, he noted, adding that Hungary was the fastest growing country in the EU last year. Its population size is 94th in the world yet its export performance is 34th, the minister said. Szijjártó said business ties between the two countries would strengthen, thanks to decisions made during his visit.
Hungarian Eximbank is opening a 100 million dollar credit line to provide support for Hungarian-Uzbek business ties, and the government is offering 30 scholarships to Uzbek students who choose to study at Hungarian universities. Several university cooperation projects will be launched soon, and one of the largest Hungarian universities is opening a campus in Uzbekistan. Road transit permits are expected to exceed 300 in 2020, and road delivery permits will be tax-exempt from 2021, he said. The minister noted that Hungarian companies are delivering 3,000 ATM machines to Uzbekistan, and Hungarian pharma company Richter sells more than 100 medicines there. The two countries have reached agreements in sectors such as grain farming, manufacturing plant oils and grain processing and storage, he said. Projects are under way which may enable Uzbek companies to use Hungarian technology in border protection, water management, food safety and chicken and carp farming, Szijjártó said. He noted broad-based economic cooperation between the two countries, and the subsequent 88% growth in trade volume.