Egypt taps Hungary for trade boost

  • 2012.01.20
  • Dispomedicor
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CAIRO: Egypt has tapped Hungary as the next country with which it will enhance economic cooperation in a bid to further diversify its trade ties.

At the Egyptian-Hungarian Business Forum, organized by the Egyptian Business Association in Cairo on Sunday, Trade Minister Rachid Mohamed Rachid said, ?There is a new economic order where change is the name of the game. There are new rules depending on efficiency and regulation and focusing on countries that were previously not on the map in terms of investment and trade.?

Rachid said that the financial crisis has prompted countries to diversify economic and trade ties.

Bilateral trade between Egypt and Hungary was around ?103 million in 2009, with exports from Hungary to Egypt representing 95 percent of trade volume.
?We know that there is more to be done in terms of trade with Hungary?trade balance is swayed in their favor and this is why we are here today,? Rachid, who is also acting minister of investment, said.
Officials at the forum spoke of Dispovacs, a joint venture between the Egyptian Vacsera and the Hungarian Dispomedicor, which plans to build the largest vaccine manufacturing plant in the Middle East. According to the presentation, the manufacturing plant is to be built in Sixth of October City with a research and development center to be built and operated in Hungary.
The forum also highlighted a joint venture between Hungarian Daltex Company and Egyptian Golden Pyramids Company in the fresh fruits and vegetables business, which has a turnover ?30 million and sells Egyptian produce in the Hungarian and EU markets in the winter while depending on Hungarian produce in the summer.

Rachid said that historically, countries were focusing on Western Europe and the US to develop trade ties, but this dynamic has changed.
?This is the first visit to Egypt for the Prime Minister of Hungary [Viktor Orban] and it is also his first visit to an Arab country and this shows his commitment to improving economic relations,? said Rachid.

Orban was accompanied by Hungarian Minister of National Economy György Matolcsy at the forum, which was attended by 100 business officials from both sides representing the Joint Business Council of Hungary and the EBA.
?The timing is right for this visit, as after decades on a path to join the EU, Hungary has succeeded and is moving on,? Rachid said, and went on to outline the various sectors attractive for mutual investment opportunities including healthcare, pharmaceuticals, transport, tourism and energy.
Hungary could be the base for distribution of Egyptian goods to the EU, and Egypt could be the gateway for Hungarian investments in Africa.

?Unemployment is a global challenge and governments can play an active role to promote jobs and business cooperation addressing this issue,? said Orban.
He added that he could see a clear strategy and development process in Egypt and he felt assured that Hungary could be a part of the plans.
Commenting on the recent Tunisia incidents, the Prime Minister said that he viewed Egypt as a stable country which pre-conditions the stability of the region.

?We consider Egypt to be very stable and we have no concerns, politically conditions are suitable for a future of cooperation, businessmen from Hungary are still willing to invest and they trust that governments will protect contracts,? he said, adding that conditions in Hungary were more suitable as well.
?What is going on in Hungary is a year of renewal. We inherited a country in very bad shape and youth wanted to leave because they could not see a clear future for themselves. Our reforms have now created the most stable political [system] in Europe and all commitments will be met and kept because there is not longer a political debate that could infringe on business,? he commented.