Baku, Azerbaijan, Nov. 3
By Seba Aghayeva – Trend:
Hungary may help Azerbaijani business to enter the European Union (EU) market, namely, to provide an opportunity for creating enterprises, investment opportunities, as well as the market for sale of traditional Azerbaijani goods, Imre Laszloczki, Hungarian ambassador to Azerbaijan, told Trend in an interview.
Main directions of economic cooperation and the most promising sectors were identified during the visit of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban to Baku in March 2016, said Laszloczki, adding that these directions are the development of infrastructure, agriculture, energy, cooperation in water industry and IT spheres.
He noted that several agreements were signed between the sides during the visit, such as the agreement on the protection technology of various facilities, an agreement on the creation of an electronic parking system and other payment systems, as well as agreements in the field of agriculture and food industry.
During Orban’s visit, the sides agreed that on the basis of excellent political relations and previously achieved results, it is necessary to bring economic cooperation to a qualitatively new level, as well as change the structure of the Hungarian-Azerbaijani economic cooperation considering the new requirements of the global economy, said the ambassador.
The diplomat added that the highest level of Hungary’s trade turnover in the South Caucasus region accounts for Azerbaijan, more precisely, the trade turnover with Azerbaijan accounts for more than half of Hungarian trade turnover with the region’s countries.
A steady growth of trade has been observed since 2013, said Laszloczki. Well-known pharmaceuticals, electrical machines and equipment, cars, food, cattle dominate among goods delivered from Hungary, he added.
“Of course, apart from the increase in trade turnover our primary goal is the promotion of mutual investments and project cooperation,” said the ambassador.
The import volume of Azerbaijani non-oil products to Hungary was $79,000 in 2015, he added.
The envoy thinks that Hungarian positions on the Azerbaijani market became stronger over the last year.
In 2016, Hungarian exports to Azerbaijan are expected to decrease due to the decline in exchange rate of Azerbaijani manat, however, Azerbaijani exports to Hungary can increase, which means that the overall level of trade turnover between the two countries can stay at the level of the previous years in 2016.
The diplomat called trade in services as the main component of bilateral economic relations. Its volume was $8.57 million in 2015, $4.21 million of which accounted for the Hungarian exports, and $4.36 million – for imports from Azerbaijan, he added.
The Hungarian Export-Import Bank Plc. (Eximbank) has a preferential framework credit line of $201.77 million to finance joint Hungarian-Azerbaijani projects, he noted adding that Eximbank is also ready to finance export deals on the Hungarian goods export to Azerbaijan.
The diplomat added that there are also obvious opportunities for cooperation in the energy field.
Hungary, along with other members of the EU considers Azerbaijan as a significant alternative supplier of hydrocarbons, said Laszloczki adding that the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC) project is the diversification of energy sources for Hungary too.
Hungary’s national oil and gas company MOL sees Azerbaijan’s state oil company SOCAR as one of the most important partners, he noted.
Currently, Azerbaijan is already a strategic partner of the EU, and the country will play an important role in ensuring Europe’s energy security in the future, said the ambassador.
Laszloczki added that Hungary in every way supports the development of relations between Azerbaijan and the EU, including the issue of early conclusion of a strategic agreement.