Hungary intends to raise the level of cooperation with Azerbaijan to a long-term partnership and expects the intensification of relations with the Azerbaijani business circles, Deputy State Secretary of Hungary Zsolt Csutora said in an interview with Trend.
"Hungary and Azerbaijan have friendly political relations, without any outstanding problematic issues. We see our partnership as strategic not only on the bilateral basis, but on the level of the European Union as well. Our bilateral relations might be characterized by the regular contacts at the highest level: last year Prime Minister Viktor Orbán paid an official visit to Baku, and President Ilham Aliyev is going to visit Hungary in October this year. The Hungarian-Azerbaijani Joint Economic Commission is chaired at ministerial level, which is quite rare in our practice," said Csutora.
"However, our economic relationship falls short of its potential and of the intensity of our political cooperation. Thus, we are committed to enhance and deepen our economic cooperation; we expect that President Aliyev’s visit will give a new impetus for the intensification of the B2B relations, which is in the interest of both sides," he noted.
According to him, Hungary looks forward to all kinds of cooperation with Azerbaijan, including mutually favorable investments or joint ventures.
"We intend to move away from the simple turnover of goods in favor of long-term cooperation. The most perspective areas are construction industry, food processing industry, logistics, IT, water sector, and healthcare industry," said the Hungarian official.
He also noted the availability of favorable opportunities for Azerbaijani investments in Hungary.
"The Hungarian market offers favorable tax possibilities, skilled workforce, outstanding logistical infrastructure and a bridge to the European market for the Azerbaijani investors. Foreign direct investments are supported by the Hungarian Investment Promotion Agency (HIPA) which is supervised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade," said Csutora.
The diplomat noted that Hungary considers Azerbaijan as a strategic partner both in terms of national and European energy security.
"We are pleased to see that Azerbaijani natural gas exports will reach Europe within just a few years. We are working on North-South pipeline connectors in our region to ensure Hungarian access to the new Azerbaijani supplies," he added.
According to him, the cooperation between the Hungarian oil company MOL and Azerbaijan’s state oil company SOCAR has a long tradition.
"Both sides are looking for mutually beneficial projects. Our friendly political relations provide an appropriate framework for the cooperation of our strategic companies," said the Hungarian official.
Earlier, Hungarian MOL Group expressed its interest to participate in oil and gas projects in Azerbaijan.
According to Azerbaijan’s State Customs Committee, trade turnover with Hungary amounted to about $20 million in January-July 2017, and almost the entire amount accounts for the supply of Hungarian products to Azerbaijan.
It should be noted that Azerbaijan and Hungary outlined promising areas of cooperation at the talks of the two countries’ foreign ministers during the official visit of the Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov to Budapest in early August. The parties expressed interest in developing cooperation in such areas as transport, agriculture, industry, education, pharmaceutics and others.