During a talk organized by the American Chamber of Commerce yesterday, U.S. ambassador Colleen Bell (pictured) said that economic ties between Hungary and the United States are strong but could improve if barriers to doing business in Hungary are removed.
Bell said corruption was one of the key concerns, not only here but in the rest of Central and Eastern Europe as well. “We will continue to work with the Hungarian Government, civil society, and business leaders to promote transparency, accountability, and business practices that increase opportunities for commerce and prosperity for all of its citizens,” Bell said.
Since taking office in January of last year, Bell has spoken to several American companies operating in Hungary. She said some see great opportunities in the country and are keen to invest, while others have voiced their concerns regarding the challenges of doing business in the current political and economic climate.
Bell said she would like to focus her efforts on supporting the new generation of Hungarian entrepreneurs, adding that she hopes to work with the Hungarian government and venture capital firms to foster the companies of the future.
Issues regarding the negotiation of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a free trade agreement between the United States and the European Union, were also addressed and Bell stressed the importance of reaching an agreement on the treaty given the positive economic impact it could have on Hungary.
At the same meeting, Hungaryʼs ambassador to the United States, Réka Szemerkényi, said that relations between Hungary and the United States are at their strongest and she attributed this to improved communication between the two countries.
Szemerkényi said that the United States is the largest non-European investor in Hungary, with capital investments amounting to $9 billion to date. Additionally, the 1,700 U.S. companies in Hungary provide jobs for 90,000 Hungarians, Szemerkényi said.