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Varga encourages diversification in industrial sectors

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National Economy Minister Mihály Varga warned against over-reliance on the automotive industry as an engine of economic growth while speaking at a business forum organized by the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) yesterday. 

New branches of industry must contribute to economic growth, because if growth is based on only a single branch, such as the automotive industry, the Hungarian economy could become vulnerable, Varga said. He cited IT, R&D and alternative energy as areas with promise.

Hungaryʼs export markets must be expanded further, as well, through a network of trading houses and the training of economic attachés, as well as through cooperation with business chambers, he added. Varga said the United States is Hungaryʼs biggest export partner outside of Europe.

Last year, bilateral trade between the two countries rose more than 10% close to $6 bln, while Hungarian exports to America increased over 20%. The United States is also the biggest non-European investor in Hungary, Varga said. U.S. companiesʼ direct investment in Hungary comes to $9 bln, and the 1,750 American-owned companies in the country employ almost 90,000 people.

He noted that the government had so far signed strategic partnership agreements with ten U.S. companies that employ approximately 33,000 people altogether. The government and AmCham are in talks on how to form a closer cooperation between the cabinet and the chamber, Varga said.

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