AmCham Package Promises Cooperation for a More Competitive and Sustainable Hungary

Innovation

The American Chamber of Commerce in Hungary has unveiled its “Cooperation for a More Competitive and Sustainable Hungary 2021” recommendation package, a collection of proposals to strengthen the resilience of the economy, step on the path of smart and sustainable growth, develop a highly-skilled, flexible workforce and a predictable, investor-friendly business environment with the ultimate goal of improving the competitiveness of the country.

The document is strongly related to the recently published Policy Agenda, the strategic guideline for its advocacy work for period 2021-2025. Although it is not an expression AmCham has used, you could look at the package as putting meat on the bones of the strategic guideline. The first publication does the broad strokes, big picture stuff, while the more recent offering fills in the detail.

“While the Policy Agenda is a long-term strategic guide that outlines our main principles and the progress we want to see and help achieve, the recommendation package contains more detailed, more concrete proposals across more than 66 pages, which are in line with the structure we established in the Policy Agenda,” AmCham CEO Írisz Lippai-Nagy told the Budapest Business Journal.

The recommendations, 32 altogether, were written based on input from AmCham members, what it calls its policy task force groups (each focusing on a designated area) and committees in line with the principles of the Policy Agenda, which presents the areas where significant progress has to be made to elevate Hungary.

The document is divided into three key areas. “General Business and Investment Environment” features recommendations aimed to establish a predictable and stable regulatory environment and a competitive tax system, to make administration easier and more effective, and to strengthen the local supplier base.

Competitive and Flexible

“Human Capital” includes proposals intended to help create a competitive and flexible labor force through labor code amendments and a wide-scale education and training reform.

Finally, “Smart Growth” introduces recommendations to foster innovation and research and development, advance the digital transformation and elevate sustainabiliy as a driving force of economic policy.

The recommendation package has been sent to the government and the chamber’s partners and other stakeholders, including Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, alongside Ministers Péter Szijjártó (Foreign Affairs and Trade), László Palkovics (Innovation and Technology), Mihály Varga (Finance), Miklós Kásler (Human Capacities), Judit Varga (Justice), Sándor Pintér (Interior), Andrea Bártfai-Mager (National Assets) and Katalin Novák (Families).

The document has also gone to a number of state secretaries and to Orbán’s cabinet chief Gergely Gulyás and advisor (and former deputy governor of the National Bank of Hungary) Márton Nagy, as well as Róbert Ésik, CEO of the Hungarian Investment Promotion Agency (HIPA), László Parragh, president of the Hungarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MKIK), and the presidents and CEOs of other bilateral chambers. It will be discussed throughout the year at AmCham meetings at minister and state secretary levels.

The “Cooperation for a More Competitive and Sustainable Hungary 2021” recommendation package is out now in Hungarian, with an English version coming soon. An executive summary is available in  both Hungarian and English on the chamber’s website, amcham.hu. Any questions or comments should be directed to AmCham Policy Officer Zsuzsanna Varga directly on zsuzsanna.varga@amcham.hu.

For more on the Policy Agenda publication, see “3rd Policy Agenda to Help AmCham ‘lead the way’ to Recovery” and “AmCham sets out Policy Priorities to ‘Work With Government’” in the February 12 issue of the BBJ.

This article was first published in the Budapest Business Journal print issue of  March 12, 2021.

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