Hungarian Prime Minister Gordon Bajnai and Egyptian Minister for Foreign Trade and Industry Rashid Mohammed Rashid opened the Egyptian-Hungarian business forum in Cairo on Tuesday. The business forum is expected to be attended by more than 40 Hungarian and as many Egyptian businessmen.
Bajnai emphasized at the opening ceremony that the only way out of the global economic crisis is to exploit partnerships and trade relations and reject all forms of protectionism.
Rashid Mohammed Rash also emphasized the need for renewing the traditions of Egyptian-Hungarian trade relations.
Bajnai said that a “promising breakthrough” has been achieved in the renewal of Egyptian-Hungarian economic relations since the visit to Budapest of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak last October and Hungary now offers a number of investment opportunities to Egypt. Egypt is a strategic partner for Hungary, a gateway to the Arab world, he added.
Hungarian Agricultural Minister József Gráf opened a Hungarian food show organized by the Centre for Agricultural Marketing at Cairo's Hotel Conrad.
Bilateral trade between Hungary and Egypt grew more than 550% between 2004 and 2008, totaling $275 million in 2008, including Hungarian exports of $262 million. This makes Egypt Hungary's second most important trade partner in Africa after South Africa. Hungarian imports fell 42% in the same period, due to a 63% fall in food imports. Hungary's main export products to Egypt are machinery, chemical products and communications equipment.
Hungarian companies have made inroads into Egypt. Big projects in Egypt with Hungarian involvement include a fishing, environmental and tourism project on the Nile delta, a lake rehabilitation, a project to preserve ancient temples from water damage, and projects in the railway and logistics sectors. One Hungarian company is in advanced talks on exporting cattle farming technology to Egypt.
Hungarian companies see big opportunities for cooperation with Egyptian partners in the area of military technology, especially modernizing old Soviet-made radars and other communications equipment.
Bajnai will lay the cornerstone of a plant owned by Hungarian-Egyptian joint venture Dispo Amercor that will make disposable medical supplies later on Tuesday. (MTI-Econews)