Ministers promise help to SMEs, outline export strategy

Int’l Relations

Addressing yesterday’s conference of trade diplomats, Economy Minister Mihály Varga stated that a priority for 2013 would be help boost exports by Hungarian SMEs and touted the current administration’s plan to increase domestic goods exports to the East. In his opening address, Varga cited statistics stating that SMEs generated just 11% of total exports from Hungary in 2012, while accounting for two-thirds of employment in the country. SMEs should be supported by state and European Union interests and diplomatic efforts to increase the low export figure. 

Foreign Trade Secretary Péter Szijjártó went on to detail some of the current administration’s philosophy on greater expansion of Hungarian exports into markets such as Russia, China, Azerbaijan and Georgia: Part of an effort to maintain standing in the West, but opening to the East.

Szijjártó explained the current goal to increase export volumes to these regions by at least 50% to reach €110 billion by 2020. By 2018, Szijjártó expects that one-third of all Hungarian exports should go to non-EU nations. However, the trade secretary was forced to admit that within the last year, exports dropped by about 2.6% year-on-year.

In relation to export strategy, Varga described Western European markets as “stagnant”, but cited a “potential for growth” in Southeast Asia and the Far East. Szijjártó also mentioned that Hungary would be opening trading houses in Riyadh and Beijing late this year, with locations in as-yet undetermined in northern Africa and South America to be established thereafter.

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