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Two (unnamed) US companies to expand operations in Hungary

Int’l Relations

Foreign Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Éva Varga teased local media yesterday with the promise of more exciting news later this week: Namely, that two “major US[-based] companies” will soon be expanding operations in Hungary.

In reporting to MTI the pre-announcement of the big news, Varga emphatically stated that the deals “will provide [more proof of] Hungarian-US economic cooperation being a success story.” Presumably as a lead-in to said expansion, Foreign Affairs State Secretary Péter Szijjártó visited Washington, D.C., for two days in mid-June.

On that trip, Szijjártó met with high-ranking American politicos including Ed Royce, the California congressman who serves as House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman, and Senior Foreign Service career man Brent Hartley, serving in the post of Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, to undergo a review of US-Hungary bilateral relations.

Thereafter, Szijjártó met with representatives of some seven US-based corporations currently doing business in Hungary; his specific goal in these meetings was to help increase supply networks of Hungarian SMEs via expansion. At that time, the ministry specifically mentioned Szijjártó’s discussions with IBM and Procter & Gamble, therefore leading BBJ to believe that these firms are a good bet to be those named in this week’s announcement.

The US is currently Hungary’s largest non-European export market. According to government statistics, total exports to the country in 2012 were worth $2.5 billion and direct investment by US-based firms in Hungary was slightly less than $9 billion. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) reported total FDI investment in Hungary to be $13.5 billion in 2012.

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