Orbán promotes Hungary to business in Singapore

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Photo: Balázs Szecsődi / kormany.hu

Speaking at a Singapore-Hungary business forum in Singapore Wednesday, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán praised the southeast Asian city-state for adapting quickly to new technology and using it for its economic advantage. In this respect, Singapore is an example to follow for Europe, including Hungary, he added.

Orbán speaks at the forum in Singapore. (Photo: Balázs Szecsődi / kormany.hu)

“During the next 15-20 years, the center of European economic growth will be in Germany and Central Europe, and accordingly it is worth investing in this region,” Orbán told the forum, quoted by Hungarian government website kormany.hu. “Central Europe, and within it Hungary, has responded to global economic challenges with rapidity, flexibility and market-friendly regulations,” he added.

Orbán told the forum that while Hungary is a country with no raw materials or natural resources, it does have “large neighbors with healthy appetites.” He noted that “raw material-intensive” global economic development is increasingly shifting towards a “knowledge-intensive” economy, benefiting Hungary.

Kormany.hu cited Orbán as saying that “the competition between countries will not be decided by who is large and who is small, but by who is fast and who is slow, meaning who is capable of transposing state-of-the-art scientific results into its economic life the most rapidly.”

Orbán encouraged companies from Singapore to come to Hungary in greater number and said Hungarian companies in the water management, agriculture, IT and pharmaceutical sectors want to share a bigger part of Singaporeʼs economic success.

Singaporeʼs Minister for Trade and Industry Lim Hng Kiang acknowledged the strengthening ties between Singapore and Hungary, saying that the latter offers excellent opportunities for companies from Singapore because of its strategic location.

The minister noted that bilateral ties will improve once a free trade agreement between Singapore and the European Union comes into force.

The Hungarian National Trading House (MNKH) and Hungarian Investment Promotion Agency (HIPA) signed agreements with Singaporeʼs chamber of commerce at the forum.

Hungary as ʼbridgeheadʼ

On Tuesday, Orbán met with Singaporeʼs Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who said Hungary is “an excellent bridgehead” for Singapore to the European Union, while Singapore could serve as a gateway for Hungary to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), according to kormany.hu.

He expressed hope that bilateral agreements signed on Tuesday would further strengthen their countriesʼ cooperation.

Hungary and Singapore signed three intergovernmental agreements in the presence of the two prime ministers. Minister of National Development Miklós Seszták concluded an aviation agreement, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó concluded an agreement on education, and Minister of Agriculture Sándor Fazekas signed a food safety agreement.

The business forum on Wednesday wound up the official visit to Singapore by Orbán and his delegation.

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