At the 9 March meeting, Mindaugas Sinkevičius, Minister of Economy of Lithuania, discussed with Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary, the possibilities of strengthening bilateral cooperation between Lithuania and Hungary, including bilateral trade, export, TUI and tourism promotion. Mr Sinkevičius talked about the economic potential of Lithuania; Mr Szijjártó presented the overview of economic policy in Hungary.
‘Lithuania and Hungary are important economic partners which encourage tourist exchanges and close cooperation in bilateral trade and investment. The businesses of Lithuania and Hungary have an interest in establishing a mutually beneficial relationship which may help increase the scale of export and product sales so as to gain a foothold in the markets of both countries,’ Minister of Economy Sinkevičius said.
According to Minister Sinkevičius, Lithuanian businesses would like to strengthen the relations with Hungary in the field of engineering, electrical machinery and equipment, transport and logistic services. Given the fact that vehicles of world-famous brands like Mercedes Benz and Suzuki are assembled in Hungary Lithuanian companies operating in electric machinery and equipment sector have perspectives to increase the volumes of ignition wiring and wiring kits exports. In 2016, the exports of this sector to Hungary amounted to EUR 21 million.
Possibilities of importing to Lithuania railway and public transport vehicles manufactured in Hungary, including also clean busses, were also discussed at the meeting. Minister Sinkevičius also marked the Lithuanian laser industry potential. In cooperation with Vilnius University and research establishments of Hungary Lithuanian laser undertakings have contributed to the establishment of the European Research Centre in the town of Szeged in Hungary.
Minister Sinkevičius also emphasised the favourable business environment in Lithuania, excellent R&D sector infrastructure, skilled and professional labour force, user-friendly geographic position and operating 7 free economic zones. All these factors may help encourage the attraction of Hungarian FDI to Lithuania.
In 2016, the volumes of Hungarian FDI reached EUR 10,45 million in Lithuania and the Lithuanian FDI in Hungary made EUR 19,1 million. In terms of FDI investments in Lithuania Hungary ranked 33.
Cooperation in the field of tourism between Hungary and Lithuania was another issue of discussion at the meeting. Both Lithuania and Hungary are members of the UNWTO. Presently, Lithuania is a candidate to become a member of the UN WTO Executive Committee and the Hungarian side was asked to support Lithuania’s candidature in this election. Minister Péter Szijjártó promised to take due consideration of this request.
In 2016, 5,7 thousand of Hungarian tourists stayed in commercial places of accommodation in Lithuania, which is nearly 25 percent more than in 2015.
Today, Mr Szijjártó has also met with Lithuanian business representatives and is planning to visit the Institute of International relations and Political Science of Vilnius University where he will be delivering a speech about the regional cooperation of Visegrad countries.
According to the data of Statistics Lithuania, Hungary ranked 23 in terms of trade turnover, 24 – in terms of export and 22 – in terms of import in 2016. The bilateral trade turnover between Lithuania and Hungary reached EUR 355,2 million, export – EUR 145,3 million and import – EUR 209,9 million. Compared with 2015, trade turnover between Lithuania and Hungary increased by 5 percent, export – by 4.6 percent and import – by 5.2 percent.
In 2016, Lithuania mainly exported to Hungary plastic products (27 percent of the total export volumes), electrical machinery and equipment (15 percent), fertilizers (8 percent) and pharmaceutical products (7 percent). Last year, major imports from Hungary to Lithuania included pharmaceutical products (35 percent), electrical machinery and equipment (9 percent), plastic products (9 percent) and vehicles (8 percent).