Last year, Kazakhstan was the third largest trading partner of Hungary within the Commonwealth of Independent States, with a total trade volume exceeding USD 261 million and up by 6.5 percent compared to last year. Within the above amount, the value of Hungarian exports was USD 210 million, signalling an increase of 34.3 percent year-on-year, Minister for National Economy Mihály Varga said at the press conference following the fourth session of the Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) on Hungarian-Kazakh Economic Cooperation.

The minister added that on the agenda of the Committee’s meeting were some priority issues concerning the agricultural and agro-industry, the energy, transportation and healthcare sectors as well as the field of innovation and partnership of local governments.

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The Kazakh delegation was headed by Economic and Fiscal Planning Minister of the Kazakh Republic Yerbolat Dosayev who is also the Co-Chairman of the Committee. Following the meeting, the Kazakh and Hungarian ministers signed the session’s protocol.

As a result of consultations, two agreements were signed, one by representatives of Kazakhstan’s Astyk Service and the Hungarian Peters and Burg Kft on the export of  pesticides valued at USD 3.9 million, and the other was an MoU concluded between the Kazakhstan University of the Humanities and Law and the Budapest Corvinus University on joint research and education projects. Under the latter agreement, the two universities are increasing the number of exchange professors and students, extend research partnership and boost the exchange of scientific information.

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Mihály Varga stressed economic relations justify that Hungary considers Kazakhstan a strategic partner in the Central Asian region. The objective of these meetings is to further bolster economic relations.

The Minister also said that relations are expected to be strengthened in the following fields: the participation of Hungarian enterprises in the modernization process of the Kazakh agricultural and manufacturing sectors, improvement of cooperation in the pharmaceuticals and healthcare industries, exporting of Hungarian knowledge and technologies with regard to the vehicle manufacturing sector and reinvigorating tourism relations. He added that – through their up-to-date technologies and wide-ranging experiences -- Hungarian enterprises are capable of and willing to participate in the implementation of Kazakh economic development projects.

Mihály Varga pointed out that domestic construction sector enterprises are expected to participate in the preparatory work of the 2017 Astana Fair, such as the design and construction of buildings as well as in urban infrastructure development projects related the Fair.

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He emphasised that the extension of trade, economic and tourism relations necessitates the updating of currently effective bilateral aviation agreements and both parties shall facilitate the launching of a direct flight between Budapest and Astana.

The Minister stated that it is in Hungary’s best interest to deepen ties with the fund established by the Kazakh Republic which aims to finance the medical treatment of Kazakh citizens abroad.

He also welcomed the planned signing of an agreement on the founding of a joint investment fund by Eximbank and Kazagro for the financing of agricultural investment projects in Kazakhstan.

(Ministry for National Economy)