The Turkey-Hungary Business Forum, organized by the Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEİK) and the Turkey-Hungary Business Council, took place on Friday in Ankara. Speaking at the meeting, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said: "I wish the meeting of the business circles of the two friendly countries be beneficial."
Underlining that Turkish-Hungarian relations gained great momentum following President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's visit to the country in 2013, Yıldırım stated that the two countries fell short of achieving the targeted bilateral trade volume of $5 billion and fulfilled half of it so far.
He added: "So, we have to work harder and we have a lot of work to do. The environment and infrastructure needed towards this end are available in both countries." Touching on the incentives that the two countries offer, Yıldırım said that Hungary's incentives are quite attractive, while Turkey has been providing special incentives for certain investments, especially for the past year, as well as local and regional stimuluses.
"We expect all of these incentive systems to be evaluated by Turkish or Hungarian investors in the best way. What we need to do as politicians and state leaders is to make your business easier and to remove the obstacles in front of you. The rest is up to you, businessmen," he said.
He continued, "We are not responsible for carrying out trade, but our primary task is to prepare the infrastructure to enable you to carry out trade and make life easier for you."
Extending his thanks to the Hungarian government for its support, Yıldırım stated that Turkish investors are gradually investing in Hungary in certain sectors, with more than 500 of them having more than $100 million in investments in Hungarian logistics, industry and the service sector at the moment. Also, there are nearly 40 Hungarian investors investing $20 million in Turkey. Underlining that these figures must be increased, Yıldırım suggested that Turkish and Hungarian investors can cooperate with third countries in their investments.
According to Yıldırım, since Turkey's African initiative meeting last year, there have been some small developments in this direction. Pointing to the great potential for Hungarian and Turkish companies to invest in Africa, the Prime Minister said that this would be easier thanks to current direct flights from Turkey to 44 destinations in Africa. Touching on the favorable infrastructure and opportunities in this regard, Yıldırım added: "This also means Hungary's direct opening up to Africa, as Hungarians can come to Istanbul in an hour-and-a-half and reach a number of points in Africa through connecting flights.
"So, what needs to be done from now on is that business world representatives must meet more frequently, discover potential and develop new business and cooperation areas," he told.
Prefacing that efforts should be made to lift some restrictions on transportation in order to strengthen the dialogue between the businessmen of the two countries and to accelerate new investment opportunities, Yıldırım said that the authorities of both countries are carrying out joint activities in this field.
Yıldırım also touched on the issue of new dynamics created by global developments that have made both countries face unprecedented tests, emphasizing that peaceful and prosperous days for the countries that will turn these tests into an advantage are not too far away. Yıldırım pointed out that the way to uncover these opportunities is possible through not only bilateral, but also regional cooperation.