Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said cooperation between Hungary and Singapore is based on mutual respect and a common belief in the importance of national sovereignty as well as a rejection of outside interference.
Speaking in Singapore on Wednesday, the foreign minister said Singapore is Hungary’s most significant trading partner in the region, adding that relations “are especially friendly”. Both countries can be confident that their own citizens “are capable of deciding wisely what kind of future they want for the country”, he said, adding that they want a return to mutual respect in international politics, while they also often cooperate in international organisations. Just as in Singapore, political stability in Hungary “is exceptional” in the European context, he said, adding that Singaporean businesses’ appreciation of this is reflected by their growing investments in Hungary. Minister Szijjártó noted that he met the leaders of Singapore’s biggest companies investing in Hungary, all of whom expressed satisfaction with the operating environment, low taxes and skilled workforce, and they planned new investments, especially in the electric car industry. He said there is mutual interest in developing space industry cooperation in the production of satellites and their placement in orbit, as well as data sharing.
The foreign minister said trade between Hungary and Singapore hit 1 billion US dollars last year, adding that trade was on the upswing, with a 46% increase recorded so far this year. Hungarian companies have invested 350 million US dollars in the city-state, and Singaporean companies employ more than 7,000 people in Hungary, Minister Szijjártó said. At the biggest food industry fair in South-East Asia, a deal was reached on the voluminous export of Hungarian mangalitsa and pigeon meat to Singapore, he said. Singapore, he added, presents a big opportunity for Hungarian agriculture and its food industry. Last year, the value of Hungarian food exports exceeded 6 million US dollars, of which meat produce exports amounted to more than 1 million US dollars. Tourism ties between the two countries are also improving, Szijjártó said, noting a four-fold increase in Singaporean visitors to Hungary so far this year compared with the same period last year.