Hungary calls for UAE to set up embassy in Budapest
DUBAI // Hungary is hoping to enhance diplomatic ties with the UAE and has reiterated its invitation for the Government to open an embassy in Budapest.
The country wants to strengthen ties at a time when air routes between the two countries are opening, with Hungarian budget carrier Wizz Air set to operate from the new Dubai World Central (DWC) airport in Jebel Ali when it opens in October.
Peter Szijjarto, a foreign affairs aide for the Hungarian prime minister's office, said his government is keen on enhancing political ties as part of a new strategy towards the Arab world.
Speaking at the Ministry of Economy's annual investment meeting in Dubai, he said: "We appreciate what the UAE is doing in stabilising the region and we view it as a very important player that is ensuring and participating in creating stability in the Middle East.
"We would be happy to cultivate deeper diplomatic relations, so we need the UAE to open their embassy in Budapest."
Mr Szijjarto added that his government's call was conveyed during his meetings with the Minister of Economy, Sultan Saeed Al Mansoori, and the Minister of State for Financial Affairs, Obaid Humaid Al Tayer.
Mr Szijjarto last week signed with Mr Al Tayer an agreement for the avoidance of double taxation on income with Hungary.
"This is the first written agreement signed between our two countries and we have agreed to start negotiations on a joint economic cooperation committee," Mr Szijjarto said.
According to Mr Al Tayer, the agreement signed will contribute to strengthening economic relations between the two countries.
"This agreement will aid in achieving an economical balance between the UAE and Hungary, as it is considered to be an important legal mechanism to push forward investments between both states," he said.
"This is especially true since the agreement provides tax-related privileges for state-owned investments and for the private sector as well, in addition to providing tax exemption for air transport activities."
The document also identified a number of entities that would receive tax exemptions, which includes the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, Investment Corporation of Dubai and pension funds.
Mr Szijjarto said that this was the first step in a series of joint activities: "Later this year we will open a Hungarian trade office in Abu Dhabi to boost investment opportunities for small and medium enterprises."
Annual trade between Hungary and the UAE is now US$1.2 billion (Dh4.4bn), making the UAE Hungary's largest Arab trade partner.
"However, most of our exports are Hungarian-made products made by large multinational corporations," Mr Szijjarto said. "We would like small and medium enterprises to engage with UAE businesses and markets to sustain and grow our relations."
Mr Al Tayer said that, to date, the UAE has signed 70 agreements with trade partners across the globe.
In addition to the Wizz Air deal at DWC Al Maktoum airport, Mr Szijjarto said: "We are in talks with Emirates and Etihad as we would like to also have national airline links between our countries."
Updated: May 7, 2013 04:00 AM