Trade between Czechia and Hungary is growing

Hungary is now the Czech Republic's ninth largest trading partner. "In 2017, the mutual trade exchange significantly exceeded 8 billion euros, which is a record number," says Tibor Bial, director of the CzechTrade foreign office in Budapest.

The global economic crisis after 2008 had slowed mutual business, but since 2010, exports and imports to Hungary have grown by about a third. We will probably see a historic high of 2018 as well. Currently, trade exchange with Hungary makes almost three percent of Czech foreign trade (which is more than trade with the United States and Russia).

“In recent years, the numbers have grown quickly. I hope that our office in Budapest has a small share in these statistics, but it is primarily a success of the Czech Republic and all the companies involved,” says Tibor Bial.

Czech companies have a chance to push through the Hungarian market in almost all areas, but some of them are a priority for both sides. "Energy is currently the hottest topic of mutual relations, but I would also mention the construction industry, which has been experiencing a huge boom in Hungary in recent years. The market is developing in tens of percent a year, and Czech companies have an extraordinary potential here,” says Bial.

Energy is currently a priority for Hungarians mainly because of the construction of the second unit of the Paks nuclear power plant, which is a project for many years. And Czech companies have a great chance here.

The director of the Budapest office also recalls other promising fields for domestic exporters - agriculture, food industry, and the pharmaceutical industry. Hungary does not put any obstacles to business: large and small businesses have the same chance to win. But the knowledge of the local environment is important.

In this regard, the state agency CzechTrade plays an important role, and its representatives have been operating in Hungary for a long time, know local people and the market situation. The agency has important personal ties and contacts that companies need to start a business. Collaborations are usually discussed at trade fairs and regular partner conferences, for example in the field of Smart Cities, infrastructure repairs, traffic construction and so on.

But business can also be arranged during social or sports events, where business representatives meet in a relaxed atmosphere. Tibor Bial mentions a recent (and first ever) official international hockey match between Hungary and the Czech Republic, which CzechTrade helped to organize. "As part of this event, sponsors who helped to organize it, could sit behind the scenes with their potential business partners, make contacts, and strengthen their personal relationships," explains Bial.

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