HUNGARY indicated its interest in expanding trade with the Philippines at an event bringing together representatives from the environment, labor market, and information and communications technology industries, the Board of Investments (BoI) said.

In a statement on Monday, the BoI said that the Hungarian government expressed its interest at a Dec. 1 networking event bringing together about 80 Hungarian and Philippine companies.

Katalin Bihari, deputy state secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Economic Relations and Foreign Affairs of Hungary, said the Philippines has a “prominent position” in Hungarian foreign economic policy as a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nation countries.

Ceferino S. Rodolfo, BoI managing head and Trade undersecretary, noted a recent increase in trade with Hungary.

“Philippine exports to Hungary increased by 40.26% — from $110.06 million in 2020 to $154.37 million in 2021. We believe the new exports of machine parts and accessories, as well as the increase in outward shipment of products such as digital monolithic integrated circuits, contributed to this growth,” Mr. Rodolfo said.

“Philippine imports from Hungary expanded by 16.68%, a development attributed to the sharp increase of imports of parts of refrigerators and freezers, as well as in the inward shipment of materials for electronic machinery,” he added.

Mr. Rodolfo invited Hungarian firms to consider the Philippines as a manufacturing hub, saying that the country has green metals such as nickel, copper, and cobalt used in battery production.

He said the Philippines is planning to implement a zero-tariff policy on imported electric vehicles, and the country’s decision to allow 100% foreign ownership of renewable energy projects. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave