TRADE Undersecretary Allan B. Gepty meets with Istvan Jakab, deputy speaker of the National Assembly of Hungary, in Budapest. — DTI

THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said it sees opportunities to tap Hungary’s expertise in agriculture, information and communication, and water technologies, leading to possible investments in the Philippines.

“The Philippines and Hungary have established extraordinary friendship that transcends beyond diplomatic relations,” Trade Undersecretary Allan B. Gepty said in a statement on Monday.

“We have established dynamic and productive economic relations over the last five years and are positioned to gain further, particularly in trade and investments,” he added.

The DTI made the statement in the wake of the business forum held on the sidelines of the Philippines-Hungary Joint Commission on Economic Cooperation (JCEC), in which at least 60 Hungarian companies participated.

Investment opportunities could also arise for key Philippine industries such as renewable energy, green metals, electric vehicle manufacturing, and smart and high-tech light manufacturing.

The DTI also said Hungary plans to offer a tied aid loan of $33 million to the Philippines to finance social infrastructure projects related to water management.

The projects include the Philippine Multisectoral Nutrition Project under the Department of Social Welfare and Development, which aims to improve community access to clean and safe drinking water.

In 2022, merchandise trade between the Philippines and Hungary was $189.84 million, making it the seventh-largest export market in the European Union. It was also the 15th largest destination of Philippine goods admitted to the EU under the Generalized Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+) concessional scheme.

Hungary currently employs 9,000 overseas Filipino workers, which is expected to increase further amid strong demand for agricultural workers, as well as those in, services, transportation, and healthcare.

The DTI said that talks on education were also held during the event, including the implementation of their memorandum of understanding on Vocational Education and Training signed in 2022.

In the fifth JCEC, the countries discussed the collaboration of the Hungarian University of Agriculture and Life Sciences with various institutions in the Philippines as well as with the Philippine Department of Agriculture.

Mr. Gepty also met with Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly of Hungary, István Jakab, on the sidelines of the JCEC. Mr. Jakab is the chairman of the Hungary-Philippines Friendship Group.

“Deputy Speaker Jakab highlighted the role of the JCEC in advancing economic cooperation and presenting opportunities for mutual benefit,” the DTI said, citing Mr. Jakab.

“He hopes the JCEC can add further impetus to promote bilateral relations which is the key role played by the Friendship Group of Philippine and Hungarian parliamentarians,” it added. — Justine Irish D. Tabile