A significant strengthening of economic relations between Sri Lanka and Hungary can be confidently anticipated as Sri Lanka enters on a new phase in its development, Dr. Janos Martonyi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Hungary said.
He described the Memorandum of Understanding on political consultations and co-operation signed between the two Ministers during the official visit of Minister Peiris to Hungary as an excellent launching pad for this enhanced relationship. The two Ministers addressed the media together after signing of the Agreement.
Hungary Foreign Minister said that it is a pivot of his country’s foreign policy to reach out to countries in the Asian region which are considered “growth prone” and that Sri Lanka, with growth of its economy at 8%, certainly warrants inclusion in that category.
The Ministers noted that an agreement is being prepared on Air Services to add a further stimulus to tourism in a situation where tourist arrivals from Hungary to Sri Lanka are increasing by more than 40%.
His Hungarian counterpart agreed, at the request of Prof. Peiris, to give priority to accelerating implementation of a project involving assistance from Hungary for the rehabilitation of Kalatuwawa and Labugama Water Treatment Plants.
The bilateral discussions also centred on investment in pharmaceuticals and the tourism industry and joint collaboration to establish Ayurvedic treatment centres in Hungary.
The other areas which the Ministers identified for joint investment were dairy farming, agricultural productivity, fisheries and water management. The Hungarian side agreed that there is potential for developing and expanding value added products from Sri Lanka such as natural rubber, fibre and graphite for penetrating the Central European Market.
The Hungarian Minister was receptive to the suggestion by Prof. Peiris to provide more scholarship opportunities for Sri Lankan students for training in medicine, technology and engineering.
Professor Peiris delivered a lecture on “Sri Lanka and the International Community: Current Perspectives” at the Hungarian Institute of International Affairs.
Other features of his visit to Hungary included an interactive session with the Hungarian Chamber of Commerce, at which Minister Peiris explained investment and trade opportunities in Sri Lanka, a meeting with the Speaker of Parliament of Hungary, and interviews with Hungarian television and radio.