Joint Statement on the First Session of the Philippines-Hungary Joint Commission on Economic Cooperation

The Philippines and Hungary convened the inaugural meeting of the Philippines-Hungary Joint Commission on Economic Commission (JCEC) on 2-3 April 2019 in Budapest, Hungary. The inaugural JCEC was led by H.E. Ceferino Rodolfo, Undersecretary for Industry Development and Trade Policy of the Department of Trade and Industry of the Philippines, and H.E. István Joó, Deputy State Secretary for Export Development of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary.

The first meeting of the JCEC is one among the several high-level meetings that have taken place between the two countries since the reopening of the Embassy of Hungary in Manila in March 2017 during the visit of H.E. Mr Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary. The 45th Anniversary of the diplomatic relations between Hungary and the Republic of the Philippines was also celebrated in 2018. 

The inaugural JCEC serves as a platform to discuss means to improve trade and investment relations. It also sets out cooperation initiatives in key fields of interest such as trade and investment promotion, manufacturing, water treatment and management, agriculture and food industry, information and communication technologies (ICT), transport, education, culture, tourism, sports, and health. 

Both sides welcomed the successful convening of the Philippines-Hungary Business Forum on the sidelines of the JCEC where the representatives of 45 Hungarian companies and a 10-strong Philippine business delegation participated. The Forum highlighted opportunities in each other’s markets, particularly in investments for manufacturing, automotives, electronics, ICT and infrastructure, as well as food and non-food trade and paved the way for increased business-to-business links. 

The two countries also welcomed the signing of the Memorandum of Intent between the Philippine Board of Investments and the Hungarian Investment Promotion Agency, Memorandum of Understanding between the Philippine International Trading Corporation and Hungarian Export Promotion Agency, and the Memorandum of Understanding between the Philippine Sports Commission and the Ministry of Human Capacities of Hungary on Cooperation in the Field of Sports.

Both sides expressed optimism that these agreements will further boost bilateral economic ties. 

“Consistent with Philippine DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez’s thrust for increased engagement with bilateral partners in the European Union, we are pleased to meet our government and business counterparts through this inaugural JCEC. The JCEC allows us to capitalize on complementation between the Philippines and Hungary, especially in manufacturing, agriculture, and water treatment and management. This meeting is also useful as members of our respective private sectors explore opportunities in each other’s markets and establish business to business partnerships. In the same way that we consider Hungary as one of our key allies in the European Union, I invite you to consider the Philippines as your partner in ASEAN,” said Undersecretary Rodolfo during the plenary session of the JCEC. 

 “Our relationship with the Republic of the Philippines is driven by the desire to enhance our bilateral economic cooperation based on common interests and values. The Government of Hungary is dedicated to strengthening and improving the bilateral trade relations between our countries, and to promoting Hungarian investment opportunities. Our country is ready to act as a gateway for Philippine companies planning to operate in European markets. We firmly believe that our country’s strategic geographic location, together with its extensive transportation infrastructure and qualified labour force, make Hungary an ideal choice for high value added industries.” said Deputy State Secretary Joó during the meeting of the JCEC.

With the successful convening of the inaugural JCEC, the Philippines and Hungary look forward to increasing two-way trade and investments and sustained collaboration in concrete economic cooperation initiatives.