Promoting partnership

A trade delegation from Hungary is visiting this year’s show and will be looking to promote partnerships between UK and Hungarian manufacturers, writes Mark Venables

Under the umbrella of Manufacturing Week there is an opportunity for UK firms to meet some of their counterparts from Hungary and to explore mutually beneficial opportunities for trade.

Eleven companies and four trade organisations from the east European state will be at the show on Tuesday 26 October. Their visit has been organised by the Hungarian Investment and Trade Development Agency (ITDH), with support from the Central European section of the Department of Trade and Industry and trade promotion body British Trade International.

Through the one-day seminar, the Hungarian Trade Commission aims to promote British-Hungarian trade, stimulate investment in Hungarian industry and encourage joint ventures between UK and Hungarian companies.

Since the collapse of communism Hungary has completed its transition to democracy and has made significant steps towards establishing a market economy. It was recently accepted as a member of Nato and is negotiating full membership of the EU.

The transition has left the country, which had an extensive manufacturing infrastructure geared to supplying the soviet military and industrial machine, with excess capacity.

It has a GDP of around £27bn and, as a country in an advanced state of economic change, offers significant opportunities for UK companies seeking to export and invest.

Its principal trading partners are Germany (25%), Austria (10%), Italy (6%) and France (4%). The UK accounts for just 5% of total EU exports to Hungary.

The main imports are electrical machines, instruments, energy generating equipment, road vehicles, electrical parts, industrial machines and telecommunications equipment. Exports include office machines, data processing equipment and clothing.

Last year saw increased levels of trade between the two countries. British exports to Hungary rose 15% to £500m, 38th in the league of exports, while imports rose by a similar percentage to £558m.

The mission at the NEC will be led by Gabor Szentivenyi, the Hungarian ambassador in London, Dr Andras Hirschler, commissioner of the Hungarian Trade Commission and Dr Odon Kiraly, deputy managing director of the ITDH.

`Our target is to find British companies which can benefit from the market conditions in Hungary,’ Dr Hirschler says. `We can offer less expensive labour and an extensive infrastructure as well as good financial incentives. We would like to encourage British companies to relocate part of their production to Hungary or set up their own businesses there.

`We realise that few small or medium-sized companies can afford to commit to such a bold initiative as setting up in another country, so we are bringing over these 11 companies in an attempt to become suppliers to UK-based manufacturers.’

Over 3,000 invitations to the seminar have been sent out but anybody interested is welcome to attend on the day. Registration begins at 10.30am after which there will be three presentations: Opportunity Hungary, by Alister Jones of the DTI; Industrious Hungary, by Sandor Molnar, from the ministry for economic affairs; and ITDH: Your passport to Hungary by Dr Kiraly.

After their stay at the NEC the trade mission will move on to Manchester for a similar event two days later at the town hall.

Helping coordinate the event is Conservative peer Lord Wade of Chorlton, an expert in eastern European industry.

`We have assisted the ITDH in identifying the very best manufacturers from Hungary. Most are ISO 9000 registered and are well placed to offer high-quality and cost effective services and products to British companies,’ Wade says.

One of the enterprising 11 is Aspen Technology which designs and manufactures pump and diesel engine parts.

`We regard Britain as being of the highest priority as an export market and look forward very much to establishing new trading partnerships at the NEC,’ says managing director Gyorgy Lendvai.

WHO’LL BE THERE

Companies

Aspen Technologies (Budapest) – pump parts and diesel engine components.

Csavar-es Huzottaru Rt. (Alsozsolca) – bolts, joining elements, coils and other fasteners.

EMR Electric Motors Ltd (Batonyterenye) – AC/DC electric motors.

EMT Hungaria (Godollo) – stamped, pressed and welded automotive and electronic components.

Gravitas 2000 (Budapest) – design and manufacture of precision tools.

Magyarnet Finomontobe (Budapest) – custom-made high-precision investment casting for the automotive and electronic industry.

Mayer-Balogh Ltd (Budapest) – scaffolding and welded steel products.

Rigo (Tiszafoldvar) – moulding tools for the plastic and shoe industry.

Technoorg-Linda (Budapest) – high-tech instruments.

Technoplast (Miskolc) – machine tools, moulding tools, metal stamping and die-forming.

Vezerlestechnikai Alkatreszgyarto Rt. (Mezotur) – electrical products.

Associations and government organisations

Hungarian Investment and Trade Development Agency

Hungarian Ministry of Economic Affairs

Hungarian Embassy, London

Hungarian Trade Commission