Hungary is poor in natural resources other than bauxite,
natural gas and some oil. For
this reason, it relies heavily on foreign trade and this accounts
for half of its GDP. Hungary has a fairly well-developed industrial
economy concentrated in plastic, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, fertilisers,
computers and mining, telecommunications, construction and aluminium.
The country also traditionally been an exporter of agricultural
produce, particularly fruit and vegetables, maize and wheat, potatoes,
sugar beet and livestock.
Before the political upheaval in Eastern Europe in 1989, Hungary
had gone the furthest of all the socialist-bloc countries towards
decentralising and deregulating the economy. In the 1990s, it eschewed
the Polish-style ‘big bang’ road to capitalism and opted
for a more gradual transition. Price controls were removed, and
programme of privatisation was implemented, starting with the property
and retail sectors. By 1995, small business privatisation complete,
while sales of the larger state-owned concerns proceeded apace and
current estimates put 85 per cent of the economy under private ownership.
Hungary’s economic performance is currently steady with growth
at nearly 3 per cent, and inflation 5 per cent.
Foreign investment has picked up, largely as a result of the liberalisation
of trade through agreements with the EU, EFTA
and the Visegrad mechanism, although in recent
years there has been a mild backlash against the extent to which
foreign companies have penetrated the economy in Hungarian.
European Union membership was a high priority
for the Hungarian government and, since signing an Association Agreement
in 1998, the country has secured a place in the ‘first wave’
of the new members. Hungary became a full member of the European
Union, along with 9 other countries, on May 1 2004. The country’s
principal trading partners are Germany, Austria, Italy, the Russian
Federation and the Czech Republic and outside Europe, there are
important links with the USA, Japan and Brazil.
Businesspeople in Hungary are expected to dress smartly. Local businesspeople
are generally very friendly and hospitable and it is usual for visitors
to be invited to lunch or dinner in a local restaurant. Business
cards are widely distributed and visitors are well advised to have
good supply available in Hungarian. The best months for business
visits are September to May. Appointments should always required.
Interpreter and translation services may be booked through the local
Office hours: Monday-Thursday 0800-1630
hrs, Friday 0800-1400 hrs.
The following organisation can offer advice:
Budapest Kereskedelmi és Iparkamara (Budapest Chamber
of Commerce and Industry),
Krisztina Krt 99,
Telephone number (1) 488 2173, fax number: (1) 488 2180, website:
ITD Hungary, 46 Eaton Place, London SW1X 8AL, UK (telephone number:
(020) 7235 8767, fax number: (020) 7235 4319, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Conferences and Conventions
Hungarian Convention Bureau,
Vérmezõ út. 4,
Telephone number: (1) 488 8642, fax number: (1) 488 8641, e-mail: