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Last updated : Nov 2009
Hungary Business
Hungary Business Overview - TravelPuppy.com
Hungary Economy

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.

Business Etiquette

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 travel agents.

Office hours: Monday-Thursday 0800-1630 hrs, Friday 0800-1400 hrs.

Commercial Information

The following organisation can offer advice:

Budapest Kereskedelmi és Iparkamara (Budapest Chamber of Commerce and Industry),
Krisztina Krt 99,
H-1016 Budapest
Telephone number (1) 488 2173, fax number: (1) 488 2180, website: www.bkik.hu), or ITD Hungary, 46 Eaton Place, London SW1X 8AL, UK (telephone number: (020) 7235 8767, fax number: (020) 7235 4319, e-mail: itdlondon@btconnect.com or info@hungarytrade.co.uk, website: www.itd.hu or www.hungarytrade.co.uk).

Conferences and Conventions

Hungarian Convention Bureau,
Vérmezõ út. 4,
1012 Budapest
Telephone number: (1) 488 8642, fax number: (1) 488 8641, e-mail: hcb@hungarytourism.hu, website: www.hcb.hu).