Saudi Arabia and Hungary on Monday inked an agreement for the avoidance of double taxation and prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income and capital, and the accompanying protocol following the signing of 16 accords at the opening ceremony of the 2nd Hungarian-Arab Business Forum 2014 (HABF) here on Sunday.
The three-day event under the aegis of Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz, second deputy prime minister, adviser and special envoy of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah was attended by around 500 top Arab and Hungarian officials and entrepreneurs.
The signing was held at the office of Prince Muqrin during an official visit of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who was leading a business delegation from his country.
The agreement was signed by Minister of Finance Ibrahim Al-Assaf from the Saudi side and Hungarian Minister for National Economy Mihaly Varga.
A total of 17 accords were concluded at the opening of the event, including science and technology cooperation between King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) and the Hungarian National Innovation Office.
Another MoU was signed between the Hungarian Investment and Trade Authority (HITA) and the General Union of Chambers of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture for Arab Countries (GUCCIAAC).
In his speech, Prince Muqrin said King Abdullah was keen on establishing the structure of industrial, agricultural and integrated commerce at the local level to diversify the Kingdom’s sources of revenue for its citizens.
He said such forums provide an opportunity to deepen relations and introduce economic opportunities and the existing facilities available to investors in various areas, making it easier to start an effective partnership on the ground.
The Hungarian Prime Minister said that although Hungary is not rich in natural resources, it has a wealth of expertise, creative minds and an innovative culture. This has made Hungary a hub for scientific research, science and technology that can be exploited in the Arab world, he added.
The minister invited Arabs to visit Hungary to identify potential investment opportunities there noting the promising economic investments and partnership. He added that Hungarian industrial production accounts for 23 percent of the components of the Hungarian economy. It is characterized by its geographical location and labor, as well as lower taxes compared to other countries in Europe.
Adnan Kassar, head of GUCCIAAC, called on Hungarian companies to take advantage of investment opportunities in the Arab markets through a free trade zone.
According to Council of Saudi Chambers (CSC) Chairman Abdullah Al-Mobty, 67 percent of hotel rooms in Budapest the capital, are owned by Arab investors, which indicates the growing business partnership between the Arabs and Hungary.
He stated that the Arab market is the largest market for Hungarian products in the Middle East and Saudi Arabia is at the forefront in terms of trade relations between Hungary and the Arab states, where the value of trade between the two countries has increased by 50 percent during the past four years.
According to the CSC, the Hungarian side will present investment projects, including investment opportunities and incentives to overseas investors in Hungary in various economic fields.
The conference aims to enhance the prospects for economic cooperation between the Arab countries and Hungary and ways of reviving partnerships between them. It will also address the major challenges that hinder the development of economic relations besides shedding light on ways of improving the rapport between them to the level of political relations.