- 21 Jan 2016 8:00 AM
Among the impediments Colleen Bell mentioned corruption which she called a serious problem in the central and eastern European region.
The US will continue to cooperate with the Hungarian government, civil organisations and businesses to promote transparency, as well as to further strengthen economic relations, she told the AmCham lunch.
Since January last year when she took office as ambassador in Hungary, several US firms operating in Hungary have announced further investments in the country, Bell said, adding that she has also discussed possibilities, as well as challenges in Hungary with the leaders of US firms.
In connection with the free trade pact TTIP being negotiated between the US and the EU, the ambassador said that “there are stumbling blocks, but hurdles aside ... these kinds of trade treaties have proven a huge economic development boon around the world.”
Bell cited Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó as saying on multiple occasions that TTIP will create 20,000 to 30,000 new jobs in Hungary. She said that Washington highly appreciates the support by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and Szijjártó for the matter.
Addressing the event, the Hungarian ambassador to Washington, DC, said that bilateral economic ties have never been this good before.
Réka Szemerkényi noted that these ties had further strengthened since she took office a year ago, pointing out the opening of a Hungarian consulategeneral in Chicago.
The United States is the largest non- European investor in Hungary with capital investments totalling now 9 billion dollars, she said.
There are over 1,700 US firms in Hungary employing around 90,000 people, Szemerkényi said, adding that the Hungarian government has so far concluded strategic partnership agreements with ten US companies.
Hungarian-US relations are in general good and the discourse between the two countries has significantly improved, she said.
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MTI photo: Soós Lajos