ST PETERSBURG, March 22. /TASS/. Turnover of Hungarian companies fell by $4.5 bln in two years because of the Western sanctions against Russia, Hungary’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Szijjarto said at the meeting with governor of St. Petersburg Georgy Poltavchanko, who is now on an official visit in Budapest.
"The minister stressed that the EU imposed sanctions against Russia, and Russia responded with an economic embargo. As a result, the trade turnover between Russia and the EU significantly decreased over the past two years, the Hungarian companies lost about $ 4.5 billion in their turnover," a spokesman with St. Petersburg administration told TASS.
Hungary plans to reduce the damage caused by the sanctions by boosting contacts between the regions of the two countries. The relations with St. Petersburg had already been established and the bilateral trade turnover was $73.2 million in 2015, according to the city administration.
According to Szijjarto, there are "a lot of opportunities" for relations with St. Petersburg, in particular in such sectors as automotive industry, water resources management, exchange of technologies in agriculture and food industry, and urban management. A special attention will be paid to environmental partnership between Budapest and St. Petersburg.
Georgy Poltavchenko and Peter Szijjarto signed the Agreement on Cooperation between the Government of St. Petersburg and the Ministry of Foreign Economic Relations and Foreign Affairs of Hungary.
"It could be an interesting collaboration in food production, technology transfer. The agricultural sector in Hungary has accumulated interesting technologies, and today they are used in a number of Russian regions. They can and should be used in St. Petersburg and the entire (Russia’s) Northwest," - Poltavchenko said.
Poltavchenko and Szijjarto also discussed tourism cooperation. In 2015, the number of tourists flow from Russia to Hungary sharply decreased. However the flow of tourists from St. Petersburg to Hungary increased, the Hungarian Ministry reported. According to Poltavchenko, residents of St. Petersburg thoroughly explored tourism opportunities in Hungary.
"Today we need to think about direct communication between Budapest and St. Petersburg", the governor noted, without specifying details.