The Hungarian-Turkish Joint Economic Committee has adopted a new nine-point plan to help boost trade flow between the two countries, from around US$3bn to US$5bn.

Hungarian minister of foreign affairs and trade Péter Szijjártó has announced a raft of agreements that aim to support the initiative. This includes the Hungarian Export-Import Bank opening a ‎€255mn credit line to facilitate co-operation between Hungarian and Turkish businesses. Meanwhile, within innovation and research, the two governments will launch a HUF155mn joint fund to co-operate in the fields of IT, agriculture and industry.

Some thorny issues between the two countries that have seen trade decrease have also been addressed. Hungary has been a major exporter of sweetcorn to Turkey, but new Turkish customs regulations have resulted in restrictions in exporting ability. Hungary was also a top exporter of cattle to Turkey, but since an outbreak of Bluetongue disease last year, this has ceased. A delegation from the Turkish ministry of agriculture is currently in Hungary to address the cattle issue, while Turkey has promised a review of its new customs regulations, says Szijjártó.

Speaking after the fifth round of the Turkey-Hungary Joint Economic Commission meeting, the committee said it has also agreed to provide the logistics necessary for increasing bilateral trade flow, and it plans to immediately begin a review of the number of road freight licences available. Discussions on a truck transport train between Sopron and Istanbul are also on the table.

On the energy front, Hungary is hoping that market presence of its electricity company MVM and oil company MOL will be encouraged. MVM is participating in the development of Turkey’s electricity infrastructure, while MOL is in negotiations on introducing its products in Turkey.

The Turkish minister has also pointed out that the Hungarian government will make a ‎€5mn investment into a ‎€22.5mn project to establish a new factory for Turkish insulation materials manufacturer Ravaber in Miskolc, Hungary. Several other projects have been announced, including the construction of a water purification plant in Istanbul by Budapest Waterworks and training of Turkish professionals by Hungarians with regards to a nuclear power plant being constructed in the town of Akkuyu in southern Turkey.

In a joint press conference with Turkish minister of health Mehmet Müezzinoğlu, who led the Turkish delegation, Szijjártó also voiced support for Turkey’s application for membership of the EU and an update of the customs union.

Turkey and the EU, its biggest export region, currently trade under the Turkey-EU Customs Union, which was drafted in 1995. The agreement, which only covers industrial goods and is now over 20 years old, is due for renegotiation and updating.

Turkey first filed a membership application to the EU in 1959, and talks have been in play in some form ever since. Successful membership into the EU would see Turkey become part of the bloc’s single market.

However, relations with the EU have been strained since Turkey’s post-coup crackdown. In November, the EU voted to freeze accession talks, arguing that Turkey was violating human rights and heading towards a constitutional amendment that was not compliant with EU values and principles.