Canada and Hungary enjoy close bilateral relations. Ties date to waves of immigration in the late 19th century. Canada is well known in Hungary as a refuge for those who fled after the 1956 Revolution. In 2010, the Canadian Government designated the arrival of the refugees as a ‘National Historic Event’, largely for the way in which it helped to shape Canadian immigration policy. Canada’s early and strong support for NATO enlargement and the fact that Canada was the first Alliance member to ratify Hungarian accession in 1999 were also noted and appreciated. Today, over 315,000 people residing in Canada claim Hungarian descent. They make up an important ethnic community, and contribute to Canada's national diversity.
In Hungary, Canada is represented by the Embassy of Canada in Budapest. Hungary is represented in Canada by an Embassy in Ottawa, and has honorary consuls in Calgary, Edmonton, Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, and Winnipeg.
The Governor General of Canada made a State Visit to Hungary in November 2008, paying visits to government officials as well as local artistic, cultural and youth groups. Parliament to parliament visits occur frequently and the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration visited Hungary in June 2009 and again in October 2012.
The Canadian community in Hungary plays an active role in the life of Budapest and other towns. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Hungary, established in 1993, is actively involved in the organization of business-related and social events.
A variety of Canada-related subjects are taught at academic institutions throughout the country; certain universities also host active Canadian Studies centres with a special curriculum and a collection of Canadian books. Involved scholars and students work closely with the Central-European Association of Canadian Studies encompassing more than nine countries. Canadian guest artists mostly in the field of music and modern dance regularly visit Hungary and are welcomed by the public. A number of Canadian authors (mainly contemporary) have been translated into Hungarian and enjoy popularity.
Hungary’s membership in NATO has led to close cooperation with Canada. Hungary ran a provincial reconstruction team (PRT) in Baghlan Province, Afghanistan, between October 2006 and March 2013. Canadian funds (up to C$115,000s) supported Hungarian development projects in northern Afghanistan. Canada and Hungary have cooperated on the organization of the latter’s PRT mission and government officials and academics have been active in partnering with Canada’s Embassy in Budapest to engage in outreach efforts and share best practices.
Many large Canadian investors are present in Hungary, including Westcast Hungary Zrt, Linamar Hungary, Bombardier MAV International and Winstar Magyarország Kft.
Two-way merchandise trade between Canada and Hungary totaled $634.4 million in 2012, with Canadian exports at $213.0 million and imports at $421.4 million. The main exports to Hungary consisted of electrical machinery, followed by machinery, vehicles, optical and medical equipment and plastics.
Canada’s main imports from Hungary were machinery, followed by pharmaceutical products, electrical machinery, vehicles, and optical and medical equipment.
Cumulative Canadian direct investment abroad (CDIA) into Hungary was valued at $13.7 billion at the end of 2012, ranking Hungary as the 9th largest recipient of CDIA worldwide. Statistics Canada does not divulge the amount of Hungarian direct investment in Canada due to confidentiality.
Last updated: February 2014
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