Remarks at the Opening of the Alcoa Production Line

Ribbon-cutting ceremony - on Ambassador Bell’s left is Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó (Embassy photo by Attila Németh)
Ribbon-cutting ceremony – on Ambassador Bell’s left is Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó

Minister Szijjártó, Dr. Forgó, Mr. Randall, Mayor Cser-Palkovics, distinguished guests.

It is a real pleasure for me to be here to inaugurate the expansion of the Hungarian facility of one of America’s most storied companies: Alcoa.  It’s astounding to think that this company has been producing high-quality aluminum and light metal products for 125 years!  I know that, in Hungary, with over 1000 years of history, 125 years is not a long time.  But for us in the United States, that represents over half the history of our nation!

Alcoa and its products are known and used the world over.  But it’s not enough just to produce high quality products. These days, companies must be excellent stewards of the environment and offer their workers a safe, comfortable place to work as well.  Companies have a responsibility to be good corporate citizens in the communities in which they operate. Here again, Alcoa excels.  For instance, as of 2014, the Alcoa Foundation has given $9 million to fund some 450 charitable projects around Hungary.  And they have garnered numerous awards for corporate social responsibility, such as the Healthiest Workplace Award in 2011, Best Workplace for Women in 2008, and 1st place in the “Green City” category for the City of Tomorrow Award in 2013.  Congratulations on such a great history, your activities in Hungary, and of course, on this expansion in Szekesfehervar.

Investments such as this are a testament to the robust commercial relationship between Hungary and the United States.  American companies are making substantial contributions to the Hungarian economy.    Alcoa alone provides a livelihood to over 5,000 Hungarians.  Alcoa uses Hungarian suppliers for Alcoa operations world-wide. Alcoa’s corporate investment results in $40 million annually in revenue for the Hungarian government budget.   If you multiply this example by the hundreds of U.S. companies located in Hungary, the impact is truly spectacular.

As with any successful long-term commitment, both sides must find that they are better off.  There must be mutual prosperity for there to be sustainability.  Alcoa’s operations are an example of American investors and their Hungarian employees and partners working together to achieve what neither could do alone.

I intend to work diligently during my tenure as U.S. Ambassador to Hungary to expand opportunities for American and Hungarian businesses to work together, leading to increasing economic prosperity for both our nations.

Thank you very much for inviting me to this event.  Köszönöm szépen!