Remarks by Ambassador Colleen Bell
Remarks at the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at Alcoa Plant
September 20, 2016
Deputy Minister Szabo, Mayor Cser-Palkovics, Mr. Esik, Mr. Myers, other distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen. Jó napot kívánok!
It is a great pleasure for me to attend this ceremony, which marks yet another expansion of Alcoa’s extremely successful wheel production facility here in Szekesfehervar. As some of you may know and remember, I came here in January 2015 as my first trip outside of Budapest just after my arrival to assume the role of U.S. Ambassador to Hungary. It was in the dead of winter, with the streets in Budapest covered in snow. But I was so happy to brave the winter elements to attend the ceremony celebrating the expansion of one of the United States’ oldest and most successful companies. And now, here we are again, not even two years later, witnessing another Alcoa investment in Hungary.
Since that January, I have been honored to attend numerous such ceremonies by U.S. companies with facilities in Hungary. They bespeak the excellent business environment found by U.S. manufacturers here. In fact, the 400 plus American businesses and their affiliates doing business in Hungary combine to employ well over 90,000 Hungarians, making us the second largest investor in Hungary after Germany. If you look at the direct headcount, as well as the secondary and tertiary employment generated by Alcoa alone, this company provides employment to some five to six thousand people here.
But it’s not only about making products, making money, and employment. Alcoa is also a leader in corporate responsibility, which is near and dear to my heart, and is something in which American companies excel. Over the last 20 years, Alcoa has invested 9.5 million dollars in various community initiatives focusing on education and environmental sustainability. In addition, its employees have volunteered over 2,500 hours of service to the community. So, I want to congratulate Alcoa on its investments in Hungary and in this city, and for its fine track record of corporate responsibility. I look forward to hearing about more such investments in the future. Thank you for the invitation today. Köszönöm szépen!