Hungary and China will sign agreements related to the refurbishment of the Budapest Belgrade railway line today as part of the China-Eastern-Central-Europe summit, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó told Hungarian journalists on Saturday in Riga.

The Minister highlighted: relations between Hungary and China have reached yet another milestone as while Hungary has been committed to further developing cooperation between China and Central-Europe also to date, they are signing agreements today which will result in the implementation of the first crossborder Central-European project financed by China, with the participation of China. Cooperation with China is particularly important for Central-Europe because it has always been a strategic disadvantage for the region that the north-southerly infrastructure is less developed than the east-westerly, he explained.

Mr Szijjártó highlighted: this is a strategic disadvantage for Europe, and the EU has to date been unable to raise development funds which would have enabled the nations of Central-Europe to remedy this situation. Consequently, cooperation with China is essential for the region, given that the Asian country is able to assist with these projects by virtue of its financial strength and technological standards, he pointed out.

He said: they will sign the agreement today in which the Hungarian railway company MÁV will engage the Chinese-Hungarian joint venture which will be responsible for the implementation of the modernisation of the Budapest-Belgrade railway line. This joint venture was established by Hungarian and Chinese railway companies, and by virtue of the fact that MÁV engages this company, they will also meet the relevant EU requirements and legal rules. As a result, during the course of the EU investigation currently in progress, they will be able to give the relevant EU institutions the appropriate answers, he said.

The Foreign Minister also mentioned that they will sign the agreement on the commencement of the financing negotiations as well. They have succeeded in agreeing with the Chinese party that the terms and conditions of the credit facility to be provided for the purposes of the project will be closely linked to the percentage of the involvement of Hungarian businesses as the goal is to enable Hungarian businesses in the largest possible numbers to participate in the project, with a view to maximising its benefits to the national economy, he said.

Mr Szijjártó pointed out: they will further sign an agreement regarding the framework for bringing Chinese investments to Hungary. It is China’s economic policy objective to relocate production capacity to Europe in order to increase the European market share of Chinese businesses, he said. He added: so far Chinese investments worth USD 3.7 billion have arrived in Hungary, primarily in the production sector, and further investments have been recently brought to Hungary in the automobile industry. The framework to be laid down in the agreement will guarantee that Hungary will continue to remain one of the most important players in China’s economic expansion in Europe.

The Minister highlighted that, by Central-European standards, Hungarian exports to China were the highest in the region last year which demonstrates that Hungarian businesses, together with the network of foreign trade institutions, continue to be successful on the Chinese market. In line with the Chinese Premier’s promise, Hungary has the most food industry export licences to China today, and it is therefore hardly a surprise that our food industry exports to China increased by 72 per cent in the first eight months of the year, he said.

(Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade/MTI)