Hungary has become the gateway to Europe for Chinese companies; and it is highly likely that, after last year’s record, Hungarian exports to China reach a new record this year, State Secretary of the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said on Friday at a seminar dedicated to the Government’s ‘Opening to the East’ Policy.

At the seminar, organized by Századvég Foundation, its economic research company, and the publisher of business daily Napi Gazdaság, the State Secretary underlined: the goal of the Hungarian Government is, under the new foreign trade policy introduced in 2010, to make sure that one third of Hungarian export go outside the European Union by 2018 (currently 21 percent).

And one of the main pillars of this policy is the strengthening of strategic cooperation with China.

DownloadPhoto: Márton Kovács

Former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of China, Tang Jiaxuan said at the seminar that China welcomes the idea of constructing a new ‘silk road’ and would be glad to cooperate with countries in Central and Eastern Europe, including Hungary.

State Secretary Szijjártó explained that Hungary, as an open economy heavily dependent on exports, introduced a new foreign economic policy to overcome the challenges posed by the global economic crisis. The aim of the new policy is to build tight strategic cooperation with fast-growing Eastern partners, but also maintain good relations with earlier export partners and Western European markets. Providing more export opportunities to Hungarian SMEs is also a key element of this policy.

He said that the aim of the Government is to help Chinese companies use Hungary as their base of regional operation in Europe and become the main transit road for Chinese goods towards Europe. The fact that Hungarian export to China hit a new record last year, reaching USD 2 billion, and H1 2014 figures indicate a further increase by 11 percent, gives ground for hope.

DownloadPhoto: Márton Kovács

The State Secretary said that Hungary has become the gateway to Europe, as evidenced by the fact that several large Chinese companies made significant investments in Hungary: Wanhua Group, the largest Chinese investor in Hungary, acquired Borsodchem and created the world’s third largest isocyanate plant; the world’s largest mobile handset manufacturer ZTE is to establish its European handset repair centre in Hungary next year; RZBC recently announced to build a HUF 30 billion citric acid plant in Kazincbarcika; telecommunications equipment manufacturer Huawei is going to manage and serve all its European exports activities from Hungary, starting from 2015.

The State Secretary added that most Chinese goods reach Hungary by train and/or Southern European ports. Therefore China is a potential partner in two major infrastructural developments in Hungary: the renovation of railroads to Belgrade and the construction of a railroad ring (V0) around Budapest capital.

State Secretary Szijjártó concluded his speech by saying that Chinese-Hungarian relations are currently at their best since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries 65 years ago.

(Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade)