“Following the establishment of full employment, Hungary needs imports of highly developed technologies; Hungary has an interest in the freest possible global trade, and in Chinese companies realising investments in the country”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó explained on Thursday in his speech at the One Road, One Belt cooperation trade forum in Beijing.

Mr. Szijjártó said relations between Hungary and China had never been so good, and this is given further weight by the fact that this year marks the seventieth anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, pointing out that Hungary was one of the first countries to officially recognise the People’s Republic of China in 1949.

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The Minister spoke about the fact that Hungary is a characteristic country within the Central European region; it has a small and very open economy that is significantly affected by external factors such as the external investment environment and exports.

There is a dimensional transition going on within the Hungarian economy, the era of ‘’Made in Hungary” is being replaced by an era of “Invented in Hungary”, he said. The Minister drew attention to the fact that Hungary has achieved full employment, and accordingly the most important question today is no longer whether it is capable of creating new workplaces in large numbers, but whether it is capable of increasing the market share of highly developed technologies. “For this reason, the Hungarian economy truly does need highly developed technologies to arrive in the country”, Mr, Szijjártó said.

He stressed that the era in which investments flowed from west to east in search of cheap labour has come to an end, and that the rate of changes within the global economy is today dictated at least as much by the East as the West. “For this reason, Hungary has an interest in opening towards the East, and in Chinese enterprises realising investments in Hungary and bringing in the latest technologies. In the interests of this, Hungary has created an extremely attractive environment, levying the lowest taxes from among the countries of the European Union, with corporation tax currently at only 9 percent, for example, in addition to which labour regulations are also very flexible”, he stated.

“In view of the fact that Hungary has made an extreme effort to increase the competitiveness of the economy, it has nothing to worry about and has a full interest in establishing global free trade. Accordingly, we are against all kinds of barriers, restrictions and sanctions. The freer global trade, the better for us”, Mr. Szijjártó underlined, adding: “For this reason, Hungary also supports the One Belt, One Road initiative”, which he said provides a suitable response to the challenges posed by the new economic era.

“Hungary is proud to have been the first country in the European Union to sign the memorandum of understanding on the One Belt, One Road initiative”, Mr. Szijjártó underlined. “The success of the initiative is in harmony with Hungary’s national interests and national strategy, which we call the Eastern Opening policy”, Mr. Szijjártó said.

The Minister pointed out that Hungary introduced this strategy ten years ago, when it recognised the fact that in future, growth will “come from the East”. The goal of the strategy was for Hungary to become a trade partner to China and a target for Chinese investments in Central Europe. According to Mr. Szijjártó, the success of the strategy is indicated by the fact that China is currently Hungary’s largest trade partner outside the European Union: last year, trade flow was a record 8.7 billion dollars, and investments in Hungary on the part of Chinese enterprises exceeded 4.2 billion dollars.

During the Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s visit to China, the two countries signed an agreement on removing restrictions on economic cooperation, in line with current commercial trends.