“It is Hungary’s realistic goal for Central Europe to be China’s largest export partner and to also occupy a leading role with regard to Chinese investments destined for Central Europe”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó declared on Sunday in Budapest.

At a press conference at Budapest’s Ferenc Liszt International Airport prior to the arrival of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, Mr. Szijjártó told reporters: “Hungary has so far managed to be successful with regard to the former; according to figures for the first eight months of the year Hungary has succeeded in increasing its exports to China by 26 percent, following a 25 percent increase last year”. “The value of Chinese investments in Hungary now exceeds 4.1 billion dollars”, he added.

The Minister told reporters that the upcoming Central and Eastern European Countries and China (China-CEEC 16+1) Summit will begin in Budapest on Monday.


“The 16 countries that represent the European half of the summit have always believed that one must remain open in the interests of finding one’s own advantages within the world’s ongoing changes”, Mr. Szijjártó said.

“In this region we have always regarded the fact that China is playing a leading role in the new world order as an opportunity, not as a threat”, he said.

According to Mr. Szijjártó, a business forum will be held on Monday with the participation of over 1000 businesspeople, including 330 form China, 340 from the Central European region and around 300 Hungarian businesses. 23 inter-enterprise agreements will be concluded following the forum.


The Chinese Premier and the Hungarian Prime Minister will hold official talks on Tuesday afternoon, following which they will sign 11 “specifically” Hungarian-Chinese agreements.

According to Mr. Szijjártó, in addition to the Chinese Premier, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán will be holding talks with six Prime Ministers during the course of the next two days. 16 Prime Ministers, including the Hungarian Prime Minister, will be in Budapest simultaneously, he noted.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade reported on the fact that “Act two” of the Central European investment fund established by China will soon be launched. “Once again, Hungary’s Eximbank is contributing 70 million dollars, in exchange for which at least 140 million dollars in investments must be realised in Hungary. The fund will be managing one billion dollars”, he explained.


“An agreement will be concluded between the export-import banks of Hungary and China with relation to the fact that China’s Eximbank will be providing a 500 million dollar credit line to Hungary’s Eximbank to facilitate the development of its loan activities. China’s Eximbank will also be establishing a 217 million dollar credit line for the further development of BorsodChem. In addition, the Chinese Development Bank will be providing a credit line of 20 million euros to Komárom-based bus manufacturer BYD to enable the company’s further development. According to plans, an agreement will also be signed concerning the act that Hungarian maize and honey exports to China may also begin. Furthermore, an agreement will also be concluded between one of China’s most prestigious institutions of higher education, Fudan University, and the Neumann János University on the launching of a joint MBA programme beginning in 2019”, the Minister told reporters.

Mr. Szijjártó also told the press that the tender for the modernisation of the Hungarian stretch of the railway line connecting Budapest with the Serbian capital Belgrade will be published on Monday.

The Ministry for National Economy has closed the negotiations on the conditions of the related loan, according to which China’s Eximbank will be providing Hungary with a 20-year loan at an interest rate of 2.5 percent, which may be used to realise the project up to a sum of 86 percent of the total value of the investment, he explained.


The tender process will last between six and twelve months, followed by a two-year planning and permitting stage, meaning construction itself should begin in late 2020. The tender itself will be published on the Hungary Railways (MÁV) website on Monday.

The Minister explained that experts estimate the cost of the Hungarian section of the railway line at around 550 billion forints (EUR 1.76bn). “As a result of the project, the Budapest-Belgrade railways line will provide the most competitive alternative for Chinese goods compared to other railway lines”, he noted.

In reply to a question, the Minister declared: “The project will open up major business opportunities for the Hungarian construction industry. The fastest route from Southern Europe to Western Europe will pass through Hungary”.