“It is in Hungary’s strategic interests to continue to be China’s number one economic, trade and investment partner within the Central European region”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó declared in New York.

Mr. Szijjártó met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on the sidelines of the high-level General Debate of the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly, which began on Tuesday.

He pointed out that over 4 billion dollars in Chinese investment has arrived in Hungary, explaining that in view of the fact that these Chinese enterprises represent a particularly high level of technology, these investments contribute significantly to enabling the Hungarian economy to move forward into the next phase of its development, which is based on research and development and an increasing level of technology.

The Minister announced that the parties had agreed on the launching of a new direct air passenger route: following the existing Budapest-Peking route, passengers and freight will be able to travel directly between Budapest and Shanghai from next summer. Mr. Szijjártó also told reporters that Hungarian poultry exports to China will also begin again. China is becoming an increasingly important market for Hungarian agricultural products. Poultry exports were forced to stop because of international regulations and the bird flu epidemic, but the Chinese authorities have since officially recognised that Hungary is free of the avian flu virus. The recommencement of exports is an opportunity worth hundreds of millions of dollars for the Hungarian poultry industry.

Mr. Szijjártó also announced that the ITU Telecom World expo will once again be held in Hungary next year. He stressed the importance of cooperation between the two countries within this field, and announced that Hungary is supporting the re-election of the International Telecommunications Union’s Chinese Secretary-General. The Minister highlighted the fact that China continues to view Hungary as its primary investment destination in Central Europe.

With relation to joint development projects, he spoke about the modernisation of the Budapest-Belgrade railway line. As he explained, two consortia are still in competition for the work contract, and both are Chinese-Hungarian joint ventures. Price and technical negotiations are still ongoing, but will come to a close in the first week of October, and a contract will be signed with the winning applicant before the end of this year to assure that the project is completed by 2023.

Mr. Szijjártó also announced that, in addition to Germany and Great Britain, Hungary will be one of the guests of honour at the China International Import Expo, which will be held for the very first time in Shanghai in November of this year. This is a major opportunity for Hungarian enterprises to showcase themselves in China.

With relation to the UN high-level General Debate, which began on Tuesday, the Minister explained that according to Hungarian expectations important topics of discussion will include the issue of new security challenges, including illegal migration and the persecution of religious minorities. A review of regional conflicts is also expected, he added, highlighting the fact that overall these are not having a positive effect on global security.