The tender for the refurbishment of the Budapest-Belgrade railway line has been closed successfully; the winner, a Chinese-Hungarian consortium, has been announced; the quoted price is acceptable.

“The works contract will be signed on 25 May and will come into effect once all the details have been successfully negotiated with relation to the loan agreement between China’s EximBank and the Hungarian Government, which is expected to occur before mid-summer. The project is expected to be fully completed within five years following the coming into force of the contract”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó told reporters in Beijing on Thursday. “According to plan, construction work on the railway line will begin at the end of this year or early in 2020”, he added.

“With the renovation of the railway line connecting Budapest and Belgrade, Hungary will be offering the fastest transport route for Chinese goods between Southeastern and Western Europe”, the Minister highlighted.

Mr. Szijjártó also spoke about the fact that as an export-orientated country with an open economy, it is in Hungary’s fundamental interests for world trade to be as free as possible. “In view of the fact that China is now perhaps the strongest player in global trade, Hungarian-Chinese relations are extremely important from the perspective of the performance of the Hungarian economy”, he stated.

“This is one of the reasons why the agreement, thanks to which an opportunity will become available for the export of Hungarian chicken and turkey to China, is so important”, he continued, pointing out that in recent years the healthcare problems caused by bird flu and swine fever have caused major problems, as a result of which Hungarian food industry exports have fallen dramatically. “This agreement could balance this reduction”, he indicated. “An important agreement has also been concluded regarding the fact that the Chinese and Hungarian governments will be setting up a joint working group in the interests of establishing a restriction-free trade environment”, Mr. Szijjártó told the press.

“An agreement was also signed on cooperation between the two countries within the field of digital development projects, in view of the fact that Chinese enterprises have gained a leading role within the fields of artificial intelligence, digitalisation and modern internet applications”, he said.

In closing, Mr. Szijjártó highlighted the fact that trade relations between China and Europe are expanding increasingly dynamically: last year, EU member states realised a total of 604 billion euros in trade with China, which wants to continuously increase its commercial activities aimed at Europe. On Thursday, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, who is in Beijing as part of the delegation led by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, held talks with, amongst others, the Chinese Minister of Trade, took part in a meeting with the Chinese President and Prime Minister, and presented an award to a long-serving interpreter at Hungary’s embassy in Beijing.

(MTI /