Marton Nagy - Photo:

Economy Minister: Hungary must strengthen ties with China

Hungary must strengthen its ties with China if the country is to improve its competitiveness, Marton Nagy, the national economy minister, said in Budapest at Thursday's session of the Thematic Forum on China-Hungary Belt and Road Pragmatic Cooperation.

Nagy said Hungary had all the resources to become a regional logistics hub for Chinese goods given its superb geographical location, advanced domestic infrastructure and a competitive investor environment.

Today, jointly financed road, railway and logistics infrastructural developments enjoy priority in bilateral cooperation, Nagy said, adding that digitalisation may also become an important area of Hungarian-Chinese relations. The government supports boosting cooperation between Hungary’s 4iG and China’s Huawei.

Nagy also welcomed the presence of China’s biggest banks, the Bank of China, China Construction Bank and the China Development Bank in Hungary, noting that ICBC could also soon enter the Hungarian market.

He said the government wants more domestic projects added to the list of co-financed investments. The Budapest-Belgrade railway line is scheduled to be completed by next summer, and he mentioned five logistics, railway and charging network developments of which the details would be announced soon. Liu Bu, ministerial counselor of the Chinese embassy in Budapest, welcomed the fact that China’s Road and Belt has been linked with Hungary’s Eastern opening. He said strengthening relations and shared successes were important to both countries.

Hungary is now a distribution hub for Chinese goods in Europe and Hungarian goods are also reaching the Chinese market in growing volumes, he said. Cooperation is also helped by expanding transport links and the visa exemption announced in March, which covers Hungary in addition to Austria, Belgium, Ireland, Luxembourg and Switzerland, he added. Nagy emphasised that Hungary’s government rejects protectionist efforts to exclude Chinese goods from the European market, noting that China is now the source of the highest amount of FDI relating to electromobility in Hungary and the country’s 9th trade partner, accounting for 4 percent of Hungary’s foreign trade.

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