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Minister: Opening to the East policy working

Chinese companies have chosen Hungary as their top investment destination in Central Europe, Peter Szijjarto, the minister of foreign affairs and trade, said on Friday, showing that the government's strategy of opening up to the East is bearing fruit.

The minister spoke at a ceremony at Wanhua-owned BorsodChem’s plant in Berente, in north-eastern Hungary, after a series of investment worth 160 billion forints (EUR 430m) including a nitrobenzene plant with an annual capacity of 240,000 tones, an aniline plant with a capacity of 200,000 tonnes, and a concentrated nitric acid plant with a capacity of 1,000 tonnes per year which received 1.4 billion forints in state support.

He said the role of China “which now has the world’s second largest economy is … vitally important to the world’s economy,” according to a ministry statement quoting Szijjarto.

After record investments from China in 2020, this year, too, most of Hungary’s investments will be Chinese, he said, adding that bilateral trade also set a record of 13 billion US dollars last year.

Szijjarto referred to “a hypocritical debate in Europe, especially in its western half” concerning the separation of Chinese and European economies. Chinese investments, which are usually high-tech and high value-added, bring lots of jobs to Hungary, he said, adding that Western European countries “are in this case usually our competitors”.

Hungary has shown that “civilised cooperation between East and West is indeed possible” and provides an opportunity rather than a “risk or a threat”.

BorsodChem’s plants are expanding while also verifiably reducing their harmful emissions, he said, calling this among Hungary’s “most important achievements of recent years”. Hungary is one of 21 countries in the world that increased economic performance while reducing their emissions, he added.

Output of the country’s chemical industry grew by 33 percent last year, crossing the “dream” 10 billion forint threshold, he said.

Cooperation between Wanhua and Hungary “is another clear sign” that Hungary-China ties “are developing dynamically”, he said.

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