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Baolong to set up HUF 5 billion European base in Hungary

Chinese automotive industry supplier Baolong will build a 5 billion forint (EUR 14.1m) plant to make parts for electric and smart vehicles in Szigetszentmiklos, near Budapest, Peter Szijjarto, the minister of foreign affairs and trade, said on Thursday.

The government is supporting the greenfield investment, which will create 35 new jobs, with a 1.5 billion forint grant, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade cited Szijjarto as saying.

Baolong is bringing its European base for electromobility strategy to Hungary, Szijjarto said, adding that the investment would give new momentum to Hungarian-Chinese economic cooperation.

The minister said the auto industry, which he described as the backbone of the Hungarian economy, was undergoing revolutionary change.

“This is the most significant and most impactful process taking place in the global economy today,” Szijjarto said, adding that the countries that were successful in embracing it would see long-term economic growth and gain a long-term competitive advantage.

“We can say without any exaggeration that Hungary is the champion of this transition,” he said, arguing that Hungary was the world’s fifth biggest exporter of electric vehicle batteries.

Szijjarto said it was also clear that Eastern companies were becoming increasingly bigger players, adding that their decisions on where to invest in Europe would have a fundamental impact on economic competition on the continent.

He said Hungary was benefitting greatly from its economic and political cooperation with China. Bilateral trade turnover exceeded 11 billion dollars last year, up 11 percent from 2020, he said.

He slammed Europe’s “hypocrisy” concerning economic ties with China, arguing that while the more powerful European countries were criticising the smaller ones for their relations with China, “they are the ones making the biggest deals”.

“We will continue to favour pragmatic relations with China based on mutual respect,” Szijjarto said. “We will leave hypocrisy to those who are big enough to let their words contradict their actions.”

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