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Szijjarto: Hungary working to avoid EU-China trade war

While holding the rotating presidency of the European Union, Hungary will continue to work to avoid a trade war between the bloc and China as that would severely damage the EU, the foreign minister said in Budapest on Sunday, at talks with Robin Zeng, the founding chairman of Chinese battery maker CATL.
8. July 2024 6:52

According to a ministry statement, Peter Szijjarto called CATL one of the most important players in the technological revolution of the global car industry.

The number of electric vehicles is growing worldwide, slowly pushing out traditional engines, he said.

“Hungary has bet on the right horse when we decided to turn the country into a cooperation hub between eastern and western car manufacturers,” he said, noting the facilities set up by German, Chinese and South Korean manufacturers.

CATL has a great role in the process, with the first unit of its new plant inaugurated at the end of June, in a 40,000 sqm building near Debrecen, in eastern Hungary. The development has also fostered large infrastructural developments, Szijjarto said.

Trial runs are expected to start in early 2025, he added.

Szijjarto also touched on plans to impose EU tariffs on the Chinese car industry. “This is a very bad idea from a European standpoint. Those tariffs would seriously damage the European economy. We sincerely hope that they will not be introduced in the end.”

While “Brussels bureaucrats” had pointed to defending the interests of European car manufacturers, those manufacturers themselves said the tariffs would harm them too, Szijjarto said.

“If the European Commission imposes tariffs on Chinese products, then China will take similar measures against European products, which would be extremely harmful for the entire European economy. We continue to believe in European-Asian including European-Chinese cooperation based on mutual respect aiming for mutual benefits, rather than tariffs, restrictions and sanctions,” Szijjarto said.

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