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Hungary urges extended cooperation with China

The time has come for extending cooperation between China and the East-Central European region not only in the financial sector and industry, but also in healthcare, for which Hungary is ready to become the engine, Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjén said on Monday, according to Hungarian government website kormany.hu.

Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjén at the conference in Budapest. (Photo: Gergely Botár/kormany.hu)

Hungary is committed to cooperation with China, and wishes to become the engine of cooperation in healthcare between China and the East-Central European region, Semjén stressed at a conference of health ministers of East-Central European countries and China held in Budapest.

Semjén said the East-Central European countries, as members of the European Union, are among the most competitive, and constitute one of the most prosperous regions in the world in terms of economic growth, while China is one of the largest economies in the world, kormany.hu reported.

The deputy prime minister said he sees China as being open to Central Europe, and this is embodied in Chinaʼs policy of One Belt, One Road, while Hungary, similar to other Central European countries, has announced its policy of Eastern Opening (Keleti Nyitás), the purpose of which is to direct a significant proportion of Chinese investments intended for Europe to Hungary and the region, the official government website reported.

Minister of Human Capacities Zoltán Balog said the future lies in cooperation between East and West, and the future of the world cannot be conceived without China. He added that he believes that success in the 21st century will come to those who find cooperation both traditionally and on new paths. 

Li Bin, China’s Minister of Health and Family Planning, said that the Chinese government attributes great significance to all institutional cooperation schemes with East-Central Europe. Liu Yandong, Vice Premier of the State Council, pointed out that it is important that Chinese medicine is emerging in the region not only as a healthcare link, but also as a cultural one.

Healthcare letter of intent

Meanwhile, state news wire MTI reported Tuesday that Minister for National Economy Mihály Varga and his Chinese counterpart would sign a letter of intent on healthcare industry cooperation between Hungary and China.

Agreements on cooperation between universities and companies, including specific investment projects, were also set to be signed on Tuesday, ministry state secretary István Lepsényi said on public television channel M1, MTI reported.

Lepsényi was reported as saying that Hungary and China would be able to cooperate in the manufacturing of pharmaceuticals and medical equipment, as well as in genetics and biotechnology, because of similarities in the market structures of the two countries.

The pharmaceutical and healthcare industries require big investments, Lepsényi said, adding that half of R&D investments in Hungary take place in pharmaceuticals manufacturing. He added that the healthcare industry accounts for nearly 10% of Hungaryʼs GDP, and that more than 200 Hungarian enterprises are engaged in the production of medical equipment, which is responsible for 3% of Hungaryʼs exports.