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Hungary could be end of new "silk road", says business association chief

Hungary could be the end of the modern-day "silk road", Sándor Demján, who heads business association VOSz, said at a Hungarian-Chinese business conference in Budapest on Wednesday.

Chinese products could be brought to the European Union via Hungary economically and quickly, thanks to the country's geographical position and its logistics infrastructure, Demján said. It would even make sense to assemble some products in Hungary, he added.

The Hungarian government is using every tool available to support Hungarian-Chinese cooperation, he said at the conference organised by VOSz.

Chinese and Hungarian economic and trade relations are about to undergo significant development, China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) vice chairman Zhang Wei told the conference. Bilateral trade between China and Hungary reached USD 8.72 billion in 2010, up 28% from the previous year, and Chinese companies have invested USD 2.5 billion in Hungary, he added.

Chinese companies employ about 10,000 people in Hungary, said Chinese ambassador to Hungary Gao Jian. Investments, not just exports, play a big role in Chinese trade, he added.

Hungarian exports to China were worth USD 1.53 billion in 2010, up 26% from the previous year, data from the National Economy Ministry show. Exports from China were up 25% at USD 6.18 billion.