To the East: Three big deals signed with Chinese interests

Pharma

The Eastward-facing agenda for the Hungarian import/export industry touted by Foreign Trade Secretary Péter Szijjártó and the current administration got a huge boost yesterday in announcing three deals designed to further enhance trade relations with China.

First up came word from Switzerland, where, at the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, National Bank of Hungary (MNB) managing director Daniel Palotai announced a three-year currency-swap agreement worth CNY 10 billion (approximately HUF 37 billion) between MNB and the People’s Bank of China in a bid to increase trade and investment between the two nations. 

Palotai explained the advantage to Hungarian companies, i.e. that they “will benefit from being able to conduct business directly with Chinese firms in yuan [thus reducing] foreign-currency risks.” Reportedly, the agreement is the first between a European central bank and China.

Another three-year contract – with an option for a fourth – was inked yesterday between the state-owned Hungarian Electricity Works (MVM) and the Bank of China. Worth €300 million, the agreement includes a €200 million loan for general corporate-finance purposes.

Speaking at the Budapest signing of the agreement, Szíjjártó effusively billed the deal as “a major economic success, as one of the most vigorous Hungarian companies can take new steps towards regional empowerment through Chinese sources.” Likewise, MVM chairman/CEO Csaba Baji called the contract “an important milestone in terms of Hungarian-Chinese business relations.”

Finally, Huawei Technologies Hungary’s grand opening of a new 30,000-square meter logistics center might have been impressive enough already, even without a few lofty promises from managing director Yunsong Bin.

According to Bin, not only will employment at the center double to 3,000 employees within two years, but that “All products destined for Europe will be made in Hungary by 2015 or will pass through the Biatorbágy logistics hub” in an effort to make the country Huawei’s main thoroughfare to the European Union.

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