After three-day Shanghai visit, Szijjártó hopes for closer ties with China

Int’l Relations

Foreign Trade State Secretary Péter Szijjártó on Tuesday said he held talks with local government officials and managers of big companies in Shanghai during a three-day visit to China.

Speaking by telephone, Szijjártó said he spoke at the opening of an international investment conference in Shanghai and participated at a panel discussion with deputy governor of Iowa Kim Reynolds and managers of large Chinese companies.

Szijjártó, who is also government commissioner for Chinese-Hungarian trade relations, visited the recently opened Shanghai free trade zone. He said the zone could play an important part in the development of Hungarian-Chinese economic cooperation, considering that 40% of Hungarian-Chinese trade passes through Shanghai.

During his talks with the deputy general secretary of the Shanghai municipality, who is also deputy-CEO of the managing committee of the Shanghai free-trade zone, Szijjártó said Hungary managed to achieve a surplus in Hungarian-Shanghai trade for the first time in 2012, and, in order to continue this trend, Hungary “strives for close cooperation in the area of water management developments”.

Szijjártó also conducted talks with the general director of the Shanghai Tourism Office Yang Ching-sung. The number of Chinese tourists visiting Hungary is growing by 30% to 40% per year, with spa tourism, cultural, sports and wine tourism having special importance. Hungary wants to draw more visitors from China with complex programs involving its thermal spas and with speedy administration.

Hungary is the second most popular destination in the region for visitors from China. The number of Chinese tourists who came to Hungary climbed 23.5% last year.

Szijjártó said tourism would be a focus of the China-CEE summit to be held in Bucharest in mid-November.

Szijjártó met with the head of Hungary-based pharmaceutical company Richter Gedeon’s Shanghai office, András Gizur, and with the deputy head of Chinese telecommunications equipment maker Huawei, Chang Chun-hsiung.

He noted that the Hungarian government had signed a strategic agreement with Huawei in April to help the Chinese company expand its production capacity in Hungary and add to its Hungarian suppliers. Hungary has become Huawei’s second biggest supply base. The company employs 1,500 people in Hungary and aims to make all of its products designed for European markets at its Hungarian plants by 2015 or transport them to Europe via its Hungarian logistics center, Szijjártó said.

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