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Hungary 'Bridge for Economic Cooperation' Between Europe, China - Varga

Int’l Relations

Photo by Savvapanf Photo / Shutterstock.com

Finance Minister Mihály Varga said Hungary had become a "bridge for economic cooperation" between Europe and China after a meeting with his Chinese counterpart, Lan Foan, in Beijing this week, according to a report by state news wire MTI.

The sides agreed that infrastructure ties between the two countries needed to be enhanced further, especially in terms of direct flights, Mr Varga said in a statement issued by his ministry.

Under an agreement signed on Tuesday, a new scheduled cargo flight will be launched, enforcing Hungary's role as a logistics hub in the CEE region, he added.

Among partners outside of Europe, Mr Varga said China was now the biggest investor and trade partner of Hungary, while bilateral financial ties were continuously strengthening. He pointed to a HUF 3 trillion investment by battery maker CATL, a HUF 520 bln cathode plant by Huayou Cobalt, and a factory worth several billion euros that Chinese EV maker BYD will build in Hungary.

"The position of the Hungarian government is clear: Europe and China need stronger economic cooperation instead of forming blocs and isolation," he added.

Hungary's government is continuing its Eastern Opening strategy which has paved the way for enhanced economic ties between Hungary and China, he said.

He said that the upgrade of the Budapest-Belgrade rail line in a project involving Hungary, Serbia and China, would pave the way for an alternative route for bringing Chinese goods to Western Europe from ports in Greece.

In a video message posted on social media later on Tuesday, Varga said he had met with executives from Bank of China, China Construction Bank, China Development Bank, and other lenders to discuss economic and financial cooperation as well as new investments during his visit to Beijing.

In addition to the government's Eastern Opening policy, strong economic ties with China are supported by Hungary's low taxes, skilled labor force, developed infrastructure and favorable geographical location, he added.

 "We're working on strengthening that cooperation further and bringing even more world-class investments to Hungary," he said.

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