Szijjarto: CEE countries offer excellent opportunities to China

Small and medium-sized enterprises should be given a bigger role in China-CEE economic cooperation, Hungary’s foreign affairs and trade minister told a roundtable discussion organised as part of the China-CEE summit in Budapest on Monday.

SMEs are the backbone of the Hungarian economy and one of the best ways they can attract more support is by convincing more and more large corporations to invest in Hungary, Peter Szijjarto said. SMEs, too, can become suppliers to the companies that invest here, the minister said. He said the 16 CEE countries participating in the summit were friends, but at the same time competitors in the race to attract investors.

Hungary offers, among other things, a low corporate tax rate and support for the use and research and development of new technologies to foreign investors, Szijjarto said. The presence of Hungarian firms on the Chinese market is also important, as is selecting the right sectors in which Hungarian companies can be successful there, the minister said. These areas include water management, the food industry and IT, he said.

China’s Commerce Minister Zhong Shan said that SMEs are considered a driving force of the “16-plus-1” cooperation. He noted that the first China-CEE business forum was held in 2011 and since then, the “16-plus-1” cooperation had become more important and effective. The minister said Hungarian and Chinese business representatives would sign a number of cooperation agreements worth over 800 million US dollars in total.

At the opening of the forum, Szijjarto said that the political and financing conditions are in place to enable businesses from China and the Central and Eastern European region to develop the most successful possible form of cooperation.

In his speech the minister highlighted that, with their commonsense policies, growth rates above the European average and competitive investment environments, Central and Eastern European countries offer excellent opportunities to China. He explained that while geographical distance always brings with it risks and difficulties, governments can help to improve business relations by focusing on the development of political relations and making the required financing available.

Fazekas: Hungary farm exports to China forecast to grow by a quarter this year

Preliminary data indicates that Hungarian exports of agricultural products to China will increase by around 25 percent this year, growing at a similar rate to last year, Hungary’s farm minister said on Monday.

Sandor Fazekas told the agriculture and environment meeting of representatives attending the China-CEE summit in Budapest that among central and eastern European countries, Hungary exports the most product lines to China, including pork, goose, duck, cattle, rabbit meat, dairy products, live horses, wheat and milk.

The minister noted the China is Hungary’s tenth most important trading partner and Hungarian exports to China exceeded 500 billion forints (EUR 1.6bn) last year.
At the event, six Chinese and Hungarian firms and institutions signed cooperation agreements.

Source and photo: MTI

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