Backgrounder: Economic ties between China and Hungary prosperous
2019-05-22 08:54 | xinhua

  As the first European country to sign a cooperation document with China on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Hungary's economic ties with China have prospered in recent years.

  With a steady growth momentum in trade over recent years, Hungary is China's third largest trading partner in Central and Eastern Europe, and China is Hungary's largest trading partner outside the EU.

  According to Chinese statistics, in 2018, the bilateral trade volume between China and Hungary reached a record high of 10.88 billion U.S. dollars, an increase of 7.5 percent over the previous year. Among them, China's imports from Hungary were 4.34 billion U.S. dollars, an increase of 6.5 percent year on year, while China's exports to Hungary were 6.54 billion U.S. dollars, a yearly increase of 8.1 percent on year.

  China's investment in Hungary is also growing steadily. Hungary is China's largest investment destination in Central and Eastern Europe. Chinese investment in Hungary covers various industries such as chemical, financial, telecommunications, new energy, automotive and logistics.

  In 2016, Chinese car maker BYD set its sights on Hungary when seeking to invest in a manufacturing plant in Europe. In September 2017, BYD's first passenger car in Hungary rolled off the assembly line. In December 2018, the first electric bus prototype co-produced by a CRRC, a Chinese supplier of rail transit equipment, and Hungarian automaker Icarus, was unveiled in the country.

  BorsodChem, the largest chemical material manufacturer in Hungary, was on the edge of bankruptcy in 2009. In 2011, Chinese chemical company Wanhua acquired a 96 percent stake in BorsodChem, which is the largest investment by Chinese companies in Central and Eastern Europe. BorsodChem has turned losses into profit since 2014, and its profitability has increased year by year. In 2017, it became one of the 100 biggest companies in Central and Eastern Europe.

  In recent years, financial cooperation between China and Hungary deepened. In April 2016, the Hungarian government successfully issued renminbi bonds of 1 billion yuan in Hong Kong. In July 2017, the Hungarian government again issued renminbi bonds of 1 billion yuan in the Chinese interbank bond market. In December 2018, the Bank of China completed the listing of renminbi-linked Structured Notes issued by Hungary on the Budapest Stock Exchange.

  Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Szijjarto told Xinhua in April that the country is proud to be the first European country to sign an intergovernmental cooperation agreement with China over BRI, and that the BRI accords with the Hungarian government's "Opening to the East" policy, adding that Hungary is making efforts to achieve tangible benefits through dovetailing the BRI with the policy.

  "We respect the Chinese investors and the Chinese companies in this country because they have contributed to the success of our national economy," he said. "They have brought technologies to the Hungarian economy which helped us to enter this new digital era of global economy," said the minister.

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