After achieving full employment, Hungary has a pressing need for the latest technologies, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said in Beijing, adding that Hungary is interested in free global trade and investments by Chinese companies. Speaking at the Belt and Road economic cooperation forum, Szijjártó noted that Hungary and China are celebrating the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations this year, adding that bilateral ties have never been as good as now.
Szijjártó said that the Hungarian economy was leaving behind an era of “made in Hungary” and entering a new “dimension” of “invented in Hungary”. The focus is no longer on creating a large number of new jobs but increasing the market share of modern technologies, he said. The minister argued that the era of western investment directed at cheap labour in the east was over, and insisted that “the pace of global economic changes is at least as much dictated by the East as by the West”. Hungary is interested in opening to the east and in attracting investment from China, for which Hungary offers “a rather attractive environment” of low taxes and flexible labour laws. Hungary has made “extraordinary efforts” to increase its competitiveness and is fully interested in building a global free trade; “that is why we are against any barriers, restrictions and sanctions”, Szijjártó said. “The freer global trade is, the better for us,” he added.
Szijjártó said that Belt and Road was an adequate answer to challenges of a new economic era, and noted that Hungary was the first EU member to sign in support of the initiative. The initiative is in line with Hungary’s interests and national strategy “dubbed Eastern opening”, he said. China is Hungary’s largest trading partner outside Europe, the turnover of bilateral trade reaching a record 8.7 billion dollars last year and Chinese investments in Hungary exceeding 4.2 billion dollars, Szijjártó said. During his visit, the minister signed an agreement on eliminating barriers to further economic cooperation in light of current trade trends.