The Budapest-Belgrade railway line which will be modernised in Hungarian-Serbian-Chinese cooperation will represent the fastest transport link between southeastern Europe and the inner continent, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said on Sunday.
China’s Belt and Road Initiative has created an international cooperation project which involves significant infrastructure development, boosts trading and promotes the expansion of financial services, he told public Kossuth radio.
Hungary can profit from its geographical location because China’s Maritime Silk Road ends in Greek ports, he said. This will generate competition to decide who can transport goods towards inner Europe in the shortest time, he added.
Szijjártó said last year Hungary-China trade broke an absolute record, reaching 8.7 billion dollars, and this year food exports are expected to further increase.
In air transport, a new passenger service will be launched between Shanghai and Budapest on June 7, he said. Last year, record-many 256,000 Chinese tourists visited Hungary representing a 14 percent increase from the previous year and this January the increase was 32 percent, he added. Part of the reason for the increase is that Hungarian visa applications can now be submitted in 15 cities throughout China and visas are issued within 48 hours, he said.
In air freight transport, a twice-weekly cargo flight was launched between Budapest and Zhengzhou in April which can also contribute to increasing trade, he said.
Additionally, one of the most important Chinese airports, Xian Xianyang International Airport, signed a cooperation agreement with Liszt Ferenc International Airport in Budapest, Szijjártó said.
One of the five points in an action plan which provides the framework for a Hungary-China development scheme is to have Chinese companies set up a logistics hub near Liszt Ferenc Airport, he added.