Budapest, January 23 (MTI) – Hungary’s government and Bank of China (BoC) have concluded a strategic cooperation agreement.
The document was signed by state secretary of foreign affairs and trade László Szabó and BoC Chairman Tian Guoli in Budapest on Monday in the presence of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.
Economy Minister Mihály Varga said the agreement would help further intensify Hungarian-Chinese economic relations.
China’s biggest commercial bank has also signed cooperation agreements with the National Bank of Hungary, the Budapest Stock Exchange, the State Debt Management Agency and Eximbank.
The Bank of China and China Unionpay will jointly issue a yuan debit card in Hungary, Tian Guoli said.
This will be the first yuan bank card in central and eastern Europe, he added.
The cards will be managed in Hungarian forint and Chinese yuan and will be accepted by more than 2,000 points of sale and hundreds of ATMs, Tian Guoli said.
The Bank of China plans to introduce the yuan bank cards in Prague, Vienna and Belgrade as well, he added.
Speaking at a press conference later in the day, Szabó and Tian said the agreement would “open a completely new chapter” in financial cooperation between Hungary and China.
Praising the agreement, Tian affirmed the Bank of China’s support for Hungary’s economic and social progress. He said the Hungarian government’s eastern opening strategy was perfectly in line with that of China’s One Belt, One Road initiative aimed at establishing a link between East Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Europe.
Tian presented a 20 million forint (EUR 64,540) grant to the Hungarian-Chinese Bilingual Primary and Secondary School, which the school will use to set up a Chinese language lab.
Under the pact, the bank will contribute to financing Hungarian projects in line with the goals of the One Belt, One Road initiative, Szabo said, adding that in the future, the BoC will encourage further Chinese investments in Hungary.
Hungary wants to become a “bridgehead” for Chinese goods and services destined for Europe, and vice versa, he said.
The agreement will also strengthen the BoC’s ties with Eximbank and the Hungarian Investment Promotion Agency (HIPA), and the bank will also promote Hungary in China as a viable European investment destination, he said.
Szabó noted that in 2015 Budapest became the home of the BoC’s first renminbi (RMB) clearing centre in Europe outside the euro zone.