Beijing, June 8 (MTI) – Hungary and China signed food export agreements in Ningpo, in eastern China, on Wednesday, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said.
Szijjártó told MTI on the sidelines of a meeting of the Chinese and central and eastern European trade ministers that the new agreements could increase the value of Hungary’s annual total food exports to China to 100 million dollars.
China will lift its embargo on the import of Hungarian duck and goose meat, which it was forced to impose last year because of the bird flu, Szijjártó said. This means the two countries can also conclude talks on Hungarian exports of turkey and chicken.
Agreements were also reached on the audit of an additional four Hungarian companies looking to export deep-frozen pork. Three other companies with existing export permits will also be audited.
Hungary and China also reached an agreement on dairy product trade. China can now begin inspections of Hungarian dairy product exporters, the minister said.
Szijjártó also held talks with China’s commerce minister Gao Hucheng and Sun Dawei, the deputy head of China’s quarantine authority, AQSIQ.
He and deputy commerce minister Zhong Shan later opened a Hungarian-Chinese investment and trade forum attended by the representatives of 40 Hungarian and 50 Chinese companies.
Szijjártó said Hungary was China’s number-one central European trading partner last year, and for the first time China was Hungary’s top non-EU trading partner.
Exports to China increased by 23 percent over the first three months of 2016 compared with the same period last year, he said, pointing out that food exports had more than doubled.
He said Chinese investments in Hungary exceeded 3.5 billion dollars in 2015 and noted that Chinese companies employ about 7,500 people in Hungary.
To keep the momentum of food trade going, the two countries also agreed to cooperate on food safety. This could give Hungarian companies a competitive advantage on the Chinese market, given that Hungary has the strictest food safety regulations in Europe and the constitution also declares country’s agriculture sector GMO-free, Szijjarto said.