China appreciates that economic growth in central and eastern Europe is twice the European average, the Hungarian prime minister said on Monday in his address at the Chinese International Import Expo (CIIE) organised for the first time in Shanghai.
At the opening ceremony, attended by Chinese President Xi Jinping and other top Chinese officials, Viktor Orbán said that Hungary’s inclusion on the “list of giants invited to the expo” is also thanks to the central European region.
Hungary represents the region that has become the engine of Europe’s growth, he said.
Those countries’ convergent economic and social policies made sure that they could preserve their national, political and cultural identities in the face of substantial pressure posed by illegal migration, he said.
China has set up the 16+1 group, comprising 16 central and eastern European countries and China, to strengthen ties with the region, he said. Hungary is dedicated to boosting those relations, Orbán said, noting that the leaders of the group’s national banks will meet in Budapest in the near future.
Hungary also has a vested interest in the success of China’s Belt and Road initiative, he said.
Chinese companies in Hungary contribute greatly to the fact that the country has “practically reached full employment and its growth is expected to remain over 4 percent of GDP in the long term,” he said.
A growing number of Hungarian food and pharmaceutical products are present on the Chinese market, Orbán noted.
After an all-time high in exports to China in 2017, trade between the two countries has grown by a further 18 percent so far in 2018, he said.
The CIIE runs between November 5 and 10, with some 2,800 companies from over 130 countries and regions attending. Hungary is one of the guests of honour alongside Brazil, Canada, Egypt, Germany, Indonesia, Mexico, Pakistan, Russia, South Africa, Vietnam and the United Kingdom. Organisers expect to draw more than 80,000 companies as buyers and some 300,000 visitors.
Members of the Hungarian delegation are Péter Szijjártó, the foreign affairs and trade minister, Innovation and Technology Minister László Palkovics and István Nagy, the farm minister.
Featured image: MTI