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Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s press statement after talks with Li Keqiang, Prime Minister of the People’s Republic of China

Good afternoon, I’d like to welcome you all. The past two days have been challenging ones for us. If my sums are right, since the fall of communism in 1990 this has been the fourth or fifth largest international meeting here in Budapest – and it has presented us with major logistical challenges. We have played host to sixteen prime ministers, with the Prime Minister of China. I’d like to thank everyone who has taken part in organising the meetings. I would particularly like to thank the people of Budapest for their patience and understanding; these two days have been important ones for Hungary.

Bilateral talks were held today. If I were to briefly assess the day’s events, I’d have to say that we’ve completed unprecedentedly successful negotiations. We’ve succeeded in strengthening existing Chinese-Hungarian cooperation in every respect. On crucial points of implementation we’ve managed to advance previously agreed joint projects, and we’ve also started talks on cooperation between the People’s Republic of China and Hungary for the years ahead. So we also have good prospects for the future. In addition, we’ve made agreements on new projects, and in the period ahead we’ll be working on their implementation.

In order for members of the Hungarian general public to appreciate the significance of today’s talks, it’s important to highlight that this year and in the years ahead China will achieve a growth rate of between 6 and 7 per cent. In itself this is a high figure – but just try to put this sum into the context of the Chinese economy’s overall volume. It represents growth on an enormous scale. This in turn means that the People’s Republic of China will need enormous quantities of imports, of goods, to feed such enormous growth. At the same time, enormous production capacities will come into being, and Chinese companies will invest in a number of places around the world.

In the world today there is competition to see who can create the best cooperation with China, and to see how the world’s various countries can participate in China’s huge growth. This is also a major opportunity for Hungary, but we must stand our ground in the face of stiff competition. I would like to make it clear that that every European country has entered this competition. The only difference is that there are those who do this by talking about it, and there are those that do not talk, but simply take action. At any rate, every European country would like to take part in this enormous Chinese development. Within the Central European region Hungary’s starting positions are good, and our competitive positions in relation to China are particularly strong. From among the countries of the Central European region, Hungary’s exports to China are the highest: we supply the largest volume of goods to China. And within Central Europe we also receive the largest volume of Chinese investments. We have a competitive economic regulatory and fiscal environment. We build our policies on common sense rather than on ideology. Hungary’s geographical location good, and there is great mutual respect between China and Hungary. Consider the fact that in 2016 alone we supplied exports, goods, to China worth 2.25 billion dollars. This year the figure will be even higher. To make it clear to the Hungarian public, this means that we exported goods worth 600 billion forints, and the money received in return for these goods is here in the Hungarian economy and is working. This is extremely important in a Hungarian context.

I’d like to make specific mention of some of the agreements we concluded. A little earlier our Minister of Agriculture signed an agreement that will enable Hungarian maize and honey to be exported to China. This is good news for farmers. We have also just signed an agreement according to which Eximbank will acquire a 500 million dollar credit line, which it will be able to introduce into the Hungarian economy. This is good news for all Hungarian small and medium-sized enterprises. BorsodChem has received a 217 million dollar development loan. This is good news for Kazincbarcika. A Chinese electric bus company based in Komárom has been given the opportunity to realise a 20 million dollar development project. This is good news for Komárom. Several private agreements have also been concluded. I would like to highlight just one of these: the good news for the people of Sárvár is that a large thermal project will be realised in Chongqing by a Sárvár-based company. And it is good news for the people of Szeged that yesterday we completed the sale of 40 million dollars’ worth of goods – mostly duvets and textiles. And I could go on: the list is a long one. This clearly indicates what an important day we have had.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We agreed with the Prime Minister of the People’s Republic of China that there is enormous growth potential in this region. Developments can be carried out here which result in a growth rate of even more than 4 per cent. We should also implement a number of projects for which there is no longer sufficient capital either in the Hungarian economy or in the European Union. It is for this reason, for instance, that we are financing the Budapest–Belgrade railway line with Chinese involvement. And there are a great many other projects which in the future we’ll be able to carry out with Chinese participation, and which are extremely important for people in Hungary and in the neighbouring countries.

Honourable Prime Minister,

On behalf of Hungary, I would like to thank you for the valuable negotiations of the past two days