Central Europe China’s economic-trade bridgehead to Europe, says Wen Jiabao

Budapest, June 25 (MTI) – Central and eastern Europe is a bridgehead for economic and trade cooperation between China and Europe; it is geographically advantageous position ties the western and eastern markets, Chinese premier Wen Jiabao told an economic forum at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences on Saturday.  

Wen Jiabao said China greatly valued the traditional friendship between China and the countries of central and eastern Europe, and regarded them as important partners.

 

“We are ready to expand the forms of economic and trade cooperation […] both sides can be long-term economic partners,” he said, adding that trade was developing at a fast clip, reaching an average annual 32 percent growth over the past few years, with imports arriving from China growing at an even faster rate of an annual 38 percent.

 

Wen said central and eastern Europe and China complimented each other economically, since manufacturing and infrastructure were potent in China while the car industry, boat and airplane manufacturing, water treatment, wine-growing and pharmaceuticals were central Europe’s strong suits.

 

He said the Chinese government supported the investments in central and eastern Europe of large Chinese companies, and at the same time he expressed hope that market restrictions would ease in the region, and that the establishment of Chinese companies would win political support.

 

As part of Wen Jiabao’s official visit to Hungary, several strategic agreements were signed.

 

China’s technology company Huawei and the Development Minister Tamas Fellegi signed an accord to set up Huawei’s European Supply Centre in Hungary, which is already the location for Huawei logistics centres; the new deal will make Hungary Huawei’s second-largest supply base in the world.

 

Further Hungarian chemicals company BorsodChem, which is owned by Wanhua, signed a 1.1 billion euro financing deal with the Bank of China.

 

Fellegi also signed an pact on railway development, though the details have not be released.

 

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban told the forum that central Europe possessed the most significant reserves of economic growth in the whole of Europe.

 

“Central Europe must be again counted with; the region has not carried as much promise and hope as these days for over decades,” Orban said.

 

He said Central Europe appeared to be “doing a rather good job” of understanding a new world with new rules after the economic-financial crisis.

 

“In a post-2008 period of the global economy only those who build a strong state can be successful,” Orban said, adding that keeping public debt and budget deficits at a low level were further criteria of success.

 

He said it is now being acknowledged in the world that Hungary had chosen the right path.

 

“We can today pronounce what had appeared inconceivable a year ago: Hungary has become the most stable country in central Europe, and it has by rights to seek the role of regional pulley,” Orban said.

 

As the holder of the rotating EU presidency, Hungary has made substantial contribution to the success of Europe’s handling of the economic crisis and will have achieved the accession of a new member to the EU.

 

Speaking about China-Hungary relations, he said their “alliance” pointed beyond relations of the two countries: Hungary was ready to open a “door” to Central Europe for China, first and foremost.

 

Orban added that Hungary is ready to serve as economic, financial and logistical bridgehead in the south-eastern European region.

 

The prime minister announced the Hungarian government will establish an investment forum for the Western Balkans in Budapest to pool and coordinate development plans and international resources for the region.








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