The event established in 1957 is China’s oldest, largest and most frequented fair and is also one of the busiest international foreign trade exhibitions of the Asia-Pacific region which is organised every spring and autumn. It is hosted by China’s Ministry of Trade and the government of Guangdong Province, while its main organiser is the China Foreign Trade Centre (CFTC).
In his address delivered in English to Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang and several high-ranking foreign politicians, the Hungarian Prime Minister stressed that the coronavirus pandemic has affected trade among the countries of the world for almost two years. In his words, the crisis caused by Covid-19 showed how interdependent the states of the world are and how we all have a vested interest in each other’s successful crisis management both in healthcare and in the recovery of our economies.
The Prime Minister highlighted that last year’s events made it clear to everyone that extraordinary changes are taking place in the world economy. He said Asian countries and companies are playing an increasingly important role in the shaping of the global economy, while capital-intensive Asian businesses are acquiring an ever larger share of the world market.
“The distribution of economic power is transforming in front of our eyes,” he pointed out.
He recalled that there are serious debates in the European Union about how to shape the new world economic order after the pandemic. He took the view that in the West there is a strong temptation to re-introduce a world economic order that is based on the rivalry of great world powers.
The Prime Minister said we had seen this before; he himself lived half his life in such a world when the West stood against the Soviet Union.
There are many people in the European Union who do not want to live in a world which is defined by tension between great world powers, and which is characterised by instability and criticism toward each other’s political and economic systems.
“We want to live in a world based on trade, security, mutual respect and the unconditional recognition of each other’s sovereignty. The place where we Hungarians live, Central Europe, has always lost when world politics and the world economy was characterized by confrontation,” the Prime Minister highlighted. He added that “therefore, we prefer a world of peace, harmony, cooperation, trade and mutual investments”.
It is important for Hungary to be involved in China’s economic development, and it is important for us to ensure that China is present in Hungary and Central Europe as a trading partner, and as an investor.
China is a crucial strategic partner of our country, and Hungary is committed to the expansion of bilateral relations in every possible way, he said.
“We are thankful to China and personally to President Xi for involving Hungary into China’s vaccination cooperation program at a very early stage. Without the vaccines bought from China we would not have been able to carry out the quickest vaccination campaign of the European Union,” the Prime Minister stressed.
He also underlined that Chinese-Hungarian cooperation is becoming ever more important in light of the fact that China is set to be one of the earliest recovering economies.
Even in 2020, Hungarian-Chinese trade and economic relations developed rapidly. Last year, China was the most important trading partner of ours outside Europe, and also as regards the volume of foreign investments coming to Hungary in 2020, China ranked first, he stressed.
He said there are ever more internationally recognised Chinese companies such as Huawei, Bank of China, Lenovo, Semcorp, Wanhua and BYD, which choose Hungary as their European base which shows that the favourable Hungarian investment environment and circumstances are very well appreciated by Chinese partners.
In conclusion, Mr Orbán stressed that Hungary looks forward to the further development of Hungarian-Chinese bilateral relations. He said he is convinced that trade forums such as the Canton Fair build “trade bridges” between Hungary and China, and with their aid many new business partners will be able to come to Hungary.