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Speech of Viktor Orbán at the first China International Import Expo (CIIE)

Distinguished Mr. President, Excellencies, dear Colleagues.

First of all I would like to take this opportunity to express my appreciation to President Xi for the invitation extended to Hungary to take part as a guest of honor in the first ever China International Import Expo in this great city of Shanghai. Well, looking at the precious list of invitees you can raise the question how it comes that a small land-locked country from Central Europe is involved in a list full of giants? And the answer is Central Europe. Hungary represents more than herself, when you hear our voice, you hear the voice of our region. A region which has recently become the growth engine of Europe. Economic and social policies in the Central European region representing common sense have ensured that the countries here were able to preserve their national, political and cultural identity even under the pressure of massive illegal migration, the phenomenon you are surely well aware of. We ended up in a situation that the growth rate of this region is two times higher compared to the continental average, and having the trends in mind it is a matter of a broad consensus that this region will definitely be the source of future European growth as well. We understand these developments have been realized by China while creating the 16+1 China – Central Europe cooperation format. 16 countries located in Central Europe, representing quite a considerable grouping even from the perspective of the giants. We were honored to host the summit last year and we are committed to remain strong promoters of this platform. These days the governors of the Central Banks of the countries involved are gathering in Budapest for their first time ever meeting, while the 16+1 customs cooperation center to simplify and accelerate trade within each other has been under preparation by us as well.

Mr. President,

Hungary has always been a supporter of the most possibly free and fair global trade network and we have always been supporters of the Eurasian cooperation. That is why we are absolutely interested in the success of the One Belt One Road Initiative and that is why we were the first European country to sign the bilateral cooperation agreement about its implementation. Our economies are very open. The performance of our national economies is highly determined by external factors: the flow of capital into our countries, the dynamism of investments carried out by international companies and the trend of export. Based on this fact we highly value the presence of Chinese companies in Hungary: we are proud of the fact that Bank of China located its regional headquarters to Budapest and operates there one of its European RMB clearing centers, Huawei is managing its European distribution activities from Hungary, BYD has established its first European factory in Hungary, Wanhua operates a huge chemical plant, while Johnson Electric, Yanfeng and Wescast become more and more important players of our automotive industry. These Chinese companies have contributed to achieve basically full employment on the Hungarian labor market and had a significant role in helping our national economy to stay in the 4+ % GDP growth rate path on the long term. We are also proud to have the highest export figures from our region to China: the products of our mechanical, pharmaceutical and food industries gain more and more shares on the Chinese market. Following last year’s all-time export record we have been witnessing another 18% increase in our trade so far this year. Our national pavilion highlights the products and services through which we will be able to maintain this very favorable trend, to which business-to-business agreements on the fields of dairy industry, water management, innovative energy production and machinery to be signed tomorrow will definitely contribute.

Dear Mr. President,

To conclude I would like to underline that you can count on our region’s support when it comes to your initiatives to promote free and fair international trade, when it comes to enhancing Eurasian cooperation under the framework of the One Belt One Road initiative and when it comes to pay more attention to Central Europe.

Thank you, Excellencies and dear Colleagues for your kind attention.