in a video published on Facebook on Saturday, Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said terminating relations with China “would be a suicide committed by the European economy.” He added that foreign direct investment to Hungary could double this year to total 13 billion euros.
In an interview given to CNBC on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Tianjin, China, Minister Szijjártó noted an 865 billion euro annual trade volume between China and the European Union, and said: “How could you decouple without killing the European economy”. The Hungarian government considers China as a partner rather than as a “threat” or “a risk”, cooperation with which could give Hungary a lot of benefits, he said. “For us, China is an opportunity, but a must in the meantime as well”. Concerning Europe’s car-making industry, Minister Szijjártó pointed to “a revolution” and said while European manufacturing companies “can produce very good electric cars, they cannot produce batteries”. He insisted that cooperation between Western European and Chinese companies was crucial “to make the new European industry operational”. Minister Szijjártó said Hungary was an attractive destination for big Chinese investors because of the presence of German carmakers in the country. “While the German foreign minister speaks about decoupling, the CEOs of German carmakers usually call me to convince their Chinese suppliers to come to Hungary,” he said. A cessation of ties with China would “kill the European economy” and “it would be very harmful to the German economy as well”, he said. According to the foreign minister, apart from CATL and EVE Energy, the Hungarian government had agreements with “two other top 10 Chinese battery manufacturers”. They are going to announce their investments soon, Minister Szijjártó said.