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Hungary Strikes Food Export Deals With New “Number-One Non-EU Trading Partner” China

By Tamás Székely // 2016.06.09.

Hungary and China signed food export agreements in Ningpo, in eastern China, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó announced. Szijjártó told Hungarian news agency MTI on the sidelines of a meeting of the Chinese and central and eastern European trade ministers that the new agreements could increase the value of Hungary’s annual total food exports to China to 100 million dollars. China will lift its embargo on the import of Hungarian duck and goose meat, which it was forced to impose last year because of the bird flu, Szijjártó said.

Sanghaj, 2016. június 8. A Külgazdasági és Külügyminisztérium (KKM) által közreadott képen Szijjártó Péter külgazdasági és külügyminiszter (b) tárgyal Csung San kínai kereskedelmiminiszter-helyettessel a kínai Ningbóban 2016. június 8-án. MTI Fotó: KKM

This means the two countries can also conclude talks on Hungarian exports of turkey and chicken. Agreements were also reached on the audit of an additional four Hungarian companies looking to export deep-frozen pork. Three other companies with existing export permits will also be audited. Hungary and China also reached a deal on dairy product trade. China can now begin inspections of Hungarian dairy product exporters. Szijjártó also held talks with China’s commerce minister Gao Hucheng and Sun Dawei, the deputy head of China’s quarantine authority, AQSIQ. Péter Szijjártó and China’s deputy commerce minister Zhong Shan (picture above) later opened a Hungarian-Chinese investment and trade forum attended by the representatives of 40 Hungarian and 50 Chinese companies.

Szijjártó said Hungary was China’s number-one central European trading partner last year, and for the first time China was Hungary’s top non-EU trading partner. Exports to China increased by 23% over the first three months of 2016 compared with the same period last year, he said, pointing out that food exports had more than doubled. He said Chinese investments in Hungary exceeded 3.5 billion dollars in 2015 and noted that Chinese companies employ about 7,500 people in Hungary. To keep the momentum of food trade going, the two countries also agreed to cooperate on food safety. This could give Hungarian companies a competitive advantage on the Chinese market, given that Hungary has the strictest food safety regulations in Europe and the constitution also declares country’s agriculture sector GMO-free, Szijjártó said.

via and MTI photo: