Hungary Sees €3 Billion in New Chinese Car Industry Investment

(Bloomberg) -- Hungary is expecting €3 billion ($3.3 billion) in new Chinese investments in the automotive sector, further boosting the central European nation as a regional center in the transition to electric mobility, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said.

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The unspecified projects will feed factories of German carmakers in Hungary and come on top of a €7.3 billion billion battery plant that Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd announced last year in partnership with Mercedes-Benz Group AG, Szijjarto said in Beijing on Monday. Last week, Chinese battery maker Eve Power announced a $1.2 billion investment to supply batteries to BMW AG in Hungary.

“We want to constantly develop European Union and Chinese cooperation,” Szijjarto said in a Facebook video in between meetings with Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang and CATL Chairman Yuqun Zeng. “That obviously can’t happen if the EU puts Chinese companies on a list for sanctions or export controls.”

Hungary is widely seen as one of the EU’s most pro-Chinese governments and has rejected international pressure to reduce economic links with China. It has maintained its participation in the Belt and Road Initiative, China’s global infrastructure project, as well as with telecommunication firms such as Huawei Technologies.

Huawei will sponsor a scholarship program at Hungary’s Public Service University in Budapest, which trains students for careers in government, Szijjarto said after meeting company officials. The focus will be on 5G research and innovation, he said.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s administration has consistently rejected US and EU pressure to cut telecommunications links due to concerns that Chinese security services may monitor the flow of information, an allegation repeatedly rejected by companies like Huawei.

“We maintain our position on global telecommunications providers, namely that we don’t exclude companies from competition based on their country of origin,” Szijjarto said.

--With assistance from Veronika Gulyas.

(Recasts with car industry investments.)

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