Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade visited Hong Kong on 1st December 2016.

(MTI) – Hungary and Hong Kong bookend the Chinese Silk Route, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said over the telephone on Thursday, after holding talks in China. In a meeting with Finance Minister John Tsang, Development Minister Paul Chan and Deputy Minister for Trade and Economic Development Philip Yung, Szijjártó said economic cooperation between Hungary and Hong Kong could be tightened.  

Hungary offers a competitive investing climate for access to Europe and it has the lowest personal income tax and corporate tax rates in the European Union, Szijjártó said. It is therefore a favourable target country for Hong Kong’s investors, he added. Talks are under way on an agreement on investment protection so that the legal risks of investing in Hungary can be eliminated. “We want to close these talks and sign the agreement as soon as possible so as to mutually benefit from growing investor appetite,” he said. 

Hong Kong is an important food importer and demand is growing for Hungarian quality products and wines. All obstacles to growth in this sector have been eliminated at talks. Hungarian beef exports to Hong Kong can be launched now that all necessary permits are in hand, he said. An agreement on the export of lamb and rabbit meat has also been signed, he added.

Szijjártó also held talks with Matthew Cheung Kin-Chung, the labour minister, and agreed to adopt a Working Holiday Scheme for up to 200 18-30 year-olds to receive short-term work permits to work in each other’s countries. The scheme could help young people train and gain work experience, he said.  The minister noted talks to boost tourism. One of the subjects discussed was the possibility of launching direct flights to Hong Kong, but further negotiations are necessary, he said.

Szijjártó on Thursday paid a visit to Marymount Secondary School, whose choir has visited Hungary twice recently and won prestigious choir competitions. The school nurtures the heritage of Hungarian composer Béla Bartók. A room in the school was named after Bartók in a ceremony where Szijjártó opened an exhibition and unveiled a plaque on this occasion.