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Chinese-operated trade hub in Hungary facilitates cooperation with European businesses

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-11-24 10:42

BUDAPEST - A trade hub established by a Chinese enterprise in Hungary has been acting as a "matchmaker" between Chinese and European businesses, and is poised to further facilitate bilateral trade cooperation as the Belt and Road Initiative continues to unfold, the company's CEO has said.

The hub, formally known as the Central European Trade and Logistics Cooperation Zone, currently comprises an exhibition center in Budapest, and two logistic parks respectively in the Csepel Port in Hungary and the Bremen Port in Germany, Wu Jiang told Xinhua in a recent interview.

The Chinese businessman, with over 20 years of experience in commerce and logistics in Hungary, said his motive to start the trade service company was to help Chinese enterprises find competent local partners in their exploration for new markets in Europe.

"I have noticed that many Chinese enterprises, often unfamiliar with local languages and laws, spent most of their energy dealing with accountants, lawyers and government agencies when they came here, with only limited time spent on expanding actual business. They could stay for only a year or two, without achieving much breakthrough in business and had to call off their endeavor," said Wu.

He compared his exhibition center in Budapest as a bridge linking Chinese enterprises with local partners.

Activities at the center, such as exhibitions and bushiness presentations, allow the two sides to find suitable partners in a more efficient way, he said.

Meanwhile, the logistics park in the Csepel Port provides services such as cargo distribution, customs clearance and warehousing, among others, according to Wu.

In the past, the goods used to flow southeastward from the base ports of northwestern Europe such as Hamburg, Bremen and Rotterdam, he noted. With the Chinese Railway Express cargo trains and China-Europe land-sea express coming into operation, the trend is that the goods go from the southeast to the northwest, Wu added.

The China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative has brought tangible benefits for businesses in Hungary, noted Wu. "The logistics volume in the park and the whole country has grown very rapidly this year. Our truck fleet is running at its maximum capacity and we have to rent trucks to cope with the trade flow," he said.

The Logistics Park also serves the Chinese Railway Express cargo trains. "Since the start of freight service of Hunan-Europe freight trains from Changsha in south central China's Hunan Province to Budapest in June this year, every train is full," he said.

The logistics park plans to send a cargo train from Budapest to Changsha on Nov 27.

It is also planning a "Rainbow Line" route with China's shipping giant COSCO starting from China's eastern coastal city of Ningbo, via Shenzhen in south China, to Piraeus port in Greece by ship, and from there all the way to Budapest by rail.

Wu said that against the backdrop of the Belt and Road Initiative, the Central European Trade and Logistics Cooperation Zone will surely thrive and play a greater role in helping Chinese enterprises go global.

Proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, the Belt and Road Initiative aims to build trade and infrastructure networks connecting Asia with Europe and Africa on and beyond the ancient Silk Road routes. It comprises the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.

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