'16+1' summit to inject new momentum to China-CEEC cooperation: Chinese official
The "16+1" mechanism between China and central and eastern European countries was established by the countries' leaders during a meeting in Polish capital Warsaw in April, 2012.
Zhou Xinjian, Commercial Counselor at the Chinese Embassy in Hungary, says the "16+1" leaders' summit in Budapest will add new energy to the already blossoming development achieved by the mechanism.
"The leaders' meeting, now taking place five years after the mechanism first began, carries extraordinary significance for China – CEEC cooperation, especially in the area of trade. In the past years, the 16 countries in central and eastern Europe have become key regions in the 'Belt and Road' Initiative, as they provide the only geological path as the initiative expands westward. "
The official adds that many sectors of the Chinese economies very well complement those of the 16 European countries, such as infrastructure, finance and communications.
He says those areas provide tremendous potential for further cooperation, and that the leaders' summit in Hungary poses a great opportunity to further connect the "16+1" mechanism with "Belt and Road" construction.
The official also says that since the "16+1" mechanism was established, cooperation in the areas of politics and cultural exchanges has also been boosted between China and the European countries.
In the case of China and Hungary, the central European nation became the first one in Europe to officially sign an MOU with China under the "Belt and Road" Initiative.
Hungarian President Janos Ader attended the inaugural Belt and Road Forum in Beijing this past May, in addition to paying an official visit to China.
China-Hungary trade volume saw significant growth last year, reaching 8.8 billion US dollars.
That figure is expected to exceed 10 billion US dollars this year.
According to Zhou Xinjian, China and Hungary have long been cooperating in auto production, communications and chemical engineering, and new energy development is about to be added to the list.
"Our next phase of cooperation will highlight auto parts manufacturing. In the new energy sphere, Hungary sees potential in China's photovoltaic power industry, while many Chinese companies see a large market in Hungary. Chinese companies will make a 100 million euro investment to build photovoltaic power plants in Hungary. New energy will be a new highlight of our cooperation."
Zhou Xinjian adds that momentum has also been growing between the two countries' banking and tourism sectors.
Hungary is the first country in central and eastern Europe to issue yuan-demoninated bonds.
Last year, more than 170,000 Chinese visitors came to Hungary, and that number is expected to reach 230,000 this year.
Hungary also hosts China's first tourism representative office in central and eastern Europe.
For CRI, I'm Guan Chao.