Hungary to soon choose builder for China-paid railway line

Hungary's finance minister says it may choose by the end of April the winning consortium for the reconstruction of the Budapest-Belgrade railway line, which is being financed by China.

Finance Minister Mihaly Varga said Tuesday after talks in Beijing with China's Exim Bank, which is financing much of the project, that the rebuilding planned to be completed by 2023 would allow Hungary to remain competitive in the race for a transport route for Chinese companies bringing goods to Europe.

The Hungarian government said in December it would announce a new tender for the project after initial bids came in 20% over the estimated cost of 1.8 billion euros ($2 billion) for the Hungarian section.

The project is part of China's plan to expand commercial ties with Europe, Asia and Africa.