“The new European Commission must accelerate its negotiations on free trade agreements; Hungary has an interest in the global economy being as open as possible”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó declared in the recess of a meeting of EU foreign Ministers discussing international trade affairs on Thursday afternoon in Brussels.

At his press conference, Mr. Szijjártó highlighted: “It is in Hungary’s interests for there to be as few customs and non-customs hindrances, trade restrictions and sanctions as possible in force”. “The fewer of these exist, the better for us”, he declared.

The Minister said it was an expectation with respect to the new Brussels body that it should conclude as many free trade agreements as possible as rapidly as possible, and that it should refrain from mixing economic and trade issues with political issues. “Free trade agreements cannot be used as instruments for teaching countries a lesson, because this has always ended in failure”, Mr. Szijjártó said.

As he explained, the Commission should recommence its grounded free trade negotiations with the Philippines, Malaysia and Thailand at the earliest opportunity, in addition to which he said it is nonsense that there are agreements that the EU has failed to successfully conclude for ten years.

According to the Minister, it is important for double standards with respect to China to be eradicated, in view of the fact that the Central European member states are regularly criticised  because of various agreements, while Western member states are concluding contracts with huge volumes, but nobody has a problem with that.

He underlined the fact that instead of complaints and political statements it must be finally accepted that the United States government is practicing a patriotic economic policy, and an agreement based on professional considerations must be successfully concluded between the two parties.

Mr. Szijjártó said the past few years of the Hungarian economy, with its rate of growth that is outstanding in EU comparison, is a success story in which, according to the Minister, Hungary’s export performance, which has been increasing and regularly breaking records for nine consecutive years, is playing a major role. He pointed out that Hungary is now among the world’s top 35 countries that are capable of producing over 100 billion euros in annual exports. “We have now also become competitive globally. (…) We have realised a foreign trade performance that has a uniform structure, is standing on several pillars, and is capable of supporting the economy’s growth trajectory in the long term”, he emphasised.