Foreign minister Peter Szijjarto – Photo: Facebook

Szijjarto: Economic cooperation should not be ideologically tainted

Economic cooperation amid the massive challenges facing global trade should not be ideologically and politically tainted, Peter Szijjarto, the minister of foreign affairs and trade, said in Brussels on Tuesday, arguing that a plan to screen investments was politically motivated.
23. January 2024 17:31

Arriving at the European Union Council meeting on trade affairs, Szijjarto told journalists that numerous “unfounded hostile statements” had been made recently regarding Chinese investments.

He said EU member states that were uncompetitive when it came to attracting investments resorted to such statements. Hungary, he added, was not in favour of de-risking.

Hungary, the minister said, believed that rational East-West economic cooperation based on mutual respect could be rekindled. This, he added, would be a crucial basis for global economic development, and he noted that Hungary had become a hub for Eastern and Western investors.

Despite not being among the world’s largest economies, Hungary has one of the most open economies, with exports worth 80-85 percent of GDP, he noted, arguing that the government therefore fully stood behind global free trade.

Given current security and political challenges in this area, freedom of navigation must be maintained worldwide, he said.

Asked about the government’s ban of Ukrainian grain imports, Szijjarto said Hungary would maintain it so as to protect its domestic market.

“We should return to the original agreement on keeping transport routes of Ukrainian grain open,” he said, noting that Ukrainian agricultural produce had flooded central European markets, which, he said, had flouted the agreement.

Still, he said Hungary even made consequential investments to ensure that Ukrainian grain reached the states where it is really needed via Hungary. “Transit is fine; imports are not,” he said.

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