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Szijjarto: Hungarian presidency to re-start EU-Malaysia free trade negotiations

During its European Union presidency in the second half of 2024, Hungary plans to re-start free trade negotiations between the bloc and Malaysia, the foreign minister said.
20. March 2024 17:10

Speaking after talks with his Malaysian counterpart, Mohamad Hasan, Peter Szijjarto said on Wednesday that improving foreign economic ties of the EU were of paramount importance.

Regarding the negotiations with Malaysia, which started some 10 years ago but were later abandoned, Szijjarto said: “Unfortunately, the EU wants to mix issues not pertaining to economy and trade into those talks,” which he said may result in the EU becoming isolated. “We do not want to see that happening.”

Meanwhile, the political cooperation agreement between the EU and Malaysia is yet to be ratified by 16 member states, he said. The Hungarian presidency will endeavour to convince those states to take that step, he added.

The two countries will also convene the first meeting of the Hungarian-Malaysian joint committee, Szijjarto said. Trade between the two countries have topped 830 million dollars, and will need further incentives, he added.

Like Hungary, Malaysia was working to become a regional forerunner of e-vehicle transition, Szijjarto said. “They have built up an important beckground in research and universities, and we want to strengthen ties between our universities to open up new opportunities in high value-added research and development in the sector,” he said.

Szijjarto also touched on the danger of the world economy being divided into blocks, and said Hungary had a vested interest in unencumbered international trade. Malaysia is an “important ally” in avoiding blocks and developing networks, he said.

“We agreed that Malaysia and Hungary both have an interest in large powers settling their conflicts with each other . and stop putting pressure on others on which side they are taking.”


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