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FinMin: Gov’t finds WTO proposals unacceptable

Hungary’s government finds proposals by the World Trade Organization to reduce global trade barriers unacceptable in their current form, Finance Minister János Veres said at a press conference on Tuesday.

The WTO proposals would cut tariffs and subsidies for farm products and reduce tariffs for industrial goods. If the EU accepts the WTO proposals, it will cut Hungarian companies’ profits by Ft 10 billion (about $68 million) in the first year, but could reduce them as much as Ft 100 billion later, Veres said. The first sectors to be affected will be the farm and automotive industry sectors, he added. The WTO’s plant would reduce tariffs on agriculture products by 60pc on average, giving Hungarian farmers far more competition, the government’s press office said in a statement on Monday.

Hungary’s Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány, who is on holiday, telephoned European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso and French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Monday to discuss the proposals. Hungary has already reassured Sarkozy of its support for French-led opposition to the proposals. In addition to Hungary and France, Italy and Lithuania are also protesting the proposals. (MTI-Econews)