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Hungary Abstains in Vote on Russia, Belarus Farm Product Tariffs

EU

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Hungary abstained from a Council of the European Union vote raising EU tariffs on farm products from Russia and Belarus because of the impact a backlash could have on Hungarian companies, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said fielding questions at a press conference, according to a post on his Facebook page.

"If the European Union effects prohibitive tariffs on farm products from Russia, the Russians will react. We know them, they will react, and their reaction will be asymmetrical," Szijjártó said. He noted that many Hungarian farm and food companies did business in Russia.

"My question is, why wouldn't I represent the interests of Hungarian companies?" he added.

The council adopted the regulation to levy prohibitive tariffs on grain products from Russia and Belarus on Thursday.

It will take effect from July 1, the day Hungary takes over the rotating six-month presidency of the council from Belgium.

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