Szijjártó urges national, global ‘harmony’ for free trade

Int’l Relations

“Harmony must be established between national and global interests to restore the political and social acceptance of international free trade agreements”, said Hungary’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó in Paris, according to a report on official government website kormany.hu last Thursday.

(Photo: Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade)

“It is in Hungary’s interests for the negative international mood that has developed regarding free trade agreements to change and for support for them to be restored, because this is what enables an improvement in the rate of growth of the global economy,” Szijjártó said, speaking in a recess of the Ministerial Council Meeting of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in the French capital.

He also emphasized that “global interests are made up of compounded national interests (…) and national interests cannot be disregarded even in international commerce,” which in Hungary’s case means agricultural sensitivity and certain industrial issues, according to kormany.hu.

External factors, such as foreign investment, have a major effect on the performance of the Hungarian economy, which is extremely open with a ratio of exports to GDP of more than 90%, Szijjártó stressed. Therefore, Hungary is interested in the expansion of the global economy, once again embarking on a growth trajectory following the decline observed during the past two years, he added, according to the government website.

Szijjártó vows support for SMEs

The foreign minister also spoke in support of SMEs, emphasizing the importance of such companies.

“In view of the fact that SMEs make up the backbone of national economies, care must be taken to ensure that as many of these enterprises as possible are able to become part of the supply chains of large multinational companies,” he said. “One of the important elements of the Hungarian administration’s economic policy is that it supports SMEs in view of this fact, since 25% of workers in Hungary are employed by multinational companies and multinational companies also generate 60% of the country’s GDP.”

Szijjártó also noted that high expenses hindering the success of SMEs may be decreased through digitalization, as “digital trading assures them equal opportunities in the face of large international corporations.”

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