Santo Domingo (MTI) – The European Union needs to sign trade agreements with Latin American and Caribbean countries in order to help Hungarian companies enforce their interests in the region, the Hungarian foreign minister said on Wednesday.
Péter Szijjártó participated in a meeting of foreign ministers of EU and Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, which was the first such meeting ever held, he told MTI by phone. He added that he had held 13 bilateral meetings with foreign ministers from the region.
The focus of Hungary’s foreign economy has shifted partly to the Latin American and Caribbean region where some excellent market opportunities could open for Hungarian companies. Thanks to the geographical and natural characteristics of the region, strong interest has already been expressed for Hungarian water management and city management technologies, IT developments and premium-category foodstuff, Szijjártó said.
He said that Hungary called on the EU to sign a free trade agreement with Ecuador in November, and speed up talks with the Mercosur countries to demolish the obstacles to trade with Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Venezuela. Hungary also called on the EU to implement the expansion of trade agreements signed earlier with Mexico and Chile, he added.
Once the EU signs these agreements, Hungarian companies will be able to utilise the market opportunities in the region, Szijjártó said.
He said the government has already made preparations to assist them. In 2017, embassies will be opened in the capitals of Peru and Columbia, the network of honorary councils will be expanded and economic diplomats will be appointed to serve at every Hungarian mission in the region.
Szijjártó added that Hungary has been accepted as an observer in the Pacific Alliance (Alianza del Pacífico AdP).
Photo: MTI/EPA/Orlando Barría