The Hungarian government is pressing for dialogue to resolve a trade dispute between the European Union and the United States, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó told a news conference on Friday.
Speaking of the US custom tariffs recently put on steel and aluminum from the EU and other partners, and the EU’s countermeasures, Szijjártó said that Hungary as an export-oriented economy would regret to see the controversy escalated.
Especially regrettable would be a trade war between the US, Hungary’s largest non-EU trading partner, and Germany, its largest partner within the EU, he said.
The European Commission on Thursday said it would proceed with the imposition of additional duties on a number of imports from the US, after the US imposed additional duties of 25 percent and 10 percent on imports of steel and aluminium, respectively, from the EU.
The US duties will have little direct effect on Hungary, as just 1 percent of its metal exports go to the US, Szijjártó said. But producers squeezed out of the US market by the duties could move into other markets where Hungarian companies are present, boosting competition, he added.
For that matter, the Hungarian government supports European Union efforts to maximise the number of ambitious free trade agreements, but also trusts that the EU will “consider Hungary’s sensitivities, especially in agriculture”, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó told an OECD meeting in Paris on Thursday.
Freedom in global trade and removing obstacles from bilateral or multilateral cooperation is “crucial”, Szijjártó said.
On the sidelines of the OECD event, Szijjártó had bilateral talks with Francois-Philippe Champagne, Canada’s minister for international trade, Steven Ciobo, Australia’s trade minister, Jorge Faurie, Argentina’s foreign minister, and Ildefonso Guajardo, Mexico’s economy minister.
Featured image: MTI