The European Union must enter into talks with Australia and New Zealand on free trade deals with those countries and those agreements should be signed before the UK leaves the EU, Hungary’s foreign minister said in Paris on Thursday.
It would be a “nightmare” for Hungary if the EU failed to sign these agreements within the next two years while Britain, after quitting the bloc, signs deals with countries with which the EU does not have free trade deals in place, Péter Szijjártó told MTI after talks with Australia, New Zealand and Canada’s trade ministers Steven Ciobo, Todd McClay and Francois-Philippe Champagne.
“This would be the worst-case scenario for the EU’s economy,” Szijjártó said. The minister said both Australia and New Zealand were ready to start talks on a free trade deal with the EU immediately.
Hungary therefore urges the European Commission to request a mandate from the European Council to begin the talks, Szijjártó said.
Signing the trade deals is also important for Hungary’s economy because bilateral trade turnover has started growing since Hungary opened its embassies in Australia and New Zealand, Szijjarto said.
At his talks with his Australian colleague, Szijjártó discussed storing part of Australia’s strategic oil supplies in Hungary.
Szijjártó and McClay agreed that Hungary and New Zealand would sign a social security agreement and an agreement to avoid double taxation.
Speaking about his talks with his Canadian colleague, Szijjártó said Hungarian GMO-free meat and other food industry products were in high demand in Canada. He said he had agreed with Champagne that Canada would initiate the process for granting Hungary export permits.
Photo: Ministry of Foreign Affairs