Hungary's foreign minister has said that in order to restore political and social support for international free trade agreements national and global interests must be harmonized.
Péter Szijjártó, minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, emphasized the openness of the Hungarian economy and how the nation constantly looks at international agreements to boost economic performance.
The minister said it is in Hungary’s interests that the trust in free trade agreements is restored, because growing support will improve the global trade expansion rate. He added, however, that “global interests are a sum of national interests … and national interests must not be suppressed even in international trade.”
The minister noted that external factors such as foreign investment play a serious role in an open economy such as Hungary’s, where the ratio of exports to GDP are above 90 percent. This makes the country particularly dependent on world trade growth after the past two years’ recession, he said.
Minister Szijjártó said that in addition to restoring support for free trade agreements, efforts need to be made to maintain a balance between environmental protection and competitiveness, to support small and medium sized enterprises and to fight illegal trading.
“International discrimination of nuclear energy needs to be prevented and energy utilization needs to stay a national competence," Minister Szijjártó said.
Since SMEs represent the backbone of the national economy, efforts need to be made to ensure that these companies are increasingly involved in the supply chain for large multinational companies.
The minister added that support for SMEs is one of the most important elements of the Hungarian government’s economic policy. Multinationals employ 25 percent of Hungarian workforce while generating 60 percent of GDP, he said.