Economic ties between Hungary and Australia are closer than ever, with bilateral trade reaching a record-high 100 million dollars in the first two months of the year, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said.
Hungary firmly supports that a free trade agreement between the European Union and Australia be signed with no delay, Szijjártó said after a video conference with Australian counterpart Marise Payne. “We expect Brussels not to slow down free trade negotiations during the pandemic either,” he added.
Szijjártó noted that under a recent contract Hungarian oil and gas company Mol will store 50 kilotonnes of Australian strategic natural oil reserves outside Australia. Talks are underway on increasing this volume, he added. “This clearly demonstrates that international economic cooperation is worth developing even during the pandemic,” he said.
Despite the geographical distance between Hungary and Australia, the two countries are facing similar challenges, he said. The Australian government has also taken strict measures to flatten the curve of the novel coronavirus, and enabled its health services to cope with the pandemic. At present it is “cautiously easing the restrictions while strictly assessing the consequences”, he added.
Szijjártó said they agreed that nothing would be the same after the pandemic is over and that the consequences should be drawn. “It must not be allowed in the upcoming period that an entire continent remains dependent on others in terms of production capacities for protective equipment,” he said.