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Péter Szijjártó, the foreign minister, told the Indo-Pacific Forum held in Prague that Hungary’s economy is the tenth most open globally, noting that exports account for over 85% of its economic output. “Our exports last year grew by 25% and our trade with the Indo-Pacific region exceeded a record 13.5 billion dollars,” he said, adding that Hungary was performing well in cooperation with South-East Asia, and the region has been the largest investor in the country for the past three consecutive years. “So I don’t think it’s surprising that Hungary is urging pragmatic cooperation between Europe and Asia’s south-eastern region with mutual benefits in mind,” said Szijjártó. “We in Hungary have done much to improve the country’s competitiveness,” Szijjártó said, adding that it was now the EU and the European Commission’s turn to dismantle trade barriers still standing in the way of Europe developing trade relations with some of the world’s fastest growing regions.
Speaking about cooperation with China, Szijjártó said: “It must be admitted that today, irrespective of political ideology and the disputes they have created, the European economy cannot, could not, properly function without Chinese supplies, and it must be conceded too that Chinese investments have greatly contributed to Europe’s economic development and modernisation.” He called for talks on an EU-China investment protection and promotion agreement to be concluded as soon as possible.