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Positive talks with Hungarian Minister



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No.

MT 89 Date: 28 October 1992 Joint Media Release )11/

Positive talks with Hungarian Minister

At the invitation of Dr Bela Kadar, Minister of International Economic Relations, The Hon John Kerin, Minister for Trade and Overseas Development of Australia paid a visit to Hungary

between October 24-27, 1992. The official delegation headed by Minister Kerin was accompanied by a Building and Construction Mission representing the Australian building industry.

Minister Kerin was received by Mr Arpad Goncz, the President of the Republic of Hungary and Dr Gyorgy Szabad, the Speaker of the National Assembly. He also met Dr Tamas Szabo, Minister responsible for privatisation, Dr Janos Martonyi, State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Dr Bela Torok, State Secretary of the Ministry of Finance and Dr Gyorgy Rasko, State Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture.

During the discussions the two sides exchanged views on the state of bilateral trade. They agreed that the level of current trade was very low and efforts should be made by both sides to increase it. Minister Kadar emphasized that the improved access conditions to the Hungarian market following the wide-scale liberalisation of imports have created

favourable conditions for increased exports to Hungary also from Australia.

Both sides agreed that investment flows constitute an increasingly important area of their economic relations. The growing number of Australian investment projects and joint ventures in Hungary was appreciated but there was a shared view that further efforts would be needed to call the attention of the Australian business circles to the advantages of investing

in Hungary. The Hungarian side pointed out that its Association Agreement with the European Communities and the upcoming free trade agreements with the EFTA countries and among the *Visegrad Three, respectively, improve further the

opportunities for foreign investors to use Hungary as a manufacturing base with respect to both West and East European markets.

The Australian side drew the attention to the 52.5 million USD credit line which was offered by the Australian EFIC (Export Finance and Insurance Corporation). Under this facility

Hungarian companies can buy machinery and other products from Australia with favourable credit terms. It was agreed that steps would be taken to encourage the companies of both countries to utilise this credit line.

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The two sides also exchanged views on the ongoing GATT negotiations. They agreed that a well functioning multilateral trading system resulting from the successful completion of the

Uruguay Round negotiations was an objective of both countries. It was emphasised that the major responsibility for the conclusion of the negotiations before the end of 1992 lies with the European Community and the United States. The two Ministers discussed their countries' joint efforts in the

Cairns Group of agricultural exporters. The shared the view that the Cairns Group should continue to play an important and constructive role in the final phase of the negotiations. They have reaffirmed that the Uruguay Round cannot be successfully completed without a satisfactory outcome of the agricultural negotiations.

Minister Kerin invited Dr Kadar to pay an official visit in Australia.

* "Visegrad Three" comprises Hungary, Poland and Czech and Slovak Federal Republic (CSFR)

For further information contact Simon Grose 06 277 7420