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Hungarian MP foresees breakthrough year of bilateral relations

 Artists perform on the main square of Pecs, Hungary, Sunday, Jan. 10, 2010. as the southern Hungarian city of Pecs celebrates becoming one of the thr...

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Artists perform on the main square of Pecs, Hungary, Sunday, Jan. 10, 2010. as the southern Hungarian city of Pecs celebrates becoming one of the thr...

Taipei, Jan. 13 (CNA) Hungary is keen to further develop its relations with Taiwan and is looking to have a breakthrough year in bilateral trade, a visiting Hungarian member of parliament told the Central News Agency.
Zsolt Nemeth, chairman of the foreign affairs committee of the Hungarian Parliament, said he expects Hungary to be "the first country in central Europe to sign agreements with Taiwan on avoidance of double taxation and investment protection." Nemeth, who is in the middle of a four-day visit to Taiwan along with two other Hungarian MPs, also expected Taiwan to lift its ban on the import of Hungarian agriculture products, especially poultry, this year after they were suspended following a bird flu outbreak in Europe three years ago.
Negotiations on investment protection and double taxation avoidance agreements are in their "final phase, " he said, and once they take effect, they will benefit bilateral trade and investment.
One of the heavyweights in the Hungarian main opposition Fidesz, Nemeth said his center-right party is favored to win the upcoming election in April and form a new government, which is scheduled to take over the rotating presidency of the European Union in January 2011.
Hungary will place Asia high on its foreign policy and trade agenda because it "has a growing interest in the Asia region, " which was why the foreign affairs committee visited Japan, China and South Korea last year and arranged a similar visit this year.
Taking over the EU presidency, Hungary would like to support initiatives that would bring Europe and Asia closer, said the 46-year-old Nemeth.
Among them, he said, Hungary is in favor of visa-free treatment of Taiwan passport holders because it would help boost tourism. Some 15,000 Taiwanese visited Hungary in 2009.
Meanwhile, the Hungarian government is trying to implement wide-ranging incentives and safeguards, including tax breaks and legal frameworks, to encourage foreign companies such as Taiwan's Hon Hai Group -- which Nemeth said is "doing very well in Hungary" -- to invest in the central European country.
"Basically I'm satisfied with Taiwan-Hungary relations," he said.
"But I see a broad and vast opportunity in the future so that we should keep the momentum going forward, " said Nemeth, who is visiting Taiwan for the first time.
Commenting on cross-Taiwan Strait relations, Nemeth said that if Taiwan is able to sign a trade agreement with China, it "will be an important breakthrough in your international relations" and "a milestone of cross-strait relations." Nemeth was "impressed" by the number of flights that now exist between Taiwan and China as well as the approach of Taiwan's government to relax tensions.
"These kinds of economic focuses, steps and processes are very encouraging, " he said.
"The history of EU is reflecting the same approach. We have in Europe historical tensions... but the whole idea of the EU stemmed from the idea of 'let's do business together,'" he said, referring to the European Coal and Steel Community formed in the early 1950s.
"Accepting a one-China policy is one thing, " he went on, "but trying to secure the interests of Taiwan's people is another." As for the future, "it's up to Taiwanese people to decide about their future, " he said.
The Fidesz MPs accompanying Nemeth on the trip are Arpad Gogl, a former health minister, and Andras Kelemen, who once served as deputy foreign minister.
(By Chris Wang)

Updated : 2021-10-22 07:49 GMT+08:00