Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó spoke at the American Chamber of Commerce’s business forum on Monday, as reported by ATV. Responding to questions by the press corps, he spoke about the fact that the government has reached an agreement with the OECD on an acceptable version of the global minimum tax for Hungary. The Foreign Minister said that he had ‘clearly signalled this’ to Washington, and the Minister of Finance subsequently requested ‘reopening’ negotiations on the double taxation avoidance treaty. ‘However, the US administration is not yet ready to do so,’ Szijjártó added.
He also lamented the termination of the double taxation avoidance agreement, but welcomed the fact that
Republican leaders in the US have ‘promised to re-sign it in case of a change of government.’
Last year, the United States terminated the 1979 double taxation avoidance agreement with Hungary. According to Szijjártó, the US took this step in response to the Hungarian government not giving its consent to the introduction of the global minimum tax. The Orbán administration did not want to take action on the matter until negotiations with the OECD were successful, but an agreement has been reached by now. Still according to the minister, this new development ‘does not endanger Hungarian jobs’ and ‘does not harm the competitiveness of the country.’ As for why the US is not opening up to Hungary despite this, the minister simply said ‘because they don’t want to.’
As the Hungarian news agency MTI reports, Szijjártó also spoke about how currently economic cooperation is the most successful pillar of the relationship between the United States and Hungary, and the government counts on American companies present in Hungary to ‘keep the relationship alive’ between the two countries. The Foreign Minister highlighted how much of a ‘naïve illusion’ it turned out to be that calmer times would come after the coronavirus pandemic, as hoped by many at the beginning of last year. The war in Ukraine broke out, and as a result, the global economy turned upside down for the second time in a short period. He also called it a ‘big mistake’ that ‘Europe has competed with the United States, the world’s leading military power, in providing defence assistance to Ukraine.’
Szijjártó went on to say that
American companies make up the second-largest investment community in Hungary, employing approximately 107,000 people at 1,700 companies.
In 2022, bilateral trade between the two nations reached record levels, with a 16 per cent increase compared to the previous high. In the past eight years, the government has supported 103 American investments with approximately $2 billion in subsidies, Szijjártó added. Negotiations to this effect are also currently underway with eight companies.