Minister of Agriculture Sándor Fazekas and United States Ambassador to Hungary Coleen Bradley Bell agreed that the signing of the free trade agreement between the EU and the USA, which is currently under development, was on the whole a positive step, although Hungary voiced several concerns during the course of the meeting.

Further negotiations are required, for instance with regard to maintaining the country’s constitutionally prescribed GMO-free status and with relation to geographical indications and denominations of origin, Mr. Fazekas said. Ambassador Bell stressed that the American party respected the Hungarian standpoint on these issues and reinforced the importance of transparency during the negotiation process.

During the meeting, which was held in a friendly atmosphere, the parties reviewed current issues relating to Hungarian-American cooperation on agriculture and the environment. They agreed on the need to further develop cooperation on research and acknowledged the results achieved by the National Agricultural Research and Innovation Centre.

They agreed that the full exploitation of scholarship programmes that enable American students to attend university in Hungary was important in the interests of laying the foundations for future cooperation, stressing that all places for Hungarian students within the Fulbright scholarship program are regularly filled every year.

During the meeting, Minister Fazekas informed Ambassador Bell about a future programme to promote Hungarian wines and Hungaricums in the US, in addition to which the parties also discussed the Russian embargo.

(Ministry of Agriculture)