WASHINGTON — Hungary and the U.S. have signed a comprehensive trade deal that will lower duties on $180 million in imports to Hungary, including cosmetics, beginning in April.

“As a result of this agreement, U.S. exports will be more competitive in the Hungarian market, generating new market opportunities for American exporters,” U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick said in a statement.

Hungary has maintained high duties on some key U.S. exports for years, much higher than the duties applied to exports from the European Union, according to the USTR. European exporters already enjoy near duty-free access to the Hungarian market.

“We’ve had a zero for zero [duty policy] in the chemical sector for years with Canada, Japan and Europe,” said Lou Santucci, international trade vice president of the Cosmetic, Toiletry & Fragrance Association. “Because we are already at zero duties in the U.S. for cosmetics, we are asking for a quid pro quo treatment around the world.”

He noted Hungary is most likely lowering duties because it will be admitted to the EU in the next several years.

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