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Georgia to maintain free trade regime with CIS countries

By Messenger Staff
Tuesday, June 16
Two months from now Tbilisi will officially withdraw from the CIS. The most important thing for Georgia now therefore is to maintain its existing free trade relations with CIS countries on a bilateral level, Russia of course excluded.

Ministry of Economic Development thinks the country will not have problems in this direction. Head of the Foreign Trade Department Marina Machavariani says that Georgia has already signed bilateral agreements on free trade with CIS countries. She adds that there are also agreements on developing free economic zones with GUAM countries Azerbaijan and Ukraine, highlighting that most Georgian exports go to these countries. However there are fears that Kiev, due to its special relationship with Moscow, might not be able to fully meet its commitments to Tbilisi. Relations between Georgia and Azerbaijan are not ideal either, although the oil and gas issue connects these countries very tightly.

Leader of the Industrialists Party Zurab Tkemaladze welcomes the bilateral agreements on free trade with CIS countries but warns that our lawyers and experts should do their best to conclude good contracts for the country which take into account the national interest as well as the interests of Georgian entrepreneurs. Wrongly drawn up contracts could yield bad results, states Tkemalazde. He quotes as an example the free trade agreement with Turkey. “We import a lot from this country but export very little to it, and the trade balance is not kept,” thinks Tkemaladze.