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Georgian PM urges backing for Tbilisi Silk Road Forum

By Tea Mariamidze
Friday, January 23
Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Gharibashvili has held several meetings in the frame of the World Economic Forum 2015 in Davos, Switzerland. It has been revealed through the meetings that the Netherland’s trade mission will visit Georgia in 2015.

Trade turnover between Georgia and the Netherlands increased in 2014. The Netherlands has now taken the leading position among the countries which make investments in Georgia.

The PM also called on delegates at the World Economic Forum to support the launch of an annual gathering of leaders of interested states and international bodies that would be known as the Tbilisi Silk Road Forum.

The PM’s statement reads that the forum, to be held in the heart of the geopolitical crossroads of Europe and Asia, would explore the benefits and practicalities of revitalizing the historic Silk Road and enhancing cooperation in transport, energy, trade and people-to-people contacts.

"This area has always been a hub for intensive trade and economic interactions" said the PM in remarks prepared for a panel discussion on growth markets.

"Today, Georgia enjoys free-trade with a marketplace of almost 1 billion consumers across the Eurasian continent."

Gharibashvili called for new channels of economic cooperation to unleash the potential of Europe's frontier economies.

"The sustainable development of the wider Eurasian region will largely depend upon strengthening channels of communication across this vast area." Outlining road, rail and shipping projects, the PM added: "The region needs fast, cost-effective and reliable routes for delivering goods from China to Europe."

The PM also emphasized the importance of energy pipelines, many of which go through Georgia: "They will change the energy map of the entire region."

Speaking at a panel discussion on travel and trade in a high-risk era, Gharibashvili defended the importance of open border policy, based on trade and visa liberalization, cross-border cooperation and respect for international law.

Georgia, he said, had been successful in implementing effective border management policy and the potential from integration into the world's leading markets was substantial.

"I am convinced the Tbilisi forum offers great potential to promote, inter-alia, open border policy, and I hope it will benefit from your support and interest," said the PM.