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Georgia-China complete free trade talks in 2016

Wednesday, February 24
Georgia has begun free trade talks with China while hosting the first round of negotiations with Chinese officials in Tbilisi.

Over two days (February 22-23) of negotiations, Georgian and Chinese officials agreed that free trade talks should be completed by the end of 2016.

The officials also planned to arrange the next round of negotiations in May 2016 with subsequent consultations to be held once every two months.

The deal will be extremely beneficial for Georgia, as it will facilitate increased business and trade turnover between the nations. Thanks to the deal, Georgia will be able to export its products to China without additional customs fees.

Establishing a free trade regime with China was initiated by Georgias former Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili when he met his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang in September 2015.

Last December, the two countries signed a Memorandum of Intent (MoI) in China.

The MoI signing was significant because it signified the official start of negotiations on a Georgia-China free trade deal.

Georgia will be the first country in the region to sign this type of agreement with China.

The friendly relations between Georgia and China have become more prominent since more Chinese companies expressed interest in investing in Georgia. In addition, Chinese tourists are becoming increasingly aware of Georgia and interested in visiting, according to statistics.

Recently, China has become one of Georgia's closest economic partners. In 2014, the trade volume between the two countries increased by 28 percent, official figures revealed.

Adjusted figures released by the National Statistics Office of Georgia, Geostat, reveal Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) in Georgia for the year 2014 amounted to $1.758 billion USD. (Agenda.ge)