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Georgia signs free trade agreement with China

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, May 15

Georgia is the first country in the Caucasus region which has signed a free trade agreement with China, which opens a 1.4 billion consumer market for Georgian products.

China has signed 14 such agreements with more than 24 countries and regions so far.

Georgia launched talks with China over the deal in March 2015 and successfully concluded the negotiations in “record time”, Georgia’s Economy Minister Giorgi Gakharia said after signing the agreement in China on May 13.

“Georgia is a country with a small economy, but we are also a country which consistently increases export to China.

“We see a lot of potential through signing such deals with such big economies as China is,” Gakharia said.

The Minister stressed the agreement provided a “higher lever” of cooperation between Georgia and China.

The Economy Ministry reported after signing the deal that 94 percent of Georgian products would be free from customs fees when exported to China.

Among the products were wine, nuts, honey, mineral waters, beer, soft drinks, juices, vegetables, fruit, chocolate, tea, fish and many others.

Georgia’s Deputy Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani said the deal would be a “very good” signal for investors to put money into the Georgian economy.

As well as China, Georgia has free trade deals with Turkey, the European Union (EU), the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries of Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, and with the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), namely Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.