On May13, Free Trade Agreement was signed between the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia and the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China.
Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia, Giorgi Gakharia and the Minister of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China, Zhong Shan signed the Agreement. First Vice Prime Minister of Georgia Dimitry Kumsishvili, the CEO of the Partnership Fund David Saganelidze as well as the other members of the Georgian Government, Georgian Parliament and representatives of private sector also attended the signing ceremony.
Georgia is the first country in the region to sign the Free Trade Agreement with the People’s Republic of China.
“Georgia is a country of a small and open economy. Our export to China is increasing permanently during the recent years. We find a lot of prospects in achieving free trade regimes with such a large economies since we believe that Georgia should become the most comfortable, convenient and attractive platform for trade relations between the huge economies. We do realize that our export capability is limited and we do not evaluate this Agreement only in terms of export. We are looking forward to becoming a trade platform. This Agreement is of paramount importance in this regard and we should continue effective work on signing similar documents with other countries” – Giorgi Gakharia noted.
Upon the signing of the Free Trade Agreement with China, Georgia will be able to export its goods and services to one of the largest markets in the world with 1.4 billion customers. Georgian entrepreneurs will be able to export their production to the China market without additional duty rates.
“This is a very important day for Georgia in terms of development of international investments, trade and relations between the people. This is an Agreement that places Georgia-China relations onto the much higher level. Negotiations on the Free Trade Agreement were launched in May 2015, when the Giorgi Kvirikashvili, who was the Vice Prime Minister at that point, and the China Commerce Minister signed the Memorandum on Launching Free Trade Agreement Feasibility Study. Today we have an Agreement that transfers the relations between the two countries onto a qualitatively new level. I would like to congratulate Georgian as well as China business sector on signing such an important Agreement,” – Dimitry Kumsishvili stated after the signing ceremony.
The Agreement will free the exported Georgian goods from the customs taxes by almost 94%. Exported good to China from Georgia include wine, hazelnut, honey, mineral water, beer, non-alcoholic beverages, jams, juices, vegetables, fruits, chocolate products, tea, fish and other seafood, cereals, medicines, cables, plastic products, nitrogen and mineral fertilizers, ferrosilicomanganese, locomotives, etc.
It should be noted that negotiations on Free Trade Agreement between Georgia and China were concluded in an incredibly short period of time of only 7 months. Decision on launching negotiations on the Free Trade Agreement between Georgia and China was taken by the Prime Ministers of Georgia and China on September 10, 2015 at the World Economic Forum held in Daliyan, China. The parties held three full-scale rounds of negotiation and two working meetings. Working groups discussed such important issues as trade of goods and service, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, technical barriers to trade, protection measures in trade, rules of origin, institutional provisions and environmental issues.
Negotiations on the Free Trade Agreement between Georgia and China were scheduled to be accomplished by the end of 2016. However, the parties, upon the effective and productive cooperation, managed to achieve to agree on every provision of the Agreement only in three rounds.
China is Georgia’s important trade partner. The bilateral trade relations between Georgia and China over the last three years have the trend of growth. According to the data of 2016, China takes the 4th position in terms of turnover of Georgia's largest partner countries and is on the 3rd place in terms of export. Especially important is the increase of the export of such products as wine, spirits, beer, mineral waters, etc.
People’s Republic of China was one of the first countries that recognized Georgia’s independence, establishes diplomatic relations and opened the Embassy in Tbilisi. China supports Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Intergovernmental Economic Commission that discusses topical economic and trade issues, is the important part of the bilateral relations between the two countries.
China has 14 Free Trade Agreements with over 24 states and regions worldwide and now Georgia is in the list as well. Georgia has signed Free Trade Agreements with the EU, Turkey, the CIS member-states, European Free Trade Association and China.
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