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Georgia and China launch negotiations on signing Free Trade Agreement

By Tea Mariamidze
Monday, December 14
According to the Minister of Economics and Sustainable Development of Georgia, Dimitry Kumsishvili, negotiations on signing a Free Trade Agreement between Georgia and China have been launched.

During a government session on December 11, Kumsishvili noted that the first round of trade talks between Georgia and China will be held in January, which will likely be concluded by October 2016.

It should be mentioned that the Georgian Economics Minister paid an official visit to China on December 10, wherein he signed a Memorandum of Intent (MoI) about starting negotiations on a free trade agreement with the Deputy Minister of Commerce of China, Zhong Shan.

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

“For our country, this is an event of the outmost importance. I would like to point out that today we have preferential trade regimes for a market of 800 million people, but after signing the Agreement, we will have access to China’s market with about 2.2billion consumers,” he said noting that the amount of direct foreign investments will increase, new jobs will be created in Georgia and traditional sectors will be developed between the two countries.

The Minister stated that the Georgian delegation had made special accents on Georgian wine and agricultural products.

“We put emphasis on Georgian wine and agricultural products and we are convinced that upon the completion of the negotiations, Georgian wine will gain preferential terms of entering China market,” said Kumsishvili.

Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili spoke about the importance of the MoI signing at the government session. He noted that after signing free trade agreement with China, Georgia will become a “unique hub and a connecting link between Europe and Asia.”

Georgia will be the first country in the region to sign this type of agreement with China, which already has free trade treaties with the EU, Turkey, Russia and other nations in the Commonwealth of Independent States.