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Georgian PM concludes his visit to Italy

By Tea Mariamidze
Friday, March 10
Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili has finished his official visit to Italy, where he met his Italian counterpart, Paolo Gentiloni, and other officials.

The Prime Ministers discussed trade-economic and investment potential between the countries, as well as cooperation in the fields of agriculture, energy and tourism.

They also pointed out the dynamic cultural, education and science, defense and security cooperation between Georgia and Italy.

Kvirikashvili and Gentiloni stressed the issue of Georgia's European and Euro-Atlantic integration. The Italian PM welcomed the finalization of the EU's visa waiver for Georgia.

The parties also discussed regional challenges and the developments in Georgia's occupied territories. Paolo Gentiloni reaffirmed the Italian Government's firm support for Georgia's territorial integrity.

Kvirikashvili also met with NATO Parliamentary Assembly President, Paolo Alli.

The parties discussed Georgia's North-Atlantic integration and the implementation of the Substantial NATO-Georgia Package, also commending Georgia's significant progress in this direction.

During the meeting it was announced that Tbilisi will host the 2017 NATO Parliamentary Assembly Spring Session on May 26-29.

After the meeting with the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Angelino Alfano, the Georgian PM participated in an Italy-Georgia Business Forum held on March 8 in Rome, where more than 250 leading Italian and Georgian companies were represented.

Kvirikashvili introduced Italian businesspersons to some of the features of Georgia's attractive business environment, including low rates, light market regulations, easy physical and normative market access, the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) with the EU, the country's geo-strategic location, the high-speed train system and highways, and ongoing reforms seeking to promote economic growth and businesses.

The Prime Minister also provided leading Italian business representatives with detailed information on Georgia's investment opportunities and the Government's four-point reform agenda. According to him, Georgia is open for business.

“Enhancing trade relations between our countries is a top priority, and I think we can achieve that through partnerships at all levels. But, what we hope for is that Italian businesses will view Georgia as a Launchpad for production and distribution to other markets in the region,” Kvirikashvili said.

The forum's participants were also addressed by Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Angelino Alfano, who emphasized the exceptionally close bilateral ties between Georgia and Italy.

"Italy has always supported Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity. Georgia is a dynamic democracy, implementing a number of successful reforms, as evidenced by international ratings," Angelino Alfano said.

During the Italy-Georgia Business Forum, a memorandum of cooperation was signed between the Italian SACE export credit agency and Georgia's Partnership Fund. A similar memorandum was also signed between the Georgian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Italian Chamber of Commerce.

When summing up the visit, Kvirikashvili said that Georgia-Italy relations had advanced to a new stage.

"It has been a very important visit. We enjoy important political relations with Italy. Georgia's exceptional role in the region was emphasized at numerous meetings. Hundreds of Italian companies attended business forum and many take great interest in investing in Georgia. We signed very important agreements. We hope that this visit will mark the beginning of a new phase. We have been assured that our relations will advance to a new strategic level," the Prime Minister stated.