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The News in Brief

Monday, August 24
Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister Visits China

Georgia’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Davit Dondua, who is visiting Beijing, met his Chinese counterpart Cheng Guoping to discuss growing bilateral cooperation, the Georgian Foreign Ministry said on Friday.

“[The deputy foreign ministers] noted the recent progress achieved in bilateral cooperation, especially in the trade and economic spheres,” the Georgian Foreign Ministry said. “Emphasis was placed on perspective cooperation in the frames of the New Silk Road-Economic Belt project.”

The Georgian Economics Minister, Giorgi Kvirikashvili, signed an agreement with the Chinese Commerce Minister on cooperating for the project when he visited Beijing in March. The New Silk Road–Economic Belt project was announced by Chinese President Xi Jinping in November 2014; China launched a multi-billion Silk Road Fund to invest in transport infrastructure in Central Asia and beyond to revive the old Silk Road trading route.

Georgia’s PM Irakli Gharibashvili will visit China on September 8-13 to participate in the World Economic Forum’s annual forum, also known as the ‘Summer Davos’, in the northeastern port city of Dalian. The Georgian PM’s office said that Gharibashvili will meet Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, as well as representatives of business circles during his visit to Dalian and Beijing.

In March, Georgia and China agreed to start a feasibility study of a possible free trade agreement between the two countries. According to a study by Tbilisi-based Policy and Management Consulting Group (PMCG) and China’s University of International Business and Economics, a free trade agreement between the two countries will result in 9% increase in Georgian export to China.

China was Georgia’s third largest trading partner with a turnover of USD 420.9 million in January-July, 2015, which is 9.4% decline compared to the same period of last year. Georgian exports to China increased by 55.2% year-on-year in the first seven months of 2015 to USD 67.4 million, and imports from China declined by 16.1% y/y to USD 353.5 million in January-July, 2015.

New mountain biking tracks built in Bakuriani alpine village

Mountain biking enthusiasts will soon be able to spin their wheels on a new cross-country biking track on the Bakuriani Mountain in central Georgia.

Several tracks have been constructed in the alpine village but are yet to be officially opened. A special ceremony marking the opening of the trails will be held in the coming days, said Georgian authorities.

The country’s Economy Minister together with the Mountain Resorts Development Company and Georgia’s National Tourism Administration teamed up to implement the Cycling-Park in Bakuriani project.

When operational it will be the first cycling park in Georgia that meets international standards. It was built by Slovenian specialists and basically follows the established ski tracks.

The tracks are labelled by level of difficulty and are suitable for beginner, intermediate and advanced riders. Those willing to challenge themselves can try their luck on the jumps as they wind down the mountainside.

Bakuriani will be Georgia’s second mountain resort area to offer mountain biking tracks.

On August 9 a 4.8km cross-country track opened in Gudauri for the first time.

Additionally a 50km circular track, divided into easy, medium and difficult roads, opened in Tbilisi National Park on June 30. The track was marked according to international standards and was created within a United National World Tourism Organisation project.

The Government of Georgia believed the new biking tracks would help increase the touristic season in Gudauri and Bakuriani as well as promoting an active and healthy lifestyle.

Georgian professional NBA player signs contract to train youth in Tbilisi

Georgia’s Sports Ministry has handed a property in Tbilisi to a Georgian who is a professional NBA player in the United States, playing for the Dallas Mavericks.

Zaza Pachulia, who is also the captain of Georgia’s national team, plans to establish a basketball academy in compliance with National Basketball Aassociation standards.

The space is on Tsereteli Avenue in the capital, and is handed him for a 50 year term. There are currently four playing fields at the location, as well as apartments for athletes, a training center with gym equipment and other sport items.

Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, Minister of Sports Tariel Khechikashvili, Zaza Pachulia and representatives of Tbilisi City Hall visited the location on Wednesday and met with members of the national basketball team to cheer them up and wish them good luck in the European championship.

The PM said during the meeting that the sports centre on Tsereteli was refurbished for the European Youth Olympic Festival, which recently took place in Tbilisi.

The contract with Pachulia involves training youth with Georgian, American and Turkish coaches.
(DF watch)