Georgia’s Economy Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili and China’s Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng have agreed to launch feasibility study of possible bilateral free trade agreement between the two countries.
The two ministers signed a joint statement in Beijing on March 9 according to which working groups will be set up “in following months” to explore economic benefits from possible free trade agreement, the Georgian Economy Ministry said.
“The statement itself already represents an important positive signal, which will foster further increase of economic activities between Georgia and China,” it said.
The Georgian Economy Minister and Chinese Commerce Minister have also signed an agreement on cooperation in frames of “New Silk Road – Economic Belt” project, which 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.
Kvirikashvili also met general manager of Silk Road Fund Wang Yanzhi in Beijing on March 9.
He praised the agreement on cooperation in frames of the New Silk Road project as “really a historic moment.”
“It gives new momentum to bilateral economic relations between our countries and opens absolutely new potential for cooperation with China’s huge and fast growing economy. Georgia is gaining an important partner; it means new infrastructure, new transit routes, new export potential and new jobs,” said Kvirikashvili, who also holds deputy PM’s post.
“We have also discussed Anaklia deep-see port project and encouraging Chinese companies to get involved in the construction of this port. There is a full readiness from China to make this port project a success and to make this port an important part of the New Silk Road,”
Two Chinese companies are among seven firms and consortia, which have been shortlisted by the Georgian authorities for Anaklia port project.
During the visit the Georgian Economy Minister also met China’s National Tourism Administration chairman Li Jinzao.