PM: Suspending Georgia-Russia free trade treaty “not a tragedy”

Georgian PM and Defence Minister on the Vasiani Military Base today. Photo by PM Press-Office, 31 Jul 2014 - 16:17, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgia’s Prime Minister believes Russia’s suspension of its bilateral free trade agreement with Georgia is "not a big tragedy”.

Irakli Garibashvili commented on this topic from the Vasiani Military Base where he attended military trainings of Georgian soldiers.

He said Georgian officials would begin discussing the issue in the near future.

"Yesterday I spoke with my special representative Zurab Abashidze and we will have a conversation with the Russian side. This is not a very big tragedy. After we have that conversation, we will make a comment,” PM Garibashvili said.

Georgia’s Minister of Defence Irakli Alasania, who also attended the military occasion, responded to Russia’s decision and noted suspension of this agreement will not cause great financial damage to Georgia.

Alasania said this decision was directly related to Georgia’s signing of the Association Agreement (AA) with the European Union (EU).

"This was declared by the Russian side. I do not see a tragedy in this. We follow trade rules of the world,” he said.

"Both sides are members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), therefore our relationship will continue following [WHO] regulations,” Alasania said.

"I believe our products have a greater future in European countries. The AA will allow us to become established in new markets. I think there will be no tragic or very big financial damage to Georgia,” he said.

Yesterday Russian media reported Russia’s Ministry of Economic Development had developed a draft law to suspend the Georgia-Russia free trade agreement, which was signed on February 3, 1994.

Russian media stated the suspension of Russia’s free trade agreement with Georgia had been agreed by other agencies within the Russian Federation, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Economic Development and Ministry of Justice.