From today Georgia is able to export its products to the European Union’s (EU) marketplace, which boasts a population of 500 million, with no custom tariffs.
All essential elements of the Georgia-EU Association Agreement (AA) partially came into force from September 1. Before the document can be fully implemented, the national parliaments of all 28 EU member countries must ratify the agreement. So far the document has been ratified by four countries – Romania, Bulgaria, Lithuania and Latvia.
About 80 percent of the AA – including the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) section, came into play today. This meant almost all Georgian products that enter the EU market are now exempted from taxes.
However certain regulations on Georgian products will still remain. There will be some sort of agricultural and industrial products that will be duty free but subject to quotas. Moreover, Georgian products will have to meet certain EU requirements not only when being exported but also when being consumed within the country.
"We do our best for our producers to make them able to meet EU standards as soon as possible and find their place in the EU markets,” Georgia’s State Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Alex Petriashvili said today.
"This is a very serious perspective, which the Government opened for Georgian producers by signing the AA deal with the EU.”
Georgia began negotiating with the EU on its AA deal in July 2010, while negotiations on the DCFTA started in December 2011.
During the negotiation process as many as 14 plenary sessions were held on the political section of the Agreement, six rounds of talks regarding the DCFTA and around 100 video conferences were held.
The negotiations ended in July 2013. The deal was initialed in November 2013 at the Vilnius Summit and was signed on June 27, 2014, in Brussels.
As August was not a working month for national parliaments of EU states, it was believed the ratification process of the Georgia-EU AA would resume this month. Once all 28 EU member countries approve the document, it will fully come into force.