After 22 years, Georgia-Turkey pledge to enhance agricultural ties

The volume of Georgia’s exports is on a slight downward trend while imports are on the rise, according to latest information by the country’s National Statistics Office, Geostat. Photo by N. Alavidze/, 18 Aug 2016 - 15:12, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgia and Turkey have taken a major step forward to enhance bilateral trade relations.

Today representatives from both countries pledged to enhance agricultural cooperation – strengthening the bilateral partnership for the first time in 22 years.

In Georgia’s capital Tbilisi today Georgia’s Agriculture Minister Otar Danelia hosted his Turkish counterpart Faruk Celik.

Danelia said enhancing bilateral agricultural relations was a positive step forward however "our trade relations with Turkey need revision and further improvement”.

Celik, Turkey’s Minister of Food, Agriculture and Livestock, is in Georgia to attend a Georgia-Turkey business forum. He sat down with Danelia before the forum began to discuss Georgia-Turkey trade relations.

At the meeting the two ministers agreed on various ways to boost exports between the countries. While talking about promising export products, Danelia and Celik believed there was potential to increase export/import of nuts, meat, honey and grapes.

Celik came to Georgia accompanied by 44 Turkish businessmen to participate in the bilateral forum and meet members of Georgia’s business society. Up to 40 Turkish companies functioning in Georgia will also take part in the event.

Meanwhile today it’s expected the Georgia-Turkey joint working group on agriculture-related issues will meet for the first time in 22 years. This will be the second meeting of this kind. The parties are due to discuss ways to deepen agricultural relations between the nations.

The first joint working group meeting was held in 1994.

This will be the first meeting in 22 years where Georgia and Turkey will strengthen our agricultural partnership. We agreed to arrange annual meetings for the future,” said Danelia.

Turkey is one of Georgia’s top trading partners. Despite this Turkey’s share of agriculture was only about 10 percent, to which both ministers agreed agricultural trade relations needed further improvement.

Our trade turnover is quiet low at this stage and we want to improve it,” Danelia said.

Figures released by the National Statistics Office of Georgia (Geostat) revealed Turkey was Georgia’s second largest trading partner in the first half of 2016 with $778 million turnover. Georgia’s top trade partner was Canada ($1.3 billion) and the third largest was Russia ($390 million).