Georgia-China will complete free trade talks in 2016

Georgia and China will hold the next round of free trade talks in May 2016. Photo by N. Alavidze/, 23 Feb 2016 - 14:46, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgia has begun free trade talks with China while hosting the first round of negotiations with Chinese officials in capital Tbilisi.

Over two days (February 22-23) of negotiations Georgian and Chinese officials agreed free trade talks should be completed by the end of 2016.

The officials also planned to arrange the next round of negotiations in May 2016 and all following consultations to be held once every two months.

The deal will be extremely beneficial for Georgia as it will facilitate increased business and trade turnover between the nations. Thanks to the deal Georgia will be able to export its products to China without additional customs fees.

Establishing a free trade regime with China was initiated by Georgia’s former Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili when he met his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang in September 2015.

Last December the two countries signed a Memorandum of Intent (MoI) in China.

The MoI signing was significant because it signified the official start of negotiations on a Georgia-China free trade deal.

Georgia will be the first country in the region to sign this type of agreement with China.

The friendly relations between Georgia and China were noticeable since more Chinese companies expressed interest in investing in Georgia. Meanwhile, not only the business community but Chinese tourists were also more aware and interested in Georgia, statistics showed.

Recently China has become one of Georgia's closest economic partners. In 2014 the trade volume between the two countries increased by 28 percent, official figures revealed.

Adjusted figures released by the National Statistics Office of Georgia, Geostat, reveal Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) in Georgia for the year 2014 amounted to $1.758 billion USD.