(Civil.Ge) — It is “realistic” to have free trade agreement with the European Union next year, President Saakashvili said Thursday, two days after EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht visited Tbilisi to open negotiations on free and comprehensive free trade area (DCFTA).
“We have opened free trade talks with the European Union and it is realistic that we will complete it next year,” Saakashvili said while visiting a new medicine manufacturing factory, AbiPharm, close to Tserovani, a settlement where families displaced as a result of the August 2008 war live.
“It is realistic for Georgia to have a deep and comprehensive free trade agreement with the European Union from next year,” he said.
He said that Turkey managed to double its economy through having customs union with the European Union and Georgia’s DCFTA with EU would be “more than Turkey has with EU in terms of free trade.”
“And on the other hand we will also have free trade agreement with the United States,” he said referring to an announcement by President Obama after meeting with Georgian President in January that possibility of free trade agreement with Georgia would be explored.
Saakashvili said that with free trade agreements both with the EU and the U.S. Georgia would turn into a major economic hub in the region
EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht was in Moldova and Georgia earlier this week to open DCFTA negotiations with these countries.
Georgia’s PM Nika Gilauri said after meeting with the EU Trade Commissioner on February 28 in Tbilisi, that series of negotiation rounds on DCFTA would be held in next 18-24 months.
Karel De Gucht could not specify when the negotiations would be completed, but said in an interview with RFE/RL on February 27, that it would not take as long as it took in case of Ukraine, which was negotiating DCFTA with the EU from May, 2008 to October, 2011.