(Civil.Ge) — Officials from the Georgian Economy Ministry and Chinese Ministry of Commerce held first round of talks on free trade agreement between the two countries in Tbilisi on February 22-23.
“We have agreed on a joint goal to complete free trade negotiations by the end of 2016,” Georgian chief negotiator and deputy economy minister, Genadi Arveladze, told journalists on February 23, adding that meetings between negotiators will be held once in two months.
“We will try to achieve maximum liberalisation of customs duties and taxes for export of Georgian products to the Chinese market,” he said.
China was Georgia’s fourth largest trading partner in 2015 with turnover of USD 712.7 million. Exports to China increased by 39.1% y/y to USD 125.8 million last year, mostly due to hike in export of copper ores and concentrates. Imports from China were down by 19.9% to USD 586.9 million in 2015.
Georgia’s Economy Minister Dimitri Kumsishvili said in December when he signed a memorandum with China on launch of free trade talks, that the Georgian side would especially focus on gaining preferential regime for exporting of the Georgian wine and agriculture products to China.
Georgia exported 2.67 million 0.75-liter bottles of wine to China in 2015, up by 122% compared to 2014, according to the National Wine Agency of Georgia.