EU Free Trade Negotiations Concluded Successfully
25 July, 2013
Negotiations between Georgia and the EU on unfettered trade were successfully concluded. On July 22, 2013 the EU and Georgia concluded negotiations for a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA), as part of the Association Agreement between them. The conclusion of the negotiation process is a huge step forward before the upcoming Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius in November, 2013. The work on the legal expertise of the agreement text and preparation procedures for signing started immediately.
According to
Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia, one of the main priorities of the Government of Georgia is to conclude the negotiations as soon as possible and with high quality. According to the Minister, “It proves Georgia’s European choice and it is worth of mentioning that as a negotiation process has shown, Georgia has close and effective co-operation with its European partners based on mutual confidence and understanding”.
Within the framework of the Agreement, after it comes into force, Georgia will have possibility to export goods and services to the EU market. According to Kvirikashvili, after fulfillment of certain conditions, DCFTA will boost access for Georgian entrepreneurs to the largest markets worldwide that brings together 28 countries and over 500 million consumers. The free flow of goods and services will promote Georgian export potential increase. The EU is Georgia’s biggest trading partner accounting for 27% of its total trade and averages USD 2.8 billion. Annual export amounts to USD 400 million accounting for 15-16% of overall export of Georgia. Annual import averages USD 2.4 billion accounting for 29-31% of overall import. Georgia’s main export goods are: nut and walnut, wine, mineral waters, spirituous beverages, fruit and vegetable juices, non-alcoholic beverages, leather, mineral fertilizers, coppers ores and concentrates; ferrous metal and scrap copper and remains and manganese oxides.
The EU has signed Preferential Trade Agreements with 45 countries. Within the framework of DCFTA negotiations are being held with Moldova and Armenia. The agreement with Ukraine has already been initiated. Kvirikashvili accentuated that the most important thing is that Agreement implies not only the import tariff liberalization, but removing technical barriers in trade. According to him “Access to the EU- the largest and the richest market is an impetus for business and export development in Georgia. The Agreement also significantly increases the inflow of direct investment to Georgia”.
The six rounds of the negotiations of the Agreement on DCFTA were held in Tbilisi and Brussels; several video conferences were also held. All the corresponding ministries and departments of Georgia participated in the negotiation process headed by the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia.