Georgian Economy Minister Dimitri Kumsishvili met with Chinese Commerce and Transport Ministers, Zhong Shan and Li Xiaopeng, respectively, on the sidelines of the High-level Conference on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), organized jointly by the International Monetary Fund and the People’s Bank of China in Beijing.
“The Belt and Road initiative shall bring tangible benefits to all participating countries as it stimulates regional cooperation, development of infrastructure and transportation links between countries and regions,” Economy Minister Dimitri Kumsishvili said in his remarks at one of the conference panels.
“Within the BRI initiative, the member states of the trans-Caspian transport route, also known as the Middle Corridor, are given the opportunity to capture significant cargo volumes [of the EU-China trade],” the Minister noted, adding that the Georgian government was carrying out “major infrastructural projects” to further facilitate the process.
Kumsishvili listed the Anaklia Deep-Sea Port, railway modernization and the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway among its efforts, and added that he strongly believed “the planned and the ongoing activities in Georgia” would “increase awareness and competitiveness, and create additional opportunities for the Middle Corridor to become the key route in the BRI.”
Dimitri Kumsishvili touched upon the Middle Corridor at his meeting with Transport Minister Li Xiaopeng, asking for the Chinese government’s assistance in promoting the trans-Caspian transport route. “We also spoke on the possibility of China financially supporting the Middle Corridor and the cargo that could transit through it,” Kumsishvili added.
Speaking after the meeting with his Chinese counterpart on April 13, Minister Kumsishvili said Commerce Minister Shan was “very supportive” during the free trade agreement negotiations. “Today, we received another unprecedented offer of assistance by the Commerce Minister - he extended his help in promoting Georgian products on the Chinese market; he offered us to conduct numerous events in China so that more Georgian products are sold and our export grows,” he stated.
During his visit to China, Dimitri Kumsishvili also held meetings with the Director of the Middle East and Central Asia Department at the International Monetary Fund, Jihad Azour, and the President of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, Jin Liqun.