Georgia and China signed on October 5 a memorandum of understanding on concluding the free trade negotiations.
The memorandum was signed in Tbilisi by China’s Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng and Georgian Economy Minister Dimitri Kumsishvili.
Tbilisi hopes that the treaty itself will be signed by the end of this year and it will go into force by mid-2017 after internal procedures, including its ratification by the both countries, are finalized.
According to the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, the free trade agreement, consisting of 17 chapters, will allow the two countries to trade with “the vast majority of goods with zero tariffs”.
After the free trade agreement goes into force, Chinese consumers will have greater access to high quality products like wine and fruits from Georgia, while Georgians will benefit from cheaper China-made industrial products, Xinhua news agency reported quoting Chinese Minister of Commerce Gao Hucheng, who also met Georgian PM Giorgi Kvirikashvili in Tbilisi.
Georgian officials note that agriculture products and wine are among those Georgian commodities, which would enjoy “zero tariff rates” applied immediately after the agreement enters into force without any transition period.
Georgia exported over 3.36 million 0.75-liter bottles of wine to China in the first eight months of 2016, which is 2.4-fold increase compared to the same period of 2015 when 1.18 bottles were exported to China, according to the National Wine Agency of Georgia.
China was the second largest export market for the Georgian wines in the first eight months after Russia where 14.6 million bottles were exported in the same period.
Georgia and China held first round of free trade talks in February, 2016.
“The governments of the both countries carried out efficient work and as a result negotiations were concluded in seven months,” Georgia’s Economy Minister, Dimitri Kumsishvili, said.
“I want to thank China for its constructiveness in the process of negotiations,” he added.