China and Georgia have officially completed substantive negotiations on the China-Georgia Free Trade Agreement, creating more space for economic and investment activities with the Eurasian area, the Ministry of Commerce announced on Oct 18.
“The agreement covered 17 chapters including trade in goods, service trade, intellectual property and rules. It also included new topics such as e-commerce, market competition and environment,” said Shen Danyang, the ministry’s spokesman.
The agreement sees the scrapping of tariffs for the majority of trade in goods between the two countries, a commitment to further open the service sector, optimize trade rules and clarify the major fields to strengthen business ties.
Shen said China-Georgia FTA negotiations realized the goals of comprehensive content and balanced interests.
“The signing of the agreement will consolidate and promote China-Georgia economic and trade relations,” said Shen. “It is also significant to the implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative and China’s FTA strategic layout in the region.”
The FTA negotiations were launched in December 2015, followed by three rounds of formal negotiations and three informal consultations.
Bilateral trade between China and Georgia totaled $713 million in 2015. China ranked the country’s fourth-largest trade partner after Turkey, Russia and Azerbaijan, data released by Beijing-based China Council for the Promotion of International Trade show.
He Jingtong, a professor of trade policy at Nankai University in Tianjin, said even though Georgia’s economic scale cannot compare with China, there will be considerable benefits for Chinese companies to establish joint ventures in the country. Georgia has free trade agreements with one-third of the world, including the European Union, Turkey and Russia.