By way of further development of the country`s economy, facilitation of the trade and liberalization of its tax regime, Georgia has signed an agreement with China on the creation of free trade zones in Georgia.
The China-Georgia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) was ratified in May 2017 and the Memorandum of Understanding was signed by Chinese Vice Minister of Commerce and Georgia's First Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development, at the "Tbilisi Belt and Road Forum" on November 28. The FTA has come into effect as of January 1, 2018. This Free Trade Agreement will create more space for trade, services and investment activities within the Eurasian area covering 17 items, such as trade in goods, services and intellectual property rights. It also includes new topics such as e-commerce, market competition and the environment.
Currently, Georgian exports to China include copper ore, iron ore, nuts, wine, spirits, gold and semi-finished products. China exports construction machinery, manufacturing equipment, steel, electronics, textiles, garments and household appliances to Georgia.
With the agreement entering into force Georgia has eliminated tariffs on 96.5%of Chinese exports, while almost 91%of China’s imports from Georgia have become tariff-free immediately. A further 3 percent will be exempted from tariffs within five years.
As stated by Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Georgia prime minister, “Georgia is the only country in the region which has free trade agreements with both the EU and China.” At this moment, Georgia has 4 FTAs signed with European countries - Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. The EU and China are among Georgia’s largest trading partners and Georgia has become an 11th country which has concluded such FTA with China and is the only country in the region with a free trade agreement with China. Other countries which have free trade agreements with China are mostly located in Western Europe or in the Far East.
Years ago, caravans loaded with silk and spices from China traveled all the way to Europe and the British Isles. The new “Silk Road” - by means of highways, railways and – will carry the modern "silk and spices" - energy, natural resources, manufactured goods - via Georgia thus restoring its strategic importance as a transportation-infrastructural hub of the region and a transit corridor between Europe and Asia.