New Checkpoint of Sarpi Customs Opens at Georgia-Turkey Border

A new passenger throughfare, equipped with modern infrastructure, was opened at Sarpi customs, in south-west Georgia on the border with Turkey.

Georgia’s Finance Ministry recognizes that modern customs infrastructure, unimpeded delivery of customs services and efficient handling of procedures play an important role for Georgian citizens, foreign visitors and businesses.

“That is why we continue the process of developing customs infrastructure. Cooperation with neighboring Turkey, one of Georgia's major trading partners, is particularly important in this regard,” the Ministry stated.

The new passage was opened by the Minister of Finance of Georgia, Ivane Matchavariani, the Deputy Minister of Trade of the Republic of Turkey, Gonca Ylmaz Batur, the Chairman of the Government of the Autonomous Republic of Ajara, Tornike Rizvadze and the Head of the Revenue Service of the Ministry of Finance, Vakhtang Lashkaradze.

During the event, a bilateral meeting of the Georgian and Turkish delegations was held and Customs Officers were rewarded for their honesty and professionalism.

Reconstruction works on the Sarpi customs checkpoint began in March this year to improve passenger traffic. Construction and renovation of the entrance hall and exit tunnels were carried out and the territory adjacent to the customs checkpoint was also developed.

The Georgian Finance Ministry says the upgraded infrastructure will facilitate the comfortable movement of citizens between the two countries, simplifying crossing procedures and harmonizing the customs services of Georgia and Turkey.

The Sarpi border checkpoint opened in 2011 on Georgia’s Black Sea coast, on the border between Georgia and Turkey. It is primarily known for its unique architectural monument, a white, undulating sculptural building that suggests a towering stack of smooth beach rocks, and for the winding coastline where the small town of Sarpi lies.

Sarpi not only facilitates trade through the transportation of goods between Georgia and Turkey, but also supports Georgia-Turkey relations economically, culturally and socially. It is expected that the renewed infrastructure will give rise to further trade and closer relations between the two countries.

Minister Matchavariani said that Turkey and Georgia are not only friend states but major trade partners as well.

“Today, it is well-known that the smooth operation of customs and high level services play a huge role in deepening economic relations between the two countries and the development of international trade. To do this, our government is constantly working to refine and simplify legislation, improve infrastructure and develop services,” he said.

The Minister underlined that the new Customs Code in Georgia is fully harmonized with EU legislation and, along with modern customs infrastructure, it meets the requirements of European standards.

“Customs procedures between Georgia and the EU have been simplified. Georgian and EU businessmen have the same custom regulation environment, simple and fair rules. The expenses for foreign trade have been significantly reduced and today it is our task to fully implement the concept of digital customs, which implies providing customs services electronically,” Matchavariani added.

He noted that modern customs infrastructure, smooth delivery of services and efficient handling of customs procedures play an important role in the lives of Georgians and foreign visitors too.

"Georgia has achieved great success in this regard. One example is the Sarpi Customs Checkpoint, where procedures are carried out on a one-stop basis in a short period of time," the Minister said, going on to underline that as a result of infrastructure works carried out at Sarpi, the crossing capacity of the checkpoint has been significantly increased and border crossing has become more comfortable.

“I would like to thank all those whose efforts made this project possible. We are ready to take even more energetic steps to deepen our relationship. Good luck to both our countries," he said.

To note, in January-August 2019, Turkey was the top trading partner for Georgia ($1.14 billion), followed by Russia ($903.9 million) and Azerbaijan ($682.5 million).

By Thea Morrison

30 September 2019 15:58