Georgia Recognizes China as One of its Main Trade Partners

Chinese entrepreneurs are increasingly investing in Georgia’s economy. To coordinate efforts to attract investment and intensify trade relations between the two countries, representatives of the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia conducted a business visit to China to establish the Trading and Investment Council.

The business trip opened with the China-Georgia Investment Forum, where the Georgian side presented a USD 7 billion investment portfolio. The Minister of Economy, Dimitry Kumsishvili, claimed that these projects should be interesting for many of the 100 Chinese companies gathered at the Forum.

“Chinese companies have been successfully operating in different sectors in Georgia such as construction, roads and infrastructure, energy, the banking sector and more. China is Georgia’s fourth largest trade partner and second largest in terms of export. China takes nine percent of Georgia’s entire exports,” stated the Minister.

Among recent joint projects between China and Georgia, Kumsishvili named the Free Trade talks among the most important, which started in 2015 with a deal expected to come into force in late 2016. He also discussed establishing a joint Trade and Investment Council to facilitate the exchange of information about entrepreneurs, attract investors, and develop trade, as well as to develop the ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative that aims to offer many new opportunities to countries along the Silk Road.

The issue of import was also a priority during the Minister's visit, as China recently became leading importers of Georgian wine, with only Russia and Ukraine buying more bottles than the Chinese. In recent months Georgia has strongly focused on expanding its wine exports to China and has opened several Wine Houses to raise awareness of Georgian wine.

During the business visit, the Minister of Economy not only attended the opening of the new Georgian wine boutique in the capital of China’s southeast Jiangxi Province, Nanchang (see page 6), but signed an agreement to sell wines on the E-SilkRoad website. The first Georgian company to sell its wine there will be the Dugladze Wine Company, which will initially export 300,000 bottles of wine for online purchase.

The idea to make Georgian wine available online was supported by the Silk Road Chamber of International Commerce, which is an international non-governmental organization that aims to promote the renaissance of the Silk Road and enable business participation in the investment and trade opportunities it offers.

The Minister held a meeting with CEFC China Chairman, Ye Jianming. CEFC China generates most of its revenue from oil and gas (60 percent) and financial services (25 percent), but operates also in a wide range of other sectors like transport infrastructure, forestry, asset management, hotel management, warehousing services, real estate development and logistics services.

Regarding Georgia, CEFC China has shown readiness to open a regional office in Georgia to cover the region and Eastern Europe. Moreover, the company is interested in making investments in the banking sector, power system and tourism business of Georgia.

During the visit, Kumsishvili also held other official meetings and visited the port and Industrial Zone in Shanghai. He further took part in an evening of Georgian wine and other cultural events, organized by the National Wine Agency of Georgia and the Chinese Silk Road Chamber of International Commerce.

Eka Karsaulidze

01 August 2016 16:15