EU, Georgia Conclude Talks for Free Trade Area

As the Journal of Commerce reports, the European Union and Georgia have successfully concluded negotiations for a deep and comprehensive free trade area.

The Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) is part of the Association Agreement that will lead to closer political association and economic integration between the former Soviet nation and Europe. The DCFTA, negotiated in 17 months and seven rounds, will give Georgia better access to the EU market for its goods and services and  strengthen the export and investment performance of Georgia. The EU is Georgia’s biggest trading partner, accounting for 26.6 percent of its total trade in 2012, according to the EU.

The deal also sets a path for further reforms in trade-related policies, such as hygiene standards for agricultural products and the approximation of regulations for industrial products. It is expected to boost the inflow of European direct investment to Georgia.

Georgia’s Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze explained that “someone who invests in Georgia will not only enjoy small market of Georgia or the region, but the whole market of the European Union. And it makes the situation stable in Georgia”.

The DCFTA will be included in the nations’ bilateral association agreement, which allows for the political association and economic integration of Georgia with the EU. The DCFTA will be signed as soon as internal EU and Georgia procedures are completed.

According to Ambassador Zaldastanishvili,  Secretary General of EU-Georgia Business Council, “Traditionally, standard free trade agreements foresee mutual opening of markets for goods and services.  Deep and Comprehensive FTA will go much further – Georgian trade and trade related legislation and standards will be made compatible with those of the European Union.  DCFTA would involve a more complete elimination of barriers to trade and investment throughout various sectors of the economy. ”

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