US Congressmen raise possibility of free trade deal with Georgia

Thu 28 Jun 2018 03:46 GMT | 07:46 Local Time

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US Congressmen are urging US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to start negotiations with Georgia on a free trade regime, Agenda reports.

"As strong supporters of our bilateral relationship between the United States and the Republic of Georgia we write this letter to you to strongly consider initiating of bilateral trade agreement negotiations with Georgia”, read the letter that congressmen sent to Lighthizer on June 26.

The letter emphasises Georgia’s key position between Iran, Turkey and Russia and its position as a gateway to the countries of Central Asia.

"Georgia's critical location between Iran, Turkey, and Russia makes it an attractive partner for a mutually beneficial free trade agreement. Georgia is a gateway to eight landlocked Central Asian countries, with a combine market size of 120 million people and a combined economy of $300 billion. It is also serves as an alternative energy supply route from Asia to Europe. Increased trade with Georgia may also provide unique opportunities for the US to increase its economic presence and influence in the South Caucasus and Central Asia”, read the letter.

In this letter, the congressmen highlight the recent economic reforms that Georgia has implemented in order to create a better environment for the investors. In their words, deepening economic integration between the US and Georgia would further increase peace, stability and economic development in the region.

"At a time of negative regional economic pressures caused by an increase in Russian aggression through disruptive economic and trade practices, a trade deal between the United States and Georgia has never been more important... Given the economic and geostrategic importance of the American-Georgian relationship, we once again strongly encourage you to launch negotiations of a bilateral trade agreement”, read the letter.

A free trade agreement between Georgia and the US would significantly increase the export value of both parties, promote investments and facilitate the creation of new jobs, read the study conducted by the international consultancy company PWC following the request of the Georgian government.

Georgia’s former Economy Minister Dimitry Kumsishvili introduced the study results to the US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Louis Ross back in May 2018 and raised the issue of establishing a free trade regime between Georgia and the US.

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