Georgia to Sign Trade Agreement with European Free Trade Association

Georgia is set to sign a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) on 27 June, 2016 during the EFTA Ministerial Meeting in Bern, Switzerland.

The third and final round of negotiations on an FTA between the EFTA States (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland) and Georgia was held from 24th to 26th February, 2016 in Tbilisi, Georgia.

The Agreement will comprise the following: Trade in Goods, Rules of Origin, Trade in Services, Establishment, Intellectual Property Rights, Government Procurement, Competition, Trade and Sustainable Development and Legal and Institutional Issues (including Dispute Settlement, General and Final Provisions).

The Georgian delegation was led by Genadi Arveladze, Deputy Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development, while the EFTA Spokesperson was Jan Farberg, Director-General of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries of Norway.

“We have reached an agreement with the EFTA that industrial products are to be completely exempt from tariffs, which means that all kinds of industrial products will be exported to the four countries without additional customs duties,” Arveladze announced.

Arveladze added that regarding agricultural products, all four countries’ markets are sensitive to the issue, but that Georgia has reached an unprecedented agreement with them by which there will be zero tariffs placed on Georgia’s most important export products. Some of the products also have almost halved in cost and are being given minimum rates.

The first international agreement for Georgia signed with Iceland and Liechtenstein, this FTA with the EFTA will open another highly efficient market of four countries and 14 million customers for Georgia.

The positive decision on launching FTA negotiations with Georgia was made at the EFTA ministerial meeting in Geneva on November 17th, 2014.

According to the EFTA, the total value of commodity trade between EFTA States and Georgia has more than doubled since 2009, reaching USD 60 million in 2014. The stock of foreign direct investment in Georgia’s economy originating from EFTA States has also grown significantly, and stood at approximately USD 400 million in 2012.

Ana Akhalaia

01 March 2016 11:49