Prime Minister's comment at the Welcoming Panel: High Level Dialogue on Belt and Road Connectivity for Stability Print Version

2017-11-28

Thank you very much.
First of all, let me once again thank all of you for attending this very important conference and forum. I believe that all of you will have a chance to talk to your potential partners and exchange views how we may advance economic cooperation with regional countries and beyond.
The question that was asked regarding trade deficit, Georgia addresses this issue through openness in terms of providing FTAs' network.
We are one of the most open countries in this region in terms of FTAs. We do not have, and we do not apply, any protectionism in terms of setting up barriers for importers. On the opposite, the only protection Georgia uses is to protect exporters' interests in the countries of destination. This is one of the most important pillars of the Belt and Road initiative, facilitating trade. As it was mentioned by the speakers at this forum, Georgia enjoys free trade relations with the European Union through the DCFTA, CIS countries, and Turkey. We recently signed an FTA with China, and we are the only country in this region which has free trade with Europe and China simultaneously. We recently launched negotiations on free trade with India. So by pursuing and implementing these agreements, this place is becoming a place for trade, logistics, and transit. Of course, there are other important pillars in order to utilize the full potential of the Belt and Road initiative. Beyond facilitating FTAs, this is utilizing fully the transit potential of this region and, of course, promoting investments.
By following these three directions, we will be able to advance economic development alongside these Silk Road countries. In addition to promoting economic cooperation, this is developing and advancing cultural relations. It is about people-to-people relations and, finally, more stability and more security in eth region and beyond, from China to Europe. Also, I believe that other countries can also enjoy the benefits of this initiative.
Finally, I would like to mention that this initiative gives all countries alongside this route a chance to develop its own potential within the framework of this unique initiative. This is about promoting and improving business environment.
Georgia was able to set unique conditions for doing business, as it was mentioned by our friends.
By the way, the recent news is that Georgia was upgraded in the World Bank's Doing Business ranking from 16th to 9th position. I believe it will be good news for our friend, Sheikh Nahyan, as it was mentioned by him several advanced positions in international rankings.
Georgia is a country which provides corruption-free environment with very limited bureaucracy. The recent changes proposed by the Government o decrease further the number of ministries from 18 to 14 is, of course, decreasing bureaucracy, improving governance quality, and providing better business environment for investors and local businesses.
We discussed yesterday with my friend, Prime Minister of Ukraine Volodymyr Groysman-who combines, by the way, his official visit to Georgia together with participation in the forum-how we can further improve the logistics and transport connections in this region, creating unified tariff systems by joining forces with Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and other countries in the region. And I believe that we will be able to qualitatively improve cross-border connections and internal quality of our infrastructures in our countries. And I believe that the results of this will be more trade, more investments, and more transit, logistics, and co-manufacturing facilities throughout this region.
Thank you very much.
From our side, we are very committed to promoting these cross-border initiatives, and I am very happy that we have this level of representation at this forum.
Thank you.