Developing economic cooperation between Georgia and the People’s Republic of China in the framework of the new “Silk Road - Economic Belt” Initiative

In 2015, the bilateral relations between Georgia and China have not only maintained the positive dynamics of the previous year, but have been advanced, furthermore. Georgia has witnessed two major momentums giving a strong impetus for the development of Georgian-Chinese relations, as well as, collaboration on multilateral platform. It is worth mentioning, that the Georgian Government has been advocating the Initiative of the Chinese Leadership of the new “Silk Road-Economic Belt”. The concept of reconstruction of the ancient “Silk Road“ has attracted a keen interest of the Georgian Government, since it will significantly contribute to the development of Georgia’s economy, its trade and transit capabilities. In 2014 H.E. Mr. Irakli Garibashvili, Prime Minister of Georgia made a statement from the high tribune of the UN General Assembly on initializing an annual multilateral discussion platform - “Tbilisi Silk Road Forum” in Georgia in 2015, which was a reflection of vivid uphold of the mentioned global initiative of the People’s Republic of China. 

In the beginning of 2015, Mr. Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Vice Prime Minister of Georgia, Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development paid an official visit to the People’s Republic of China and held high level meetings with respective state institutions responsible for coordination and implementation of the “Silk Road – Economic Belt” project: National Development and Reform Committee of the People’s Republic of China, Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China, newly established ”Silk Road Fund” and National Tourism Administration of the People’s Republic of China. A special emphasis shall be made on a meeting of Mr. Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Vice Prime Minister, Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia with Mr. Gao Hucheng, Minister of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China, during which a signing ceremony of the Memorandum of Understanding on the Silk Road Economic Belt Development Cooperation was held, paving a new path of economic collaboration between Georgia and People’s Republic of China in the framework of “Silk Road – Economic Belt”. In addition, at the meeting a joint statement was made, which called for the launch of a feasibility study on worthiness of concluding Free Trade Agreement between Georgia and the People’s Republic of China. In both above mentioned circumstances, Georgia has been the first country in the Region, utilizing opportunities granted by the EU membership status and enhancing cooperation with the People’s Republic of China in the field of trade, investments, infrastructure development and financial services.

Nevertheless, Georgia has been among those states, that extended their support for another global initiative of the People’s Republic of China, to establish, alongside the “World Bank”, “Asian Development Bank” (ADB) and other international financial organizations, a new multilateral financial institution – “Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank” (AIIB) with the aim to utilize supplementary financial resources for the development of infrastructure in Asia. Taking into account the increasing demand for investments into infrastructure modernization in Asia (According to ADB, by 2020 investments worth 800 billion USD are needed for the development of infrastructure in Asia), the new instrument of financing - “Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank”, shall play an important role in the development of infrastructure, improvement of economies and livelihoods of people in Asia. In June, 2015 Minister of Finance of Georgia paid an official visit to the People’s Republic of China.  On 29th of June, 2015 Mr. Nodar Khaduri, Minister of Finance of Georgia participated in the signing ceremony of the Articles of Agreement of “Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank” together with 49 states representing Asia, as well as, Europe (Great Britain, France, Germany and others). Currently, Georgian Parliament has already finalized the ratification of the Articles of Agreement of the “Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank”. 

Georgia will benefit from the full-pledged implementation of “Silk Road - Economic Belt” by engaging in global initiatives, attracting more investments in infrastructural projects, developing overall economy and areas, such as: transportation, communication, industry, storage and logistics, services and etc. Thus, on the international stage, Georgia will gain a better position, since the country’s potential as a hub in the region connecting Asia with Europe with execution of the above mentioned initiative will be utilized, to the fullest.