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China, Georgia vow to reach comprehensive FTA within 2016

Updated: Feb 22,2016 9:25 PM     Xinhua

TBILISI — China and Georgia officially launched here on Feb 22 the first round of negotiations for a free trade agreement (FTA), pledging to work closely together to conclude a comprehensive deal within 2016.

“We are expected to reach a high-standard FTA with China to push forward the future development of our trading cooperation,” said Genadi Arveladze, Georgia’s chief negotiator and deputy minister of economy and sustainable development, at the beginning of the talks.

“China has become the fourth largest trading partner and one of the fastest increasing export destinations for Georgia in 2015,” Arveladze said.

Liu Yuhua, chief negotiator and commercial counselor of the Ministry of Commerce, said launching the negotiations represents an important milestone in bilateral relations and provides further evidence of China’s commitment to deepening cooperation with Georgia in all fields.

The two sides agree that a balanced and comprehensive FTA will greatly push forward economic and trade cooperation and benefit the two peoples.

According to the agenda, in the first round of negotiations, the two sides will have an in-depth exchange of views on topics including the framework document, the establishment of a work group and text consultation.

A memorandum of understanding was reached by the Ministry of Commerce and the Georgian economic department in December 2015 to begin the FTA negotiations.