22 Oct 2019 14:57

Georgian PM reaffirms his country's interest in China's One Belt, One Road initiative

TBILISI. Oct 22 (Interfax) - Participating in the New Silk Road concept of China's One Belt, One Road initiative is one of Georgia's priorities in interregional cooperation, Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia said on Tuesday.

Gakharia attended the opening ceremony of the Tbilisi Silk Road Forum, which is affiliated with the abovementioned Chinese initiative. More than 2,000 delegates from 60 countries are attending the event in Tbilisi.

"Historically, Georgia played a very important part in the development of the Silk Road. In conditions of today's economic integration and globalization, when great importance is attached to trade and economic relations between countries, the New Silk Road concept and participation in it is a particular priority of ours," Gakharia said, opening the forum.

Georgia was one of the first countries to join Chinese President Xi Jinping's One Belt, One Road initiative by signing a relevant memorandum in 2015, he said. It gave a great impetus to the development of transport and logistics infrastructure and the country's integration into global trade, he said.

"Today, Georgia has free trade agreements with China, countries of the European Union, the CIS [Commonwealth of Independent States], Turkey, and Ukraine. Free trade negotiations are under way with India, Israel, and other countries. This makes our country unique in the region, at the same time opening up major opportunities both for local and international investors. Georgia has enormous potential to become a transport hub, a transit bridge between Europe and Asia," Gakharia said.

The participants in the two-day forum will discuss international trade, transport, energy, investment, innovations, technologies, and Georgia's investment potential. Meetings will also be held with potential investors and partners from the private and public sectors.

This is already the 3rd Tbilisi Silk Road Forum. Its objective is to offer a discussion platform where representatives of the One Belt, One Road countries, international organizations, and the private sector will outline prospects for further developing and broadening their cooperation in international and regional trade and humanitarian cooperation.