Georgia, India Launch Free Trade Feasibility Study

Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia Giorgi Gakharia and Minister of Commerce and Industry of India Nirmala Sitharaman signed a Joint Statement on April 11 on launching the Joint Feasibility Study on the Free Trade Agreement between the Republic of India and Georgia.

The Indian Commerce Ministry reported in its press release of the meeting that upon the completion of the Joint Feasibility Study the two countries “may proceed to negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement once the internal procedures are completed and the mandates on negotiations are approved.”

“In this regard, the Joint Feasibility Study Group consisting of the officials of the two countries has been established,” the Commerce Ministry said.

The high level group will discuss the possible scope of a potential FTA and analyze the sensitiveness of specific sectors. It is tasked to issue a report with relevant analysis and recommendations within a period of six months. 

As part of the visit to India, the Georgian delegation led by the Economy Minister Giorgi Gakharia held meetings with Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu and Culture and Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma‏.

According to the Georgian Economy Ministry, at the meeting with Mahesh Sharma, the sides covered a range of issues aimed at fostering economic exchange between the two countries, including the possibility of opening the Indian Embassy in Georgia and launching direct flights.

“We also spoke about the upcoming UNWTO (the UN World Tourism Organization) Secretary General elections in May and [India’s possible] support to Zurab Pololikashvili – a candidate submitted by Georgia at the elections,” Giorgi Gakharia noted after the meeting.

Pololikashvili, Georgia’s Ambassador to Spain and the permanent representative to the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), who was nominated by Georgia for the position of the organization’s Secretary General, was also present at the meeting. 

India is the leading trade partner for Georgia among South Asian countries. According to the National Statistics Office of Georgia, Georgia’s trade turnover with India stood at USD 99 million with exports increasing by 54.9% y/y to USD 22 million and imports up by 52.8% y/y to USD 77 million in 2016.