China and Georgia’s FTA to take effect on 1 Jan next year

The Free Trade Agreement between China and Georgia will officially take effect on 1 January 2018, which means Georgian wines destined to China will soon enjoy zero tariff, China’s Ministry of Commerce has announced.

Details in the FTA agreement concerning sparkling wine and still wine (Source: China FTA network)

According to a statement posted on the Ministry of Commerce website, the news was announced at a “One Belt, One Road” forum attended by China’s deputy commerce minister and Georgia’s first vice prime minister on 28 November.

Based on the FTA agreement, tariffs on Georgian sparkling wine and still wine (less than 21 containers) will drop from the current 14% to zero, starting from the first day of next year. For still wine (over 21 containers), tariff will be cut from 20% to zero as well.

The reduction will surely boost Gerogia’s wine exports to China, which has already become its second most important wine export market after Russia. For the first nine months of the year, China imported about 3.55 million litres of wine worth about US$12.5 million, according to figures from China Association for Imports and Export of Wine & Spirits, making Georgia China’s 12th biggest source for bottled wine.

Described by the Ministry of Commerce as “a key link” in China’s ambitious ‘One Belt, One Road’ project – a massive trade and economic network that connects China with the rest of Asia and Europe – Georgia is expected to play a central part in linking China with rest of Eurasia.

“Georgia is a key link in ‘One Belt, One Road’ project, and has good business environment. The country is a key trade partner for us in Eurasia, and is also the first country in the region to sign a FTA with China,” the ministry says.

In addition to wine, spirits made in Georgia such as Vermouth, Chacha, whisky etc, will also enjoy zero tariff starting from next year.

The two countries first started negotiations in 2015, and the FTA agreement was officially signed in May of this year.

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