Georgia-China FTA: A side effect of the EU-Georgia DCFTA?

Tamara Kovziridze

The present article analyses the content of the recently concluded free trade agreement between Georgia and China and places it in a broader framework of economic relations between the two countries. Since recently China is among Georgia’s top three trade partners and Chinese investment to Georgia has grown as well. The paper argues that the Georgia-China FTA is a positive consequence of the DCFTA as Chinese interest in Georgia as a trade and investment hub increased after the conclusion of the DCFTA with the EU. The FTA between Georgia and China offers extensive tariff liberalisation as well liberalisation of trade in services that to some extent goes beyond the WTO obligations of the two countries. Otherwise, it widely references the WTO rules and obligations and unlike the DCFTA does not contain any legislative approximation obligations. The anticipated benefits for Georgia could be increased Chinese investment with the purpose of exporting ‘made in Georgia’ products, among others textile, to the EU under the DCFTA, whereas Chinese interest in the FTA with Georgia should be viewed in the context of opportunities offered to China through Georgia’s free trade regime with duty-free access to the EU market.