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U.S. Congressmen Call for Stronger Trade, Investment Ties with Georgia

Eight U.S. Congressmen have urged U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai to “strongly consider” further strengthening bilateral trade and investment ties with Georgia.

The letter, that came after a delegation of Georgian Dream lawmakers visited Washington last week, was signed by representatives Carol D. Miller (R-WV), Jimmy Gomez (D-CA), Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), Gerald E. Connolly (D-VA), Steve Womack (R-AR), Dan Crenshaw (R-TX), John Rose (R-TN), and Alex X. Mooney (R-WV).

Calling Georgia a “critical,” “committed” and “ideal” U.S. ally, the Congressmen underlined that the prospect of enhanced trade relations with the U.S. could “catalyze” the political and economic reforms that Georgia “must make” as an evolving democracy to increase stability in the Caucasus region.

Citing existing bilateral trade and investment agreements between U.S. and Georgia, they underscored the existence of a “strong foundation on which to deepen the trade relations.”

Amid China’s rise in the region and “increased and dangerous encroachment” from Russia and Iran, the U.S. lawmakers said stronger U.S.-Georgia economic and trade relations “would send a powerful signal that American values of democracy and market-based rules are alive and well in an area rife with oppression and state-driven authoritarian government systems.”

The U.S. Representatives said greater economic ties with Georgia could also give American goods and services a “greater foothold” in South Caucasus, Central Asia, Turkey, and Eastern Europe, as the U.S. has no free trade agreements in the region.

The letter was published by GD MP Nikoloz Samkharadze on December 11, arguing the missive was regarding launching free trade talks between the U.S. and Georgia. He hailed the letter as “a great crowning” of the Georgian lawmakers’ visit to Washington.

The delegation of Georgian MPs – Nikoloz Samkharadze and Giorgi Khelashvili, the Chair and First Deputy Chair of the Foreign Relations Committee, as well as Irakli Beraia, the Chair of the Defense and Security Committee – held meetings in Washington on December 7-10.

They met with the Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee Adam Smith (D-WA) and Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA), Co-chair the House Georgia Caucus Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), as well as Representatives Steve Chabot (R-OH), David Nicola Cicilline (D-RI), and Don Bacon (R-NE), Alex Mooney (R-WV), David Miller (D-IL), Ronald Gene Estes (R-KS), Andy Harris (R-MD), John Rose (R-TN), Andrew Clyde (R-GA), Eric Swalwell (D-CA), Austin Scott (R-GA), Joe Wilson (R-SC), Steve Womack (R-AR) and Ruben Gallego (D-AZ).

They also held discussions with Erika Olson, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State overseeing policy for Southern Europe and the Caucasus and Derek Mitchell, Director of the National Democratic Institute (NDI).

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