Georgia’s foreign trade turnover in the first three months of 2022 amounted to USD 3.87 billion – a 37.9% increase compared to the same period last year, according to preliminary estimates released by the National Statistics Office (Geostat) on April 19.
Exports increased by 43.3% year-over-year to USD 1.17 billion, while imports went up 35.7%, reaching USD 2.7 billion. The trade deficit stood at USD 1.52 billion, making up 39.4% of the trade turnover in January-March 2022.
Turkey topped the list of Georgia’s largest trading partners by turnover, with USD 562.4 million, followed by China — USD 461.9 million, Russia — USD 383.3 million, Azerbaijan — USD 355.4 million, and the United States — USD 213.1 million.
China was Georgia’s largest trading partner by exports with USD 220 million, followed by Azerbaijan — USD 125.4 million, Russia — USD 109.8 million, Turkey — USD 99.2 million, and Bulgaria — USD 94.7 million.
Turkey, China, Russia, Azerbaijan, and the U.S. were the top trading partners of Georgia in terms of imports, with USD 562.4 million, 461.9 million, USD 383.3 million, USD 355.4 million, and USD 213.1 million, respectively.
Copper ores and concentrates headed the list of export commodities in January-March 2022 with USD 271 million. It was followed by ferroalloys — USD 160.1 million; cars — USD 94.9 million; nitrogen fertilizers — USD 76.5 million; wine or fresh grapes — USD 45.8 million; mineral waters — USD 32.7 million; medicines — USD 28.3 million; spirits — USD 23 million; precious metal ores and concentrates — USD 22 million; gold — USD 21.4 million; other commodities — USD 395.9 million.
Petroleum oils were first on the list of import items with USD 244.5 million, followed by copper ores and concentrates — USD 222.5 million; cars — USD 211 million; petroleum gases — USD 184.2 million; medicines — USD 85.2 million; telephone sets — USD 63.6 million; automatic data processing machines — USD 42.3 million; electricity — USD 29.9 million; bars and rods of iron or non-alloy steel — USD 23.4 million; polyacetals and epoxide resins — USD 20.8 million; other commodities – USD 1.6 billion.
Russia Drops Down in Top Partners
Data from January-March 2022 showed Russia drop from its place as second largest trading partner with Georgia in terms of both imports and exports, as well as total turnover. It had remained the second top partner in January-February 2022, and throughout 2021 also.
The development came amid Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine. While Georgia has not imposed any bilateral sanctions against Russia following the launch of the assault, Tbilisi has vowed it will not allow the evasion of sanctions through its territory. The Finance Ministry has also said it is keeping a strict watch to control the customs in this context.
The top five commodity groups exported by Georgia to Russia in January – March were ferroalloys worth USD 32.9 million, wine or fresh grapes – USD 25.4 million, mineral waters – USD 14.4 million, tobacco products – USD 5.9 million, and spirits – USD 4.9 million.
In total, over the three month-period Georgia exported goods worth USD 109.8 million, up by 3% from USD 106.9 million in January-March 2021. The growth was relatively modest compared to the 36% annual increase in the value of exports to Russia in January-February 2022, from USD 68.5 million to USD 92.9 million.