Economy Minister Levan Davitashvili, also serving as Vice Prime Minister, is visiting Washington, where he met key officials on May 9-10 to discuss bolstering bilateral trade and investment ties.
Minister Davitashvili met with U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai on May 9 to discuss the possibility of establishing free trade between the two countries.
The Georgian official told Representative Tai that a free trade deal would serve as a clear message of growing U.S. interest in the South Caucasus, as well as support Georgia’s economic development and Euro-Atlantic aspirations, the Economy Ministry reported.
Minister Davitashvili submitted a report to the U.S. side prepared by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) — commissioned by Georgia — examining the feasibility of a free trade partnership between the two countries.
The U.S. Trade Representative on her part stressed the importance of Georgia continuing economic and structural reforms to support the development of the market economy in the country, per the Economy Ministry’s report.
Speaking with reporters after the meeting, Minister Davitashvili acknowledged “it is not an easy thing” to achieve penning a free trade deal with the U.S. ”
But, the Minister argued there is readiness for the U.S. and Georgia to work “on new types of trade relations.”
Minister Davitashvili also met with Judith Pryor on May 10, First Vice President and Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors at the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM), a government agency, to discuss investments, 5G technology, and key development projects.
The Minister brought to the U.S. official’s attention a project aiming to connect Georgia with Romania via the Black Sea, to link the country’s electricity grid with that of the EU, the Economy Ministry reported.
Besides, Minister Davitashvili appealed to the U.S. side to take interest in introducing 5G technologies in Georgia as well as prospects for Georgia to attract U.S. investments in areas of renewable energy, information technologies, tourism, and hospitality industry, among others.
Vice-Chair Pryor on her part highlighted the necessity for Georgia to hasten its transition to clean and renewable sources of energy to help the country lessen its dependence on the Russian energy supply, the EXIM stated.
Besides, the Vice-Chair reiterated the EXIM’s pledge to cooperate with Georgia to support its economic development.
The bank’s statement highlighted energy projects in hydro, wind, and solar, as well as the export of agricultural commodities and equipment from the U.S. as key areas for bolstering the strategic partnership.
Minister Davitashvili and Scott Nahan, CEO of the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), a government agency, also highlighted the importance of increasing Georgia’s energy independence during their meeting on May 10.
The Georgian official raised the issue of connecting Georgia’s power grid with that of the EU through the Black Sea and Romania with the DFC CEO as well, as reported by the Economy Ministry.