Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia, George Kobulia and Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan, Hiroshige Seko discussed a wide range of bilateral economic and trade relations. The meeting was held within the official visit of the Prime Minister of Georgia, Mamuka Bakhtadze to Japan.
Trade and economic relations between Georgia and Japan with special emphasis on bilateral trade was discussed in details during the meeting. It was noted that in 2018 the export volume was increased by 55% highlighting that the potential of further development in this direction is still vast.
Special attention was paid to the increased export of Georgian wine to Japan, in particular, the increase in 2018 equaled 28%. Both Ministers positively evaluated the upcoming wine exhibition which is scheduled to be opened in March and will work until 7 May. The exhibition will offer the visitors the information about the history of Georgian wine and the continuous traditions, which will significantly increase the awareness of Georgian wine at the Japanese market. The Ministers also gave the positive evaluation of the Georgia-Japan Business Forum to be held in Tokyo, which will promote Georgian products at the Japanese market.
Agreement between Georgia and Japanese Export and Investment Insurance Company (NEXI) signed on March 15 also became the part of the conversation. It was noted that the Agreement will stimulate the growth of the trade of the Japanese and Georgian goods and services and encourage Japanese investment to enter Georgia.
Georgian Minister drew attention to launching of negotiations on a Georgian-Japan Free Trade Agreement and offered his Japanese counterpart to promptly start the preparation process. The benefits that the Agreement on cooperation in the field of investment, which is almost accomplished, were also emphasized during the conversation. The Ministers confirmed readiness to complete the remaining formal procedures in shortest terms. Japanese Minister also highlighted the possibility of launching the negotiations on the Free Trade Agreement between Georgia and Japan as the further step of cooperation.
Georgian and Japanese Ministers also covered issues related to the energy sector, including the energy efficiency and the Georgian side confirmed the interest in sharing the Japanese experience.
The Georgian side offered the Japanese side to participate in the implementation of two energy projects – construction of a 230-250 MW combined cycle thermal power plant and a 50 MW power plant. Georgian Minister confirmed the interest in Japanese companies taking part in the relevant announced tenders.
Georgian Ministers introduced in details the energy sector reforms in Georgia and expressed interest in Japanese companies to participate in auditing of the major industrial energy enterprises in Georgia, provide the consultations on technical support and share the experience in elaborating of the energy efficiency implementation plan.
Taking into consideration Georgia’s hydro power potential, the maximum utilization of the hydro resources through the various investment projects was defined as one of the main priorities of the country. Other renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, geothermal and biomass energy were also named as the fields for expanding cooperation between the two countries. The Georgian side confirmed its interest in the Japanese companies to participate more actively in the process.
Ministry of Economy and Sustainable , George Kobulia invited his Japanese counterpart to take part in Tbilisi Belt & Road Forum which is scheduled to be held in October this year.