The bilateral trade volume between Türkiye and Georgia has approached a record $3 billion as the two countries are set to increase the rate while enhancing ties, Georgia’s Ambassador to Ankara George Janjgava said, TurkicWorld reports citing Daily Sabah.
In an exclusive interview with Daily Sabah, Janjgava said, In 2022 Türkiye was Georgia's largest trading partner – according to statistics, trade turnover amounted to $2.81 billion."
Saying that he expected trade to grow even further throughout 2023, the ambassador added: "In April 2021, a diagonal cumulation mechanism was launched between Georgia, Türkiye and the European Union, which will significantly facilitate trilateral trade and stimulate exports to new sectors. The diagonal cumulation mechanism allows the sale of products made in Georgia with Turkish industrial raw materials in the European Union market."
"Additionally, the Georgian market fully opened for high-quality and GMP standard Turkish medicines in January 2022 at the initiative of the Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Garibashvili," Janjgava highlighted.
The $2.8 billion figure for 2022 is a result of trade turnover increasing by 30% compared to the previous year.
"This is the highest historical index between the two countries and is about $655 million higher than 2021 figures, which was $2.15 billion," said Ambassador Janjgava, stressing that Türkiye ranked first among Georgia’s top 10 trading partners with a 15% share in total trade turnover in 2022.
"In terms of imports, Türkiye ranked first with an 18% share, while it ranked fifth after China, Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia in exports with an 8% share. Exports to Türkiye increased by 35% to $435.5 million while imports from Türkiye grew by 30% and reached $2.37 billion in 2022," he continued.
Favorable investment climate
In terms of investment, Georgia presents a favorable investment climate for Turkish investors. Türkiye ranked seventh with $106.5 million of foreign direct investment in 2022.
Janjgava said that that his country’s favorable investment environment can also be seen in the ratings of international institutions. Georgia held the seventh position in the "Ease of Doing Business" rankings of the World Bank in 2020, while according to the "Index of Economic Freedom 2022" of the Heritage Foundation, Georgia is the 26th freest in the 2022 index.
Both countries inked many significant bilateral agreements including the Free Trade Agreement and Joint Economic Trade Committee (JETCO), while also increasing the number of joint projects in the energy field.
On growing energy ties, the ambassador said: "Regional energy projects implemented through joint Georgian-Turkish efforts, such as the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline and the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas pipeline, are of great importance. Active cooperation continues for the full implementation of the Southern Gas Corridor project (TANAP and TAP) and the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway project."
Officially opened on Oct. 30, 2017, the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway directly connects Türkiye, Georgia and Azerbaijan reducing the shipment period from 35 to 15-17 days and shortening the distance from Europe to Asia by 6,800-7,500 kilometers (around 4,225-4,660 miles). In the first stage, the capacity of the project is targeting 5 million tons of cargo per year with the perspective of increasing it to up to 15 million tons and 1 million passengers per year. In 2022, 435,000 tons of cargo were transported by the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway.
The two countries also enjoy growing ties in the field of tourism, boosted by the fact that Turkish citizens can travel to Georgia visa-free for up to one year.
"Türkiye ranked second with 925,561 visitors to Georgia in 2022. Turkish Airlines (THY), Anadolujet and Pegasus operate 72 flights a week from Ankara, Istanbul and Antalya to Tbilisi and Batumi," the ambassador pointed out.
Moreover, Janjgava said that the Sarp border gate between Georgia and Türkiye was crossed, from both sides, by more than 5 million people of all nationalities in 2022.
Türkiye and Georgia have taken crucial steps to enhance bilateral ties in the past decade. The bond between Ankara and Tbilisi has been strengthened through the establishment of the High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council.
Türkiye, as a strategic partner, is a strong supporter of Georgia's territorial integrity and sovereignty. At the same time, Türkiye supports Georgia's Euro-Atlantic aspirations. The positive dynamics of the development of bilateral political relations are evidenced by the intensive high-level visits made over the years.
Most recently, Georgia’s Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili visited Türkiye following the deadly earthquakes of Feb. 6 that jolted the country’s southeast and expressed readiness to provide any assistance necessary.
Around 200 Georgian professionals participated in the search and rescue operations in Türkiye’s city of Adıyaman, which was one of the worst affected by the devastating quake, and after a rotation, they continued the rescue efforts in Hatay province’s Antakya.