China seems to be the next big thing for Georgia. Yesterday the Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili has completed his 5-day visit to China for the World Economic Forum in Dalian.While in China, the Georgian PM did quite a bit of impressive things that might have slipped your attention if you weren’t following updates on his visit as intensively as the Georgian journalists have been.
The PM made sure to tell his Chinese counterparts that Georgia is eager to cooperate and would be an ideal partner in the region. The PM had meetings with such impressive figures as the Premier of China Li Keqiang, President of Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank Jin Liqun, Huawei’s Senior Vice President, heads of Chinese Silk Road Fund and the like. If you missed some of these, here is a CBW compilation presenting highlights of the PM’s visit to China, where he:
1. Talked Free-Trade Negotiations with China
Georgia will be the first country in the region to launch negotiations with China about free trade, said Georgia’s Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili after meeting his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang on September 10.
Had mtng #LiKeqiang. #Georgia is first country in region to start negotiations w/ #China on free trade #GeorgiaChina pic.twitter.com/502i9NeZew— Irakli Garibashvili (@PrimeMinisterGE) September 10, 2015
2. Raised Subject of Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank and Georgia Cooperation
At the September 11 meeting, the AIIB president Jin Liqun stated that Georgia will be among the first countries that the newly established AIIB will start making operations.
Jin Liqun said he had visited Georgia twice. According to him, the country has made a significant progress in the past period. “The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank is interested in Georgia’s transport, logistics and energy sectors,” he said. Irakli Garibashvili in his turn stressed Georgia’s strategic geographic location, its amicable business environment, and the Free Trade Agreement with Europe.
3. Stressed Georgia’s Role in New Silk Road Project
“Georgia has proven that we are a reliable transit country. Georgia’s economy is growing, we are building and strengthening the democratic institutions, and providing for the business and media freedom,” Georgia’s PM stated at the “New Silk Road” Session held within the World Economic Forum in Dalian.
“We are definitely ready to become the part of the New Silk Road route. Our aim is to use Georgia’s strategic location as best we can,” said Garibashvili.
4. Talked Anaklia Port Investment Opportunities from China
One of the meetings was with representatives of the POWERCHINA investment corporation. The PM’s Administration said the company had “concrete plans” to invest in Georgia, and had showed particular interest in Anaklia Port.
5. Received an Honorary Doctor Degree from Beijing University
— Irakli Garibashvili (@PrimeMinisterGE) September 11, 2015
6. Met with the Huawei and Mitsubishi Representatives
Delegation of a large international corporation Mitsubishi will visit Georgia- This statement was made by the chairman of the board of Mitsubishi Yorihiko Kojima with Georgian PM Irakli Garibashvili.
Huawei, the telecommunications giant that has been successfully operating in Georgia for the last fifteen years, expressed its interest in a so-called “safe country” concept. This means that Huawei is interested in building safety infrastructure and building Internet systems in Georgia’s cities and the countryside.
7. Talked Georgian-Chinese Locomotive Construction
The Georgian-Chinese venture to manufacture the locomotives with asynchronous engines and their spare parts will be built in Georgia, according to the Memorandum of Cooperation signed in Dalian.
From the Georgian side, the Memorandum was signed by the Director of JSC Vagonmshenebeli, Badri Tsilosani, whereas, the signatory from the Chinese side was the President of Dalian Locomotive and Carriage Building Plan, Min Xing.
8. Jump-Started Export of Georgian Wine to Chinese Port City of Dalian
Georgia will soon begin exporting wine to one of China’s major port cities, Dalian. Georgian Wine Company (GWC) signed a Memorandum with Dalian Free Trade Zone today to solidify the deal.
Garibashvili said Georgia already enjoyed positive relations with China but he hoped to forge deeper cooperation in the future, stated the Prime Minister’s press service. The volume of Georgian wine to be exported to Dalian was not specified.
9. Negotiated a $200m Investment into Tkibuli Thermal Power Plant
One of China’s largest enterprises has expressed its interest in investing almost $200 million USD in Georgia’s energy sector.
State-owned enterprise Dongfang Electric has pledged to contribute about $180-$200 million for construction of a 150 megawatt Thermal Power Plant (TPP) in Georgia’s western Tkibuli region.
Dongfang Electric is one of China’s most influential corporations that engage in the manufacturing of power generators and the contracts of power station projects locally and around the world.
10. Met with the Chinese TV
11. Signed a Memorandum of Cooperation Between Dalian and Ajara
Memorandum of Cooperation was signed in the frames of the working visit on September 10. It was signed by the Chairman of Ajara AR Government Archil Khabadze and Mayor of Dalian Xiao Shengfeng.
The agreement provides equality, cooperation and sharing knowledge and experience based on mutual benefit in economic, agriculture, health care, tourism, culture, education, transport, environment protection, service industry, city planning and other fields.
12. Visited the Great Chinese Wall
And last but not least…
13. Invited the Chinese Delegation to Visit Georgia
Georgia is preparing to host hundreds of high-level officials from China and the surrounding region at the upcoming Tbilisi Silk Road Forum on October 15 -16, where global leaders will discuss how to reinstate the ancient Silk Road route between Europe and Asia.
The Silk Road Fund, with a $40 billion USD budget, focused on exploring new trade-economic benefits and opportunities to connect European and Asian economic markets, is among the invited guests.