Georgian wine exports to China are set to grow after the two countries officially signed a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) on 13 May, following a series of negotiations that started as early as December 2015.
The FTA will see China drop a tariff on 93.9% of exported products from Georgia, with 90.9% of products enjoying zero tariff either later this year or early next year, as reported by China’s state news agency Xinhua.
The tariff on remaining products will be reduced over a period of five years.
Once effective, Georgia will become another wine producing country to be exporting wines to China with zero tariff following Chile, New Zealand and Australia, though tariff on Australian wines will only be completely scrapped in 2019.
The agreement was described by the Ministry of Commerce as an important part of the Chinese government’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative that promises to build infrastructure and connectivity in Euroasia spanning more than 60 countries in the region.
According to figures released by the Georgian Wine Association, Georgian wine exports to China grew by 98% to 5.3 million bottles in 2016, the highest growth rate among all the countries importing wines from Georgia.
China currently is Georgia’s third largest export market behind Russia and Ukraine, but is expected to surpass Ukraine soon with the FTA.
Georgia dubbed as ‘the cradle of wine’ produces wines mainly in Kakheti province from two indigenous grapes – Rkatsiteli for white wine and Saperavi for reds.