TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia’s representative in trade talks with Russia says there are considerable risks involved in entering that market.
Zurab Abashidze, the prime minister’s special representative in Russian relations, nonetheless has a positive view of the process to bring Georgian products back on the Russian market.
Abashidze on Monday spoke about details about his fourth meeting with his Russian counterpart in the talks, Grigory Karasin, who is Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister of Russia. Their last meeting was held September 19 in Prague.
Abashide said that the main topic of the meeting was export of Georgian products to Russia. He said, this time he went to the meeting ‘somewhat’ satisfied, but the events in the conflict zone with the so-called border, created a ‘very negative background’ for the meeting.
While meeting Karasin, he expressed concern on behalf of the government about recent events in the village Ditsi.
Abashidze says there are elements of risk in the Russian market.
“We have such experience – embargo established in 2006 for Georgian products,” he said. “ I cannot give a hundred percent guarantee that in one or two years someone won’t like something and will discover steel in our tomatoes and apples.”
The government is openly talking about it with businessmen, he said. Considering that Georgia doesn’t have gas or other wealth, which other countries trade with, it must trade with its own wealth, which is wine and agricultural products. He said that Tbilisi hasn’t paid any charges to Moscow to return Georgian product to their market or to solve other issues.
“Very often I am asked what is the price we pay in order to restore movement and reestablish trade, but I want to say clearly that there are no charges, there were no concessions from our side,” he added.
Abashidze noted that Georgia mustn’t expect serious changes in regards to solving the situation in the conflict regions in the near future, but he believes that through small steps it will be possible to solve these difficult issues.