TBILISI, DFWatch–EU and Georgia have finished talks on a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) and preparations are starting for a legal review of the text.

Minister of Economy Giorgi Kvirikashvili said on Monday that finishing the negotiation process is already a step forward before the Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius in November. He said this is one more proof of Georgia’s European choice.

The minister said that as soon as the agreement comes into force, Georgia will have the opportunity to export products and services to Europe under free trade conditions.

“The agreement foresees the liberalization of import tariff, but also removal of technical barriers in trade,” he said, adding that this will give access to one of the largest and richest market in the world, which increases Georgia’s attractiveness for foreign investments.

Six rounds of the DCFTA negotiations have been held in Tbilisi and Brussels and several tens of video conferences. Kvirikashvili explained that DCFTA will come into force within one year.

“An independent study – a Trade Sustainability Impact Assessment – carried out for the EU forecasts that the DCFTA will increase Georgia’s exports to the EU by 12% and imports from the EU by 7.5%. Full implementation of trade-related reforms could increase Georgia’s long-term GDP by +4.3% or €292 million,” statement on official EU website reads.

DCFTA is a part of the Association Agreement, which also includes negotiations on visa liberalization.

The European Union currently has free trade agreements with 27 countries, including Georgia’s neighbor Turkey (since 1995), and has signed an Association Agreement with Central American countries.

However, Georgia will become the first country in South Caucasus region to get free trade with Europe.