TBILISI, DFWatch–A Georgian diplomat says the reason Russia decided to suspend its free trade agreement with Georgia is that Georgia is not member of the Russia-initiated Customs Union.
Zurab Abashidze, Prime Minister’s Special Representative for Russian relations, told journalists on Friday that he had a phone conversation the same day with Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia Grigory Karasin about the recent decision to suspend a free trade agreement between the two countries from 1994.
They spoke on the phone after the government session, after which he assumes that soon Georgia will know what Russia’s decision will mean.
“The issue is the following: countries which are members of Customs Union keep their free trade regime with Russia, the rest of the countries will have the rules of the World Trade Organization and trade according to its regulations,” he explained.
Abashidze added that Georgia is not a member of the Customs Union nor the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), so the country will have trade rules like the other countries in the world.
He added that after consultations, Georgia will find out when Russia plans to suspend the agreement.
Georgia and Russia signed a free trade agreement in February, 1994. The Russian market was closed for Georgian products after an embargo was introduced in 2006, as a response to Georgia detaining three Russian citizens and accusing them of being spies.
The new government started talks with Russia to resume export, and this was accomplished for wine and agricultural products at the end of 2012.