Chinese Premier Li Qiang (R) meets with visiting Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili in Beijing on Monday. (Photo by Wang Zhuangfei/China Daily)
China and Georgia announced the elevation of bilateral ties to a strategic partnership on Monday, pledging to bolster policy coordination and alignment in development plans under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative and promote two-way trade and investment.
According to a joint statement issued by the two nations, both sides will enhance cooperation in sectors including transport, telecommunications, infrastructure modernization, digital technologies, manufacturing, the upgrading and expansion of railway networks and environmental protection.
Georgia will use its transport facilities to facilitate imports of Chinese products to the Western market, and China will consider offering concessional loans to fund social and infrastructure projects in the Caucasus country, the statement said.
The two governments signed a plan for the joint building of the Belt and Road during talks between Chinese Premier Li Qiang and visiting Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili in Beijing on Monday.
China is willing to work with Georgia to carry forward traditional friendship and strengthen strategic communication, using the establishment of the bilateral strategic partnership as an opportunity to deepen pragmatic cooperation for the benefit of both countries and their peoples, Li said.
Li emphasized that both sides should focus on the joint building of the Belt and Road and make good use of mechanisms such as the intergovernmental economic and trade cooperation committee to fully unleash the dividends from the bilateral free-trade agreement, which came into effect in 2018.
Garibashvili met with Chinese President Xi Jinping and attended the opening ceremony of the 31st summer edition of the FISU World University Games in Chengdu, Sichuan province, on Friday. He stressed that Georgia highly values its friendship with China and is committed to strengthening bilateral cooperation.
Georgia adheres to the one-China principle and supports the BRI, Global Development Initiative, Global Security Initiative and the Global Civilization Initiative, he said.
According to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, trade between the two nations grew by 16.7 percent year-on-year to reach $1.4 billion in 2022.