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Ask the Ambassador: U.S.-Georgia Trade

11/05/2009 - 9:02am

We frequently receive questions about pending and prospective Free Trade Agreements with our trading partners.  This one comes from Josh in Virginia.  He writes:

"Dear USTR Kirk, In May John Kerry sponsored a Senate Resolution (S.RES.136) "expressing the sense that the U.S. should initiate negotiations to enter into a Free Trade Agreement with the Republic of Georgia." Has the USTR investigated the possibility of such an agreement? What is the USTR's stance on the issue?"

Ambassador Kirk responds:

"Thank you for your inquiry, Josh.

In 2007, we concluded a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) with Georgia aimed at strengthening and expanding bilateral trade and investment.  The agreement establishes a United States-Georgia Council on Trade and Investment, which I chair along with the Georgian Minister of Economic Development.  The United States and Georgia work through this forum to accomplish our mutual goals of augmenting and diversifying the products and services we trade and minimizing policies of protection and distortion.

I appreciate Senator Kerry's interest in negotiating a free trade agreement with Georgia.  We work closely with members of the Senate and the House to assess appropriate ways to grow our trading relationships around the world.  We are currently working to resolve outstanding issues with regard to our pending free trade agreements with Panama, Colombia, and Korea.  We are also considering whether it would be advisable to launch additional free trade negotiations.  At the same time, we continue to work with nations such as Georgia to maintain robust trade relations.

U.S. exports to Georgia have increased from just $16.5 million in 1992 to over $586 million in 2008.  Similarly, imports from Georgia have grown from $7.3 million in 1992 to over $207 million in 2008.  I am encouraged by this positive trend.  I also appreciate the importance of promoting increased trade and investment with Georgia - particularly in the wake of last year's conflict, as foreign trade and investment can help to improve stability and aid in Georgia's recovery from both the conflict and the global economic downturn. 

You will find a link to our TIFA with Georgia, along with other similar agreements, here on the USTR website."

Thank you for continuing our dialogue on trade.  Please keep submitting your questions and comments for the Ambassador.