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Thursday, February 6, 2014

Georgian businessman demands public discussions of EU association project

06.02.2014. Gogi Topadze, Georgian beer magnate and member of the Georgian Dream coalition, has demanded that the government publish the text of the Georgian-EU association project for public discussions. Topadze himself has already read the document and knows that the agreement will give Georgian products access to the world’s largest market.

The document has already been initialed at the Vilnius summit of the Eastern Partnership and cannot be changed. Signing of the association agreement may result in blocking access to the Russian market, refusal to sign it is risky in the light of events in Ukraine.

Over 20 million bottles of wine were sold in Russia, or 5.5% of total wine imports in Russia, in the months following the lifting of the 7-year trade embargo. Georgia has doubled wine exports, gaining additional millions of dollars of income and creating thousands of new jobs.

Topadze and his colleagues from the Production Will Save Georgia business association are confident that the country will fail to sell citrus fruits, vegetables or mineral water on the EU market. Georgian wine is unfamiliar in Europe. Russia has demand for Khvanchkara and Kindzmarauli.

Zurab Tkemaladze, head of the Georgian parliamentary committee for economic policy and sectorial economy, told Vestnik Kavkaza that he backed Topadze’s idea and emphasized the need for careful studies of the association agreement.

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