Prince of Georgia Juan Bagration-Mukhrani visited Hong Kong to promote wine last week amid the signing of a free trade agreement between the Georgian and Hong Kong governments.
The agreement, signed during the Belt and Road Summit attended by officials and businesses from around the world, can be considered as an extension of the free trade deal signed between China and Georgia last year.
Apart from trade in goods and services, the agreement also covers investment, dispute settlement mechanism and other related matters.
The First Belt and Road International Food Expo was held along with the Belt and Road Summit to showcase food produce from Belt and Road countries including Georgia, Iran, Israel, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
The Georgian prince participated in the Expo to help promote the country’s wines. He said Georgia has 632 grape varieties, among them 521 are native varieties unique to the country that cannot be found in other wine regions.
The tariff free trading status with China has opened up great opportunity for the country’s wine producers to tap the fast growing Chinese market.
Georgia is considered one of the earliest wine producing countries in the world, its unique ancient winemaking method using the Kvevri clay jars has been named a UNESCO intangible cultural heritage.
The prince added that Georgia has a very good business environment. The country situates at a strategic location at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, Russia and Central Asia, it also has a low tax regime and fast economic growth at an yearly average of 4% in the past five years.
Apart from China and Hong Kong, Georgia has signed free trade agreements with the European Union, Turkey and some of the ex-Soviet Union states.
The Belt and Road Initiative is a development strategy proposed by China’s President Xi Jinping. Dubbed the modern Silk Road, the plan focuses on enhancing trade and infrastructural development among Eurasian countries.