Economic Minister: Russia should respect WTO rules as all member countries
 Tbilisi 14:15 - 30.08.11 «GHN»
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La Tribune interviewed Vera Qobalia, Economic Minister.

-Nexst round of negotiations with Russian Federation is planned for the middle of September. Is going Georgia to lift veto against Russian Federation for WTO membership?

- We are not against the affiliation for Russian Federation to WTO. Our position is misunderstood. Nevertheless all countries which will become the above mentioned organization is obliged to obey its rules. Accordingly, by the norms established by USA and EU at the Russian-Georgian borders the customs terminals should be positioned. These are economic but not political conditions. The goods entering our territory should be checked at the border similarly as it happens in Russian Federation. As well the fact should be considered that Georgia for 20% is occupied by the Russian Federation. I am as well born in Abkhazia and during 18 years have no right to arrive to my hometown.

- Does this mean that the Agreement between Russia and Georgia will not be yet reached?

- This is possible. Unfortunately Russia refuses to the negotiations, this is a reason we need mediation in Switzerland. It is difficult to talk with people who even do not recognize the independence of our state. The affiliation of Russian Federation to the WTO would be even advantageous for us. This is why the negotiations are pending.

- Is the Russian Federation willing to lift embargo from agriculture goods?

- No the case is that Russia was willing to choose those companies which would enter the Russian market. This is a corruption no doubt. Nevertheless the free trade is very important for us. As well, we should consider a fact that the big investment companies are performing its business with George from Russian Federation. The VTB bank for instance, as well we are exporting the electricity to Russian Federation.

- Was the economic situation in Georgia improved after the 2009 fail for 3.8%?

- This year's growth like in the previous year may be around 6.5%. This is thanks to the tourism in our country. In 2010 Georgia hosted 2.1 mn tourists. Our biggest priority is winter tourism. We wish to purchase ATR-type planes to connect Tbilisi with mountain regions. We hope we will establish cooperation for this purpose with France and French will spend holydays in our country.

Frank Paul Weber

"La Tribune"


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