Georgian Economy Minister Levan Davitashvili on Thursday said the country should turn its geographical location into “an important opportunity”, highlighting Georgia’s “special role” among the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation member countries.
In his comments to the media on the sidelines of the 22nd Annual CAREC Ministerial Conference in Georgia’s capital of Tbilisi, Davitashvili pointed out the eight landlocked member countries of the organisation, only having access to the sea through Georgia and thus connected to the European Union.
Georgia is the closest and most efficient route to Asian countries”, he added, emphasising the importance of developing the Middle Corridor, a transportation route network connecting China with Europe through the South Caucasus region.
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Davitashvili said the Government “has been actively working” with the partner countries in this regard, citing the adoption of a roadmap for the development of the Middle Corridor by Georgia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Turkey, which aims to “overcome the challenges existing along the way of the corridor”.
One of the important things that Georgia is involved in with CAREC is the simplification of cross-border operations and digitisation of customs operations. Accordingly, there should be fewer barriers on the transport and transit roads, and certainly, all this should be for encouraging trade”, the Economy Minister noted.
He stressed the significance of hosting the Conference amid the existing challenges in the region, adding “at this time, regional cooperation [...] is very important to turn the existing challenges in the region into opportunities and to have more economic progress with greater cooperation”.
The CAREC Ministerial Conference is being hosted in Tbilisi for the first time, with senior officials from countries across central and west Asia and Masatsugu Asakawa, the President of the Asian Development Bank, in attendance.