Brussels, 05 December 2011  - The EU decided to launch negotiations on a deep and comprehensive free trade area with Georgia and Moldova in order to boost economic growth and investment with the Eastern European partners. The negotiations will tackle a broad range of trade and economic issues so as to achieve a closer economic integration with the EU.

"We want to establish a stable and solid framework for closer economic ties with Georgia and Moldova" said EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht. "A deep and comprehensive free trade area will help Georgia and Moldova to become more competitive and enjoy the benefits of the EU Single Market."

"This kind of economic integration is one of the cornerstones of our relations with countries of Eastern Partnership," Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle said. "Moldova and Georgia have achieved sufficient progress with the necessary reforms and have fulfilled a set of conditions to be able to proceed further in the gradual economic integration with the EU internal market."

These free trade areas will be part of the Association Agreement, under negotiation with Georgia and Moldova since July 2010 and January 2010, respectively, in the framework of the Eastern Partnership and the European Neighbourhood Policy.

The EU aims to enhance political stability and security in these two countries by means of closer economic integration with the EU. The free trade areas are expected to diversify and strengthen Georgia and Moldova's export capacity and effectively open the EU market of 500 million consumers.

Both countries need to continue their work toward stability, transparency and predictability of the legislative regimes. These are essential to improve foreign direct investment inflows, bring jobs and long-term growth. Projected gains for Georgia and Moldova lie therefore behind the border and as such will impact their long-term development perspective. At the end of this process the two countries could see their GDPs significantly enhanced.

Both countries currently enjoy preferential access to the EU market through autonomous lower import duties through the Generalised System of Preferences with further incentives for good governance ("GSP+") (Georgia) and Autonomous Trade Preferences (Moldova).


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