“Congratulations to Georgia and Armenia on the successful conclusion of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreements (DCFTAs). It is a crucial step for Georgia and Armenia towards closer political association and integration with the EU, as DCFTAs are a part of the EU Association Agreements with these countries”, stated Laima Andrikiene MEP, Standing Rapporteur for South Caucasus in the European Parliament's International Trade Committee, following the EU’s successful conclusion of the trade deal with Georgia on 22 July and with Armenia yesterday, 24 July.
The comprehensive FTAs will see Georgia and Armenia gaining better access to the EU market for its goods and services. To achieve this, these countries carried out substantial reforms in key trade and investment-related regulatory areas.
The EU is both countries' biggest trading partner. In Georgia, total trade with the EU in 2012 accounted for 26.6% with bilateral trade in goods amounting to €2.63 billion. Whereas, in Armenia, its total trade in 2012 covered about 32% and bilateral trade in goods amounted to €951m.
Georgia’s trade with the EU is heavily reliant on base metals and other primary commodities.
The DCFTA will have significant impacts on Armenia's trade. The forecast 15.2% increase in Armenian exports and an 8.2% increase in its imports will, in the long run, lead to improving Armenia’s trade balance in relative terms.
A recently-published study suggests that in the long term, the Armenian economy could gain an extra €146m a year, representing a 2.3% increase in GDP. The removal of non-tariff measures is key to realising these benefits. For its part, the EU is expected to gain by some €74m per year.
“The Eastern Partnership policy that Lithuania proclaimed as one of the most important priorities for its EU Presidency is now reaping its first successes, and it is encouraging that the EU and the Eastern Partnership Summit to be held in November will establish the long-term agreements which will fundamentally change the EU's relations with Eastern Neighbourhood countries”, she added.
"Although we welcome the conclusion by the European Commission of the DCFTA with Georgia and Armenia, as well as their good will and efforts, we remain convinced that political reforms, especially in the case of Georgia, must follow", Andrikiene concluded.
The EPP Group is by far the largest political group in the European Parliament with 275 Members from 27 Member States.