Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili stated on Wednesday that a trade crackdown between Georgia and Russia would have little impact on Russia’s economy. In an interview at the Qatar Economic Forum, Garibashvili said that he opposed an EU proposal to sanction third countries that continue to do business with Russia, stating that Georgia’s trade with Russia was less than $1 billion a year and that “this is crazy, isn’t it? That $1 billion shouldn’t affect the Russian economy.”
Russia is Georgia’s second largest trading partner, with trade between the two countries reaching $2.5 billion in 2022, according to provisional data from the Georgia National Statistics Office. Despite sanctions on Russia due to its invasion of Ukraine, Georgia’s trade volume with Russia surged by about 22% in a year, according to customs records from the trade data monitor platform obtained by POLITICO.
The EU is discussing 11 rounds of sanctions against Russia, including measures aimed at countries that continue to do business with Russia and enable sanctions evasion. Garibashvili’s comments indicate that Georgia, unlike many other countries, would not be significantly affected by these measures. Dato Parulava contributed to the report.