Cracking down on trade between Georgia and Russia would have little impact on the Russian economy, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili said Wednesday, pushing back against a proposal for the EU to sanction third countries that continue to do business with Moscow.
“What the EU trades with Russia in four days, we trade with Russia in one year,” Garibashvili said in an interview at the Qatar Economic Forum.
“When it comes to economic sanctions […] Georgia’s trade turnover with Russia is less than $1 billion” a year, the Georgian PM said. “This is ridiculous, isn’t it? That $1 billion could not affect Russian economy.”
Russia is Georgia’s second largest trading partner. In 2022, trade turnover between the two countries reached $2.5 billion, according to preliminary data from the National Statistics Office of Georgia.
The former Soviet republic is among a handful of countries from the Caucasus and Central Asia whose trade with Russia has boomed since the West imposed sanctions on Moscow over its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
According to customs records from the Trade Data Monitor platform, seen by POLITICO, Georgia has seen the volume of its trade with Russia shoot up almost 22 percent in the year since Moscow began its all-out invasion.
The EU is discussing an 11th round of sanctions against Russia, which could include unprecedented measures targeting countries that continue doing business with Moscow, thus allowing it to bypass the sanctions.
Dato Parulava contributed reporting.