The Georgian Government statistics bureau (Gruzstat) has reported that the Russian Federation firmly occupies first place among the country's importing partners and the second place (after Turkey) in foreign trade. But since export to foreign markets is the most important factor in the economic development, currency inflows, budget replenishment and job creation, export indicators always attract special attention, making it possible to estimate the country's foreign policy priorities.
However, the specifics of the Georgian-Russian relations in the trade and economic sphere casts doubt on the versatility of this formula. The Georgian government is pursuing a clear-cut pro-Western foreign policy: Tbilisi signed up an Association Agreement with the EU and the fundamental Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area agreement.
Since 2014, the EU free trade zone has been attracting due to its huge, almost half-billion market, but the European Union restricts the import of the Georgian goods by a system of quantitative quotas, as well as the requirement to bring Georgian producers' products in line with the European standards, up to the definition of “the cucumber bend shape” and so forth.
The unpopularity of Georgian wines and inability to break into European retail chains, preferring to buy products from trusted suppliers, have also become an insurmountable obstacle. Therefore, Georgian winemakers and winegrowers, fruits, vegetables and mineral water producers are striving for a market where there are no such strict standards and Georgian products are recognizable.
The strange and unusual situation is that Georgia now enjoys economic preferences in the huge Russian market almost as the CIS countries, although it is not a member of the Commonwealth. This can only be explained by the fact that Moscow is deliberately trying to charm the Georgian elites with the benefits of cooperation with the Russian Federation in order to gradually form the pro-Russian economic and political lobby in the Georgian establishment.