GEORGIA CAN DOUBLE GDP BY BOOSTING RELATIONS WITH RUSSIA

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TBILISI, May 28 (RIA Novosti) - Georgia can increase two times its gross domestic product by developing relations with Russia, Russian Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref told the press conference in Tbilisi on Friday, following the first day of the Russian business conference.

"Georgia can double its GDP by only developing relations with Russia", he said in answer to the question how large Russian investments in Georgia may be.

He thinks bilateral trade turnover can reach 8 billion dollars. "Even if Georgia's export and import are 4 billion dollars' worth each, it can double its GDP", Gref said.

"Rehabilitation work in Georgia is good", he noted. In the first quarter, Georgia's GDP increased by 10 percent and Russia's by 8 percent, he continued.

"Our growth at a lower rate is a good incentive for you, for your reforms to be more dynamic", he said.

He also stressed that Russia is the vehicle of progress for countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States. "As we grow, so do our neighbours", Gref said.

In turn, Georgian Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania noted that the current trade-economic relations with Russia are "lamentable": the trade turnover stands at only 240 to 250 million dollars' worth annually.

The trade turnover of Belarus, as large as Georgia, with Russia is 15 billion dollars, Zhvania stressed.

"The trade turnover can be greatly boosted. The potential is vast", Zhvania said.

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