The Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia, Natela Turnava has said she had positive discussions in Doha to enhance economic and trade relations between the two countries, noting that relations between Qatar and Georgia have grown significantly over the years.

In an interview with the Qatari daily Al-Raya published on Wednesday, Turnava considered her visit to Doha as an excellent opportunity to review the huge potential for growth in economic co-operation in various fields, such as investments, transport, energy, tourism, trade, industry and communications among others.

During the visit, two important agreements were finalised on economic, commercial and technical co-operation, and on protection of investments, she said, pointing out that these agreement will be signed during a high-level visit between the two countries.

The entry into force of these agreements would represent a strong legal basis and create additional incentives to further facilitate investment flows and increase trade and economic relations between the two countries, she said.

The development of Qatar's strategic transport infrastructure, especially ports, is essential to enhance its role in the region as a major transportation hub, allowing the country to expand trade, attract global players in the shipping industry and benefit from its strategic geographical location, Turnava said.

She also expressed happiness for the gradually increasing Qatari investments in Georgia, noting that the $50mn-plus joint real estate project "Landmark Tbilisi" is the largest single Qatari investment in Georgia so far.

There is room for more Qatari investments in the fast growing sectors in the country, including renewable energy, hospitality, real estate, manufacturing and outsourcing in commercial operations, logistics and others, she added.

On the energy sector, especially LNG and renewable energy, the Georgian economy minister said her country has become a full-fledged member of the energy community, which means reforming the country's energy market based on European standards. It makes the energy sector in Georgia more attractive to foreign investment as it provides the opportunity to participate in a more liberal and transparent market, Turnava said.

She also hoped to enhance energy co-operation with Qatar, especially in renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Turnava said the number of visitors from Qatar rose by 31% in the previous year to reach 3,255 visitors, explaining that direct flights play a major role in enhancing economic and tourism relations between the two countries.

Turnava noted that Qatar Airways operates weekly 14 flights to Georgia. The increase in air passenger traffic – 56% in 2018 and about 53% in 2019 – also indicates the possibility of increasing the number of flights, she said.

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