Georgia on Tuesday kicked off a two-day Tbilisi Silk Road Forum to discuss opportunities of strengthening political, economic and cultural relations between Asia and Europe.

At the Opening Ceremony at Tbilisi Opera and Ballet Theater, Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia stressed the importance of the new Silk Road in modern economic integration and globalisation, saying that Georgia was proud to be part of the Silk Road.

Georgia was one of the first countries applauding the Chinese Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) to create new trade corridors between Europe and Asia and improve existing ones, he said.

“We supported the initiative and signed the cooperation deal back in 2015 which gave a new push to Georgia-Chinese relations and led to the signing of the free trade deal,” Gakharia said.

The Tbilisi Silk Road Forum, he said, is “an important opportunity” and a platform on which the countries involved in the BRI, international organisations and the private sector discuss regional economic challenges and explore ways to overcome the challenges and share experience.

Gakharia stressed that Georgia “has taken huge steps” over the past years to develop its transport and logistic sectors and infrastructure, refine laws and integrate itself into global transport systems.

“Today Georgia is a reliable and trustworthy partner, with free trade deals with the EU and China, offering big opportunities both for local and foreign investors,” Gakharia said.

The Tbilisi Silk Road Forum 2019, organised by the Georgian government, has attracted over 2,000 government and business sector representatives from around 60 countries to discuss various issues concerning transport, communications, trade, energy and tourism.