(WASHINGTON) — Marking the 20th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the United States and the Republic of Georgia, President Obama on Monday announced the U.S. is willing to explore the “possibility” of a free trade agreement with Georgia.
Following an Oval Office meeting with President Mikheil Saakashvili of Georgia, President Obama said the two leaders agreed to “a high-level dialogue between our two countries about how we can continue to strengthen trade relations between our two countries, including the possibility of a free trade agreement.”
“Obviously, there’s a lot of work to be done and there are going to be a lot of options that are going to be explored,” Obama added. “The key point, though, is we think it’s a win-win for the United States and for Georgia as we continue to find opportunities for businesses to invest in Georgia, for us to be able to sell Georgia our goods and services, and Georgia to be able to sell theirs as well.”
While there is no timetable yet for working on a free-trade deal, Saakashvili said that such an agreement would “attract lots of additional activity to my country” and help “our nation-building process.”
Obama said Georgia should be proud of the progress it’s made in building a sovereign and democratic country and assured Saakashvili that the U.S. will continue to support Georgia’s aspirations to join NATO.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Laura Smith-Spark, CNN
Laura Smith-Spark and Jose Manuel Rodriguez, CNN
Catherine E. Shoichet, Max Blau and Steve Almasy, CNN