China played an increasingly important role in the South Caucasus Republics’ economy, RISS expert Konstantin Tasits underscored in the analytical article of RISS journal "National Strategy Issues". The author analyses Beijing’s regional approach and the Transcaucasian Republics’ attitudes to the Belt and Road Initiative. "China’s political, economic, and humanitarian ties with the South Caucasus countries are strengthening in the context of the Belt and Road Initiative during the recent years. Beijing is actively cooperating with Transcaucasia to improve its image among the population and to form a loyal attitude to its initiatives in the expert community," he explained.
RISS expert draw attention to the fact that in the last few years, China had become one of the leading trade partners of Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Georgia. "First of all, China is interested in the resources of the region. Georgia and Armenia are exporters of copper concentrate, Azerbaijan exports crude oil. China supplies the South Caucasus with machine-building equipment and a wide range of consumer goods," K.Tasits said.
In his opinion, Transcaucasia was a convenient platform for China to enter the major markets of the third world countries. Georgia has preferential trade regimes with major partners including the European Union, the CIS countries, Turkey, and Russia. Armenia is a member of the Eurasian Economic Union and has a Free Economic Zone on the joint border with Iran in Meghri. In this regard, the attention of Chinese investors is attracted by free economic zones and industrial parks with preferential taxation.
Prospects for strengthening China's interest in Transcaucasia depended on the transport infrastructure in the region, RISS expert pointed out. "In addition, transit countries have to eliminate existing trade barriers to establish competitive trade routes. It is also very important to maintain regional stability in the South Caucasus, to reduce the risk of Georgian-Abkhaz and Georgian-South Ossetian confrontations, as well as the escalation of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict," he said.