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A Chinese consortium of China Communications Construction Company Limited (CCCC) and China Harbor Investment, based in Singapore and an investment arm of China Harbor Engineering Company, along with the administration of Georgia, have signed a contract to build a deep-water port at Anaklia on the Black Sea, in which Georgia will control 51% and the Chinese consortium will have 49%. On May 30, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Kobakhidze emphasized the significance of involving a Chinese company in the implementation of the Anaklia port project in the country’s northwest, adding freight from the country would play a “crucial role” in the “efficient operation” of the port. In February, Kobakhidze, then a candidate for prime minister, stressed his government would prioritize the construction of the Anaklia port. Development of other ports and “strengthening of resources” would also be in his government’s plans, he said at the time, pointing to projects to upgrade the Poti port and construction of the Black Sea submarine electricity cable project, intended to connect the grids of the South Caucasus and European Union member states. In addition to the port, Chinese companies are involved in a project, building a 56-km highway project. Both projects will facilitate the Middle Corridor of the Belt and Road Initiative.

The U.S. State Department has passed a lie via Tinatin Khidasheli, chair of Tbilisi-based NGO Civic Initiative for Democratic and Euro-Atlantic Choice (aka Civic IDEA) that CCCC is under U.S. sanctions. Georgia’s Economy Ministry released a statement yesterday that “This [U.S.] restriction applies to specific transactions and does not block assets or limit financial transactions with CCCC and its subsidiaries, unless they involve exports, re-exports, or technology transfers. Moreover, the restrictions do not prevent others from purchasing services or goods from CCCC and its affiliates,” the Ministry said, asserting that it is a “purely political campaign” against the consortium and said it aimed to “obstruct” the project.

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