The European Union says it will start talks early next year on a free-trade area with Georgia and Moldova.
The move comes less than a month after Georgia dropped its resistance to Russia entering the World Trade Organization, following pressure from the EU and the United States.
Both countries already have preferential access to the EU market but the 27-nation bloc says they have made enough progress on regulatory reforms to negotiate greater access.
EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht said in a statement that "a deep and comprehensive free trade area will help Georgia and Moldova to become more competitive and enjoy the benefits of the EU single market."
The EU is already the main trading partner of both countries.