The Association Agreement (AA) Georgia signed with the European Union (EU) in June last year will have immense benefits for the country and its people, and the flow-on effect will also be beneficial for other countries, says Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili.
One part of the AA – the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) agreement – may increase Georgia’s exports by 12.4 percent and imports by 7.5 percent, said Garibashvili at the Georgian-Estonian Business Forum today.
"There is a much more attractive investment climate in our country and I believe the DCFTA will create new opportunities,” he said.
"As a result of our Government’s economic policy, Georgia’s economic potential and export opportunities has increased significantly. Within a period of two years, Georgia’s exports increased by 24 percent. At the same time exports with the EU increased by 70 percent. This is an important achievement because 80 percent of the DCFTA’s conditions only came into force in September 2014."
Georgia expected demand to increase in the direction of transport and logistics, which was why the Government had made the decision to build a deep water port in Anaklia, the PM said.
"Such a port will increase the turnover via Georgia and improve the fast-growing business service in logistics and warehousing sectors as well as in any kind of processing direction. This will encourage the companies operating in Georgia to benefit from the very favourable conditions such as very low transportation fees, more expedited shipping dates and security.”
The Prime Minister also discussed the idea of establishing a Tbilisi Silk Road Forum.
"This Forum will give us the possibility of hosting high-level meetings where interested states and international organisations can participate. This way we would all contribute to implementing different projects in transport, energy and trade directions at the historic Silk Road route,” Garibashvili said.
The Prime Minister said nowadays Georgia had very close political and economic relations with two successful countries; Turkey and Azerbaijan. He expressed hope that Estonia would also become another important partner country of Georgia.
"Estonia is a very distinguished country with its significant success, which the country achieved in a very short period of time. Estonia is very well known for its achievements in electronic and digital technologies."
"For Georgia’s development it would be very important to develop a dynamic business environment like Estonia has. We are glad that one Estonian company, Skinnest Group, has already been investing in Georgia’s energy sector. I hope that other Estonian companies would enter Georgia and invest here. I would like to mention that Georgia is the leader country in the region in terms of a stable business environment."
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister of Estonia Taavi Roivas declared that Georgian-Estonian business and economic relations should be increased."Georgia will achieve its goal and Estonia will be by Georgia’s side,” said Rovias at the business meeting.
"It is also very important for Estonia to establish business relations abroad. Georgia’s share in the Estonian market is 0.01 percent, which might be increased I suppose. Georgia definitely made the right decisions which led the country to take the leading positions in several business ratings,” he added.
At the Georgian-Estonian Business Forum, Rovias encouraged the business community of both countries to use the opportunities available and establish closer business contacts.
Within the framework of Georgian-Estonian Business Forum, the Georgian-Estonian Chambers of Commerce signed an agreement on international road transport of passengers and cargo between.
Future of the Georgian Economy
Despite the existing challenges in the region, the Georgian economy will experience five percent growth in 2015, announced Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili at the Georgian-Estonian Business Forum.
"The Georgian market is completely open to foreign investors. I would like to mention that there is absolutely equal conditions created for both Georgian and foreign companies in our country. We have created a free, fair and transparent business environment, which is also reflected in the international ratings,” Garibashvili said.
"It should be noted that Georgia takes 22nd place among countries having a free economy, according to the Heritage Foundation, which is an analytical centre. Compared to previous years, Georgia has improved its positions from 10 to six categories, including public finance management, free investment climate and the private property rights protection,” he said.
Garibashvili noted that in 2014 the economic indicators of Georgia had significantly improved. According to Fitch and Moody’s ratings Georgia’s position had improved from ‘stable’ to ‘positive’.
"Despite the fact that, like Estonia, Georgia also has a small population, it is still a beneficial market as Georgia is a regional centre. Georgia is not only the centre of Caucasus region, but also is a link between Central Asia and the EU. This is undoubtedly an important factor,” Garibashvili added.