EBRD: “EBRD and EU prepare businesses for free trade area in Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine”

The DCFTA offers new opportunities to businesses in Georgia. Photo by EBRD.
Agenda.ge, Sep 13, 2016, Tbilisi, Georgia

The prospect of free trade with the European Union offers many new opportunities to businesses in Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, writes Volker Ahlemeyed in a piece for the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

Together, the EBRD and the EU are providing support to help businesses there take full advantage of unrestricted access to the world’s largest market. This became possible after the countries signed an Association Agreement (AA) with the EU, which foresees the establishment of a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) between each country and the EU.

Ahlemeyed explained these deals were expected to provide businesses and the economy with a vital boost, and the EBRD was providing finances to small and medium-sized (SME) enterprises in Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.

The Bank’s Vice-President for Policy and Partnerships Alain Pilloux, said the DCFTA brought with it framework that required investments and necessary conditions to comply with higher technical standards, and encourage new business relationships.

These new business relationships were vital in Georgia, wrote Ahlemeyed. One example of how a company and the population, as a whole, can benefits from two organisations’ cooperation to boost economic development, is with Stereo+.

Stereo+ obtained an EBRD loan, which supported the switch from analogue to digital broadcasting in Georgia. The EU backed this transaction again through a risk-sharing facility. The digital switchover was critical in modernising Georgia’s information technology and communications sector and helped the country meet EU standards,” wrote Ahlemeyed.

"This helps to open up new market opportunities, as the move to digital broadcasting freed up frequencies. The freed up frequencies can be re-allocated for other uses, which can include more advanced communication services, the so-called ‘digital dividend’, leading to a more competitive market.

Founder of Stereo+ Professor David Zilpimiani said: "We would not have been able to take part in the switch-over project without the EBRD’s loan. Many businesses find it tough to access finance to further expand their activities, especially in the communications sector.”

Read the full article here: www.ebrd.com