PM speaks at International Maritime Forum:
Georgia an “emerging regional maritime hub” linking East-West

PM Giorgi Kvirikashvili introduced Georgia’s political and economic environment to Forum participants. Photo by the PM's press office., 13 Sep 2016 - 14:48, Tbilisi,Georgia

"When foreign investors look at Georgia, they see a stable normative environment with low regulation, low taxation, low red tape and a transparent business environment.”

With these words Georgia’s Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili started his welcoming speech at the first International Maritime Forum, currently taking place in coastal Batumi.

The Forum started yesterday with a sailing regatta on the Black Sea involving eight yachts, while today the conference continued with official meetings. Over the coming days Georgian Government members will meet with honourable guests to discuss Georgia’s growing role as a maritime nation.

The country’s developing business environment and favourable investment climate was also mentioned to the guests, which have come from more than 40 countries to attend the first International Maritime Forum. Among the guests is Secretary General of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Kitak Lim.

The event is taking place from September 12-16 in Batumi in Georgia’s west coast.

Georgia's PM awarded Ambassador of the Republic of Malta to Georgia in the field of international maritime issues with a certificate of appreciation. Photo by the PM's press office. 

When the PM addressed the forum he highlighted Georgia’s attractive business environment that had recently seen a significant surge in Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs). The head of the Georgian Government also introduced the country’s current political and economic environment to forum participants.

Today we are reinforcing our position as a valued and relevant partner of the Euro-Atlantic community,” said Kvirikashvili.
We have signed an Association Agreement (AA) with the European Union (EU) and a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) which came into effect just two months ago. Our relationship with NATO has deepened and we continue to uphold our reputation as a leading reformer in our part of the world,” he added.
Our economy continues to offer a positive narrative of stable economic growth in a region that is experiencing a major slowdown, if not a depression. In 2015 our economy grew 2.8 percent and we estimate at least three percent growth for 2016.”

PM Kvirikashvili proudly talked about the Government’s four-point reform agenda, designed to ensure sustainable development and inclusive growth of Georgia. The already implemented, ongoing and future reforms outlined in the four-point reform agenda covered the tax system and capital markets, as well as the education, health and pension systems.

Keeping in line with the forum’s theme, Kvirikashvili accented Georgia’s role as an emerging maritime transport hub. He said the maritime industry played a crucial role in Georgia due to the country’s location as "a bridge between Europe and Asia”.

Several intergovernmental agreements were signed today during the International Maritime Forum. Photo by the PM's press office. 

He said the Government’s goal was to build Georgia into a prosperous transit country that leveraged its geographic location as a vital crossroads connecting East and West, and North and South.

Georgia’s maritime sector has undergone tremendous changes to abide by the most recent and safest practices in the international transport sector. We have overhauled our seafarers’ education and certification system. Georgia has been successful in IMO and European Maritime Safety Agency audits. Our national tonnage continues to increase with quality ships,” said Kvirikashvili.
Looking ahead, the Georgian Government has an ambitious plan to construct a deep water sea port in Anaklia to accommodate large Panamax type vessels,” he said before emphasised the efforts of the Georgian leadership to protect the environment, including the seas and oceans.

Today at the International Maritime Forum, Kvirikashvili awarded Ambassador of the Republic of Malta to Georgia in the field of international maritime issues Carmen Vassallo with a certificate of appreciation.

Additionally, several intergovernmental agreements were signed today to deepen the bilateral relationships between participating nations.

Later today Georgia’s Maritime Transport Agency will establish the Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA) in Georgia to promote networking and exchange of experience among women who work in management or other top positions in shipping and international trade.