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EU Trade Commissionner - Cecilia Malmström

Meeting with the European community in Georgia.

EU Trade Commissionner - Cecilia Malmström

19 March 2019

 

On March 22, the European Commissioner for Trade participated in the EU-Georgia Business Council Forum, where she welcomed the progress achieved since the adoption of the Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement in 2014. She exchanged views with company representatives on the promotion of the Georgian agricultural and wine sector. H.E. Pascal Meunier, French Ambassador in Georgia and the CCIFG took part in the meeting.

 

The Minister of Economy of Georgia, George Kobulia, stressed the importance of Georgia's economic integration into the European Union and the implementation of the Comprehensive Free Trade Agreemen. in depth (DCFTA). The Minister also discussed the reforms that have favored the business and foreign investment climate, such as the introduction of new laws, favorable taxation, etc. This climate is notably reflected in the Doing Business indicator of the World Bank, which places Georgia in 6th place out of 190 countries in 2019.

However, efforts still need to be made, especially in the field of logistics and transport, in order to provide efficient access to its market. The Minister mentioned some obstacles to the implementation of the requirements of the Association Agreement: compliance with European standards, particularly in the agri-food sector, the integration of Georgian companies into the European market and vocational training. In order to overcome these difficulties, the government plans to set up a program of support for businesses and apprenticeships (provides training for 40 to 50,000 people per year).

The Commissioner welcomed the increase in trade between the European Union and Georgia five years after the signature of the DCFTA and called for further efforts in the context of the consolidation of exported products (honey, fruit, wine, socks ...) which must comply with European standards, the reduction of barriers to trade, the strengthening of the rule of law and good governance, public procurement and food security. Since the entry into force of the agreement in 2014, 600 million euros have been allocated to Georgian companies. The European Union has also set up support programs for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that have enabled the creation and maintenance of skilled jobs. The Regional Representative for the South Caucasus of the European Investment Bank (EIB), Mr. Maciej Czura, added that the EIB has set up several programs to enable SMEs to get access to capitals, microfinance and recently to portfolio guarantee instruments.

Three companies were presented as part of the "Georgia's sucess stories" roundtable, among them "Lukasi Winery" represented by its director Kate Gersamia, who spoke about the development of a hotel industry in connection with a French company. (BPM Architects). The director pointed out two major problems: the lack of support for small wine businesses and the weak position of women in this area. Giorgi Svanidze, founder of "Geoolive" introduced his company that produces olive oil. It has 700 ha in Georgia and has become a member of the International Olive Council. Finally, Nona Tordia, founder and director of "Gemuani", presented her company created in 2011, which specializes in freeze-drying fruit and vegetables, a new technology that is still expensive.

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