BUSINESS
What steps Georgian products need to take for entering the EU
12 June, 2018
Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) is an essential part of the Association Agreement with the EU (signed in June 2014) and implies free movement of the products on the European market. It provides trade liberalization and enables Georgian entrepreneurs to be exempt from custom tariffs. Yet, for entering European market certain requirements regarding product safety should be met and eventually EU citizens will be able to consume Georgian products.

Despite the fact that the EU is a huge producer
of food, its import index is still quite high. Moreover, it is also notable that EU’s market is distinguished by its massive spending on the nurtures and thus Georgia has a potential to be joining this market. This assertion is even backed up by the successful examples of Georgian companies already operating on the European market. For instance, one of the hazelnut producers, LTD Qeskia, founded in 1996, has already exported its products to Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Czech Republic and Poland.
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According to the owner of Qeskia, Mariam Kodua, implementation of DCFTA impacted positively on the acceleration of trade relations with the EU and decreased the number of barriers for entering the EU market. Additionally, DCFTA also encouraged the entrepreneurs to pay more attention to the quality of their products in order to satisfy the phytosanitary, hygienic, safety and quality requirements.

“Namely, in case of nuts, attention is paid to its parameters, sizes and moisture. One of the most important requirements is also safety of the product, which can be checked by the National Food Agency. In addition, products should not be contaminated with unknown pesticides, insects, should not include toxins, etc. “

Based in her own experience, Ms. Kodua advised fledgling and old entrepreneurs to use various resources for finding clients on the EU market.

“There are different advertisement web-sites, where you can display the information about your company. I personally actively use alibaba.com, LinkedIn, etc. Plus, you can join an International Association of Exporters. However, the most effective way is still taking part in the exhibitions.”

According to her, primary advantage of the EU market is that it is quite stable, in contrast to others, like Russian market. In case of any complications, the legal dispute is more transparent and reliable.

As for the competitiveness of Georgian products on the EU market, Georgian hazelnuts are relatively advantageous due to its low price (it costs 0.50 EUR less than Turkish one), though in terms of quality it still requires improvement.

Information about the competitiveness and opportunities of Georgian products has been provided also by the company which is producing Georgian dry fruit.

Marketing coordinator of the “Qareli Fruits”, Tamaz Kvirikadze stated that the company has been presented on the EU market for one year already.
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Dried fruit produced by Kareli Fruits

In order to export Georgian fruit to the EU, company had to obtain certain certificates. In the first place, “ISO” Certificate was required, which is the standard of safety and quality control. In addition, they also received the "HACCP" certificate that determines an international standard of food quality. After all, they renewed and replaced the packaging of products and exported to the EU internal market.

As Mr. Kvirikadze noted, Georgian dry fruit’s advantage lies into its organic features and tasteful qualities.

“Georgian products have truly immense opportunities on the EU market, especially when cooperating with wholesale purchaser. As for the access to the retail market, more serious marketing investments are required, without which it would be quite difficult to succeed.”

Yet another good example of successful Georgian export business is LTD Nergeta. Namely, the company exports Georgian kiwi to Germany. According to one of the co-founders of the company, Mr. Romeo Japava, Georgian kiwi can be found into the supermarket chains – Lidl.
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Georgian Kiwi on German market

Mr. Japava noted that for accessing to the EU market, they had to provide Global G.A.P Certificate. To receive this document, company invited one of the European Agencies and went through number of quality and safety examinations.

“As for the visual aspects of the fruit, the requirements differ based on private necessities of consumers. For instance, regarding kiwi, there are mostly divergent requirements related to size.”

To sum up, it is vivid that the EU’s internal market guarantees stability and quality. In order to reach there all tariffs and customs barriers are removed. Only requirements remained refers to the security and quality aspects.

Author: Gvantsa Kakauridze

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