`This is an interesting idea`
15 December, 2011
`This is an interesting idea`

Interview with Secretary General of EU-Georgia Business Council

Negotiations on much anticipated free trade agreement with the EU started on December 12, 2011 and to find out benefits of the upcoming negotiations as well as summarise business climate ups and downs in the year of 2011 Georgian Journal interviewed the Secretary General of EU-Georgia Business Council (EUGBC), Ambass

ador Konstantin Zaldastanishvili.

With senior representation from European and Georgian businesses at the Board of Directors level and an experienced management team, the EUGBC as a Brussels based business association with representation in Georgia is uniquely placed to provide ideal platform for businesspeople to inform the key decision makers of their ideas and concerns.


Q: Mr. Zaldasatanishvili, according to Georgian government, negotiations on Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) with the EU started. What are the prospects for the DCFTA negotiations, when is it supposed to be completed finally and what benefits Georgia should expect out of this trade agreement?

A: First of all, it has to be stated that decision to start the negotiation on DCFTA between Georgia and EU was taken by the EU on December 5, 2011. There is no defined time and nobody can say at this stage for how long the negotiations will last and when DCFTA between Georgia and EU will enter into the force. I am confident that negotiation process will be intensive and its success will be very much depended on readiness and political will of the sides to fulfil the obligations and meet necessary standards and requirements.  In order to mark its exceptional and far-reaching ambitions, the future free trade area with Georgia has been called ‘Deep and Comprehensive’. Traditionally, standard free trade agreements foresee mutual opening of markets for goods and services. DCFTA will go much further – Georgian trade-related legislation and standards will be made compatible with those of the EU. EU is Georgia’s main trading partner, therefore Free Trade Agreement is expected to bring high gains for Georgian economy and increase the welfare implication. DCFTA would involve a more complete elimination of barriers to trade and investment throughout various sectors of the economy. In addition to removing more tariff barriers to trade, DCFTA will also provide an opportunity to address non-tariff barriers. DCFTA will create commitment to the reform of domestic policies of Georgia in the direction of EU standards which is crucial for further economic integration with EU. Moreover, it will further enhance economic ties with the EU and provide for full integration of Georgia with the EU’s internal market. The implementation of the future DCFTA is of key importance for gaining full access to the 3 freedoms of movement out of 4 (goods, capital and services). To meet successfully with all necessary prerequisites of DCFTA, such as perfection of legislation, effective functioning of relevant institutions, ensuring high standards of quality control on Georgian products and other, it is very important that the business community is closely involved in the evolving EU-Georgia trade relations including negotiation process of DCFTA. Therefore, close cooperation between business community, the Government of Georgia, European Commission and other stakeholders is crucial.

Q: How important the EU is to Georgia as a market and economic partner?

A: As I have mentioned, the EU is Georgia’s major trade partner. The share of trade with the EU accounts for approximately 30% of Georgia’s total foreign trade. The EU market has become even more important for Georgia after 2006 Russian embargo. Russia’s such action once again clarified the necessity of export market diversification. For the development of Georgian export it is crucial to penetrate the EU market that is one of the largest, richest, civilised and predictable, but at the same time strictly regulated market.

Q: Georgian government frequently refers to a Singapore economic model and sets it as a model to Georgia. On the other hand, Georgia declares its political will to be integrated in the EU economic space that radically differs from Singapore model. How realistic is a strategy to twin these substantially different economic models in one country, what would be the recommendation to this end?

A: Clearly, defining a country’s economic and political priorities, or choosing the country’s economic and political development path, is the prerogative of the authorities of respective country. It is impossible to follow two cardinally different development paths simultaneously. Since regaining independence, Georgian authorities have repeatedly declared integration in the EU as a major priority of the country’s foreign policy. Let me remind you that in the late 90s, ratification of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) between EU and Georgia was unanimously supported by then at that time quite “multi-coloured” Georgian parliament. This means that at every stage of the country’s development Georgian political spectrum has been united around the crucial issue – prioritising close relationship with the EU. The fact that today Georgia starts negotiations with EU on DCFTA is once again indication of Georgian authority’s clear choice. It is noteworthy that the negotiation process implies asserting certain obligations and accepting the European “rules of the game”. I think that Georgian authorities acknowledge this very well.

Q: One of key challenges that Georgian government tried to settles this year was to make tax code more business-friendly. As far as I am aware of EUGBC was involved in the process. The underway tax code was acknowledged as a breakthrough in 2005 by Rose-revolution government as it reduced tax burden to business, however entrepreneurs have been claiming they would rather have paid more if tax code had been more readable and tax administration easier.  How successful do you think was this time governmental attempt to make tax code more business-orientated?

A: I don’t think that anywhere, including in Georgia, business wishes to pay more taxes than required from the authorities. I agree, however, that transparency of the tax code and its unequivocal interpretation by the tax authorities is very important for business development in the country. Surely, perfection of the tax code is a permanent process, which will be successfully provided that government and business cooperate tightly. Obviously, this should not imply formal cooperation only. Respective government bodies should take into account the business’ legitimate interests and its substantiated proposals when amending the tax code. I hope that such cooperation will prevail considering that without a strong business sector not a single government can be successful in a long term perspective.

Q: Georgian Journal holds the Best Diplomat of the Year award on December 15, 2011 and plans to make it traditional annual event. How do you appreciate the introduction of such award?

A: I certainly consider this is an interesting idea. In order to overcome one of the major problems currently prevailing in the country, restoration of the territorial integrity, it is vitally important to acquire international support. This is a permanent concern of Georgian diplomacy. Another important function of diplomatic corps is to support the development of country’s foreign economic relations. Respectively, it is desirable to better acquaint society to those people who pursue this very important tasks for the country.

Other Stories
Government closes ski resorts in Georgia over COVID-19
The season at the ski resorts of Georgia closes ahead of schedule, the Prime Minister’s spokesman, Irakli Chikovani, said at a briefing.
Georgia will export armored vehicle Didgori Warrior
A new Georgian armored vehicle Didgori, equipped with a 120mm mobile mortar module, will be exported under the agreement signed between the Military Scientific-Technical Center Delta and one of the countries of the Middle East, the Ministry of Defence said.
Korter: Reliable housing property data in Georgia
It's not a simple job to find fresh homes. But when you use the estate choice service Korter, everything becomes distinct.
Rent a car in Tbilisi – Parent.ge
Are you thinking of booking the best vehicles for your next trip at a very reasonable price? If yes, then this is one of the best decisions you can ever make for yourself.
Pleasant Sunday for the whole family – Renewed Sunday’s brunch at The Biltmore Tbilisi Hotel
Summer, the season of endless fun and vacations, has ended and Tbilisi has become a usually crowded city.
GEL devalues, officials show optimism though
Devaluation of the national currency has sent shockwaves among citizens in Georgia. Officials think that the trend will return to its normal frame, though.
ProCredit Bank’s 20 years of challenges and successes in Georgia and what it means to be a responsible bank
“The bank’s 20-year long presence in Georgia was marked by many challenges and success stories.
Comments on alarming GEL devaluation
The National Bank of Georgia set a new exchange rate, according to which, dollar price became GEL 2.9507 on Tuesday.
Euronews and Silknet sign an MOU to launch “Euronews Georgia”
Euronews and Silknet, Georgia’s leading telecommunications company, are announcing the signing of an MOU in view of launching Euronews Georgia, a news channel and digital platform aimed at a Georgian-speaking audience.
Green Diamond starts to hand over flats to owners as second stage of construction finishes
Second stage of construction of Green Diamond living apartments by MAQRO Construction has finished and process of hand over of flats to owners has started.
Georgian wine tasting in the US came off excellently
Georgian wine tasting in the main cities of the US, New York, Chicago, and Boston went off excellently.
The most wanted fruits from Georgia
The fruit exportation has decreased in Georgia. According to Geostat (National Statistics Office of Georgia), this year, up until May Georgia exported 25 939 300 USD worth of fruit – 6 771 300 USD less than in 2018.
Investment Plan for Europe – Additional EUR 800 million for SMEs as EIF and ProCredit double support for innovative companies
The European Investment Fund (EIF) and ProCredit Group are providing an additional EUR 800 million to innovative small and medium-sized companies (SMEs),
Everything of comfortable life in one space – Second part of construction of one of the largest apartment complexes finished in Tbilisi
Apartment in ecologically clean environment, thousands of square meters of green yard, swimming pools, places for various sports activities, treks for walking and running, commercial spaces – all these available in one space is not a fantasy.
Batumi awarded Europe's Leading Emerging Tourism Destination 2019
World Travel Awards Europe Gala Ceremony 2019 took place on the 8th of June in Madeira, Portugal.
Coca Cola to open new factory in Georgia, will hire female drivers
Coca Cola is opening new factory in Georgia in December.
World's best party supply company now on the Georgian market
The largest party supply store in Georgia - MyDay is launching as the official distributor of AMSCAN from 2019.
Live as a marketing tool and an unprecedented live stream launched by Livetag
Sharing information has become smoother and more versatile in today’s technological world. Recently, live streaming, an online streaming media has become especially popular.
Theme and program of Caspian Energy Forum Tbilisi – 2019 changed
“The 8th International Caspian Energy Forum Tbilisi – 2019, scheduled for June 21, will focus on the development of the Azerbaijan-Georgia relations in the field of economy and energy”,
Misunderstanding over Poti deep sea ports
There was misunderstanding around deep sea ports in Georgia – in Poti.
High demand for dollars or the investment decline – Why Georgian Lari depreciates
$1 equals GEL 2,7470 in the official rate set by the National Bank of Georgia (NBG).
PSP Group confirms negotiations regarding purchasing of GEO Hospitals
PSP Group confirms negotiations regarding purchasing of GEO Hospitals.
New life to be given to Dashbashi Canyon
Georgia’s Agency of Protected Areas is planning to give new life to Dashbashi Canyon in Tsalka (southeastern Georgia).
Who is constructing “Khadori 3” Hydropower Plant in Pankisi Gorge?
Clashes broke out in Pankisi Gorge, Georgia’s northeastern region between special forces and residents
Business Positive – Successful radio program from Radio Positive
Starting point of radio program Business Positive is to meet interesting people, communicate with them and deliver information that is interesting for the audience.
GEL Exchange Rate
Other Stories
Recently Toyota rolled out Global Campaign under this slogan that reflects the Olympic and Paralympic Spirit of Encouragement,
A couple from Switzerland combines Swiss tradition and technology with Georgian products. Their cheese is made in the Georgian mountains and sold in local stores and hotels.
It has been more than five years since the residents of Lilo village, near Tbilisi, cannot open their windows.
63 000 GEL was received by the Georgian Agro Export Group which is just a small part of the European Neighbourhood Programme for Agricultural and Rural development.
Georgian entrepreneur Guka Tavberidze, who runs his own business in the UK and does it quite well, has been invited by BBC
The grand opening of 7-star The Biltmore Hotel Tbilisi took place in Georgia’s capital on July 31.
DUSHETI, Georgia – The Georgian government and the World Bank will allocate USD 5.6 million (12 million GEL) to fund
A new Georgian clothing brand named Person has emerged in Georgian market.
Georgia is in the midst of an economic maelstrom, Euronews reports.
Situation at Georgia’s mineral water market is interesting: over the last year, the volume of export has grown by 56 percent. According to “GeoStat”, over $114 million worth of mineral water was sold
GEL Exchange
April 2020
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30