The Seminar on EU-Georgian Trade Issues
Hotel Tbilisi Marriot, July 18, 2006, Tbilisi. One of the main priorities of EU-Georgia cooperation is to assist with the successful integration of the Georgian economy into the European and global economic system and subsequently, the achievement of sustainable economic growth.
In this regard, special importance is given to raising the public awareness, the business sector in particular, by providing information on internationally recognized trade practices, trade rules and conditions for market access.
In accordance with these objectives, the Commission Delegation to Georgia and the EU-Georgia Business Council organized a Seminar on EU-Georgian Trade Issues (the “seminar”) on 18 July 2006, in Tbilisi.
The seminar was intended to provide governmental officials, NGOs, as well as business sector with the information on the EU’s trade policy, market access conditions, technical regulations and the trade relations between the EU and Georgia. The EU is considered to be one of the best protected markets and this is ensured by efficient non-tariff measures. The EU has however granted to Georgia as one of only 14 countries, a special preferential regime (GSP+).
At the seminar there were over 90 participants including representatives of the Georgian Government, NGO’s, business sector, international organizations, scientists, diplomatic corp (Ambassadors of Romania, Greece and Poland), the European Commission and mass media.
The seminar was very timely as the Georgian Government is working intensively on the diversification of export markets for Georgian products and on increasing export to the EU, as one of the biggest markets.
Welcoming speeches were delivered by Mr. George Baramidze (Vice Prime Minister, State Minister for Integration into European and Euro-Atlantic Structures), Mr. Jemal and Industry), Ms.Tamar Kovziridze (Deputy Minister for Economic Development), Mr. Inaishvili (Vice Speaker of Parliament, President of the Georgian Chamber of Commerce Torben Holtze (Head of Delegation of the European Commission to Georgia) and Mr. Konstantin Zaldastanishvili (Secretary General of the EU-Georgia Business Council).
Presentations in relation to the EU ‘s trade policy, market access conditions, preferential trade regimes, technical regulations, tariff and non-tariff barriers were provided by Ms. Sofia Munoz (Deputy Head of Unit for Russia, CIS, candidate countries and the Balkans, Directorate General for Trade of the European Commission), Mr. Patrice Pillet (International Affairs and Technical Assistance, Directorate General for Taxation and Customs Union of the European Commission) and Mr. Manuel Rodriguez Catalan (Directorate General for Agriculture and Rural development of the European Commission).
Representatives of the Georgian Government and private sector (Ms. Lily Begiashvili – First Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Levan Koberidze – Georgian Wine producers’ Union, Mr. Merab Lominadze – Director of Georgian National Investment and Export Promotion Agency) provided participants with the information on completed and pending legislative reforms, the activities aimed to support the domestic production and export, as well as existing problems in private sector and the possibilities and ways to tackle them.
At the end of the seminar participants expressed their desire to participate in similar events more frequently, in order to increase their knowledge of EU trade regulations and promote EU-Georgia trade-economic relations.