Poland and Georgia enjoy strong political and friendly relations. Poland is truly Georgia’s key international partner. Even now, in times of the pandemic, states have very good dynamics of bilateral activities. On May 26, 2021 Georgia celebrates 103 years of the Democratic Republic of Georgia as well as 30th anniversary of the restoration of independence from the Soviet Union. On this very day, the President of Poland, H.E. Andrzej Duda paid a visit to Georgia and took part in the events dedicated to the auspicious anniversary of our country. Georgia has always belonged to the European civilization. Georgia’s strong political will is to become the member of EU. Over the past decades, the broader relationship between the EU and Georgia has advanced in all directions. In this context, Georgia’s European integration is irreversible, it is our national idea and a civilizational choice.
The European Union is Georgia’s main trading partner. The EU Association Agreement which was signed in 2014 certainly boosted our efforts towards gradual establishment of the European regulations and standards in Georgia. EU continues to support the efforts of the Georgian government to be part of the global economic agenda, where created opportunities are making Georgia more competitive and attractive at international market. Thus we devote particular attention to the effective implementation of the Agreement, including the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement that is already showing substantial results. It has opened up new prospects for representatives of Georgian companies to gradually integrate into the EU’s internal market and increase the country’s export potential.
The Eastern Partnership is the main instrument in the framework of cooperation with the EU. Georgia, as one of the leader country within this format pays particular attention to deepening existing cooperation. Based on recently signed Memorandum of Understanding by the Associated Trio, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, states are consolidating their efforts to set the pace to their European integration process. Associated Trio will work together to enhance political dialogue and economic and sectoral integration with the EU. In this process, Georgia recognizes the importance of making the best use of all relevant tools and mechanisms that the EU can offer. Our priorities for action include expanding the Associated Trio’s dialogue with the European Commission to areas such as transport, energy, digital transformation, green economy, and strategic communications.
Georgia is determined to pursue its integration agenda in the coming years and fully realizes the potential of the AA/DCFTA in order to prepare a solid ground for the next political steps towards the membership path. In this context, the gradual and full access to the EU Single Market could be the next overarching benchmark of Georgia’s European integration. Moreover, successful implementation of Association Agreement including DCFTA and launch of the visa-free regime of Georgia with the EU is a recognition of the efficiency of Georgia’s reforms and institutions. Visa waiver is an opportunity for Georgian entrepreneurs to establish more business contacts in Europe; for Georgian small and medium-size entrepreneurs to participate in exhibitions in Europe and establish people to people contacts. No doubt that after many years of progress, pandemic has pushed globe towards the worst recession in decades. In our globalized world where all sectors are interconnected, trade, production, investment, services, mobility of people are significantly reduced, consequently, the situation has been worsened in almost all sectors, with the exception of a few. Notwithstanding the pandemic the Economic policy of Georgia continued to be oriented on free, fair, inclusive and sustainable development, therefore the outbreak of Covid-19 represents enormous challenge for our economy, which has interrupted Georgia’s positive economic trajectory. Last year GDP growth rate of Georgia dropped to – 6,2% and foreign trade narrowed by 14,8%. According to IMF projections Georgian economy will grow by 3.5% in 2021 and 5.8% in 2022.
Despite challenging period in 2020, Georgia evaluated some significant datas, namely – according to “Doing Business 2020” by World Bank, Georgia made the significant progress in the ranking and takes 7th position among 190 countries. Compared to the previous year, Distance to Frontier of Georgia improved by 0.2 points and amounted to 83.7 score. At the same time, in 2020, Georgia is in the list of top ten countries in 3 indicators amongst 190 countries, such as Starting a Business – 2nd position; Registering Property – 5th position and Protecting Minority Investors – 7th position. Georgia is also the Top Improver since 2003 in EE&CA and globally – With 51 institutional and regulatory reforms and is featured on the list of 10 top improvers for three consecutive Doing Business cycles. These successes, as highlighted by international institutions, are not only good news for Georgians. They are also good news for our trading partners.
Today Georgia is a successful democracy in Eastern Europe and, as an example of European integration, brings the European Union significant benefits. Georgia is the EU’s gateway to the Caucasus, the Caspian Sea and Central Asia. Ambition of Georgia is to become the hub for trade and doing business in our region. Georgia has created one of the best investment climates – effective public services, fair and transparent business environment, including tax legislation, which was reflected in international institutions ratings and continues to improve. Moreover we give investors unique opportunity with 2.3 billion market access and we aim to negotiate Free Trade Deals in the nearest future also with US, Israel, India, Indonesia, Korea and Gulf region.
As a Black Sea coastal state and an alternative transport hub in Europe, it can play an important role in transport and energy routes. In this context, Georgia expects to vest more efforts and resources into exploiting fully the economic and connectivity potential of the Black Sea. Further development of the interconnections especially in the field of transport is of strategic importance for Georgia and Region.
Global pandemic slowed down the cooperation process, but interest exists on both, Georgian and Polish sides, we believe there is still an untapped potential and plenty opportunities for investment and trade between our countries. Further supporting these relations is also one of the priorities of the Embassy of Georgia to the Republic of Poland, which uses the available economic diplomacy tools for this purpose.
We as an Embassy have a lot of plans, projects and will spare no effort to promote and strengthen our bilateral relations in order to identify new directions of cooperation. The establishment of Polish-Georgian Chamber of Commerce underlines this very commitment and our heartfelt desire to take our bilateral economic and trade cooperation to the new level. We are proud to witness that bilateral cooperation between Georgia and Poland are in an active phase and comprise wide range of areas, including political support, education, culture, economic and very intensive people-to-people interaction. It is a great pleasure to observe that more and more Georgian youths arrive to Poland to apply for a proper higher education. Tourism is one of the most dynamically developing sectors of Georgian economy with significant potential for further growth. Georgia has always been one of the favorite destinations for the Polish travelers. Hopefully, as soon as pandemic slows down, the number of visitors from Poland will continue to grow again, as in previous years when Poland firmly ranked the first position by arrivals in Georgia from the countries of European Union.
The one of successful example of Polish business in Georgia is the LOT Polish Airlines. Unfortunately, global pandemic that is hitting international travel and tourism directly also affected LOT flights to Georgia. In this context, we welcome resumption of regular flights by LOT that has recently restarted regular operations. Georgia and Poland have a very fruitful cooperation on the regional and municipal levels. Countries count more than 40 twinned-cities and regions. In this connection, should be mentioned the relationship between lower Silesia and Adjara Regions that serves as one of the best examples of twin regions. Their cooperation is very diverse, covers various areas and is well reflected through a number of important projects. Highly valuable is Poland’s practical support in bringing Georgian institutions in line with the EU standards and practices through its active involvement in EU-funded projects. Poland is a reliable twinning partner country for Georgia with 5 Projects.
It is a well-known fact that Georgia is considered to be the birthplace of wine. Wine has been produced in the country for over 8,000 years. Furthermore, the Georgian way of winemaking – in clay pots called “Qvevri” – belongs to UNESCO Intangible Heritage of Humanity. Wine is one of the biggest generator of countries export and each year the revenue and volume of export is gradually increasing. During the recent years Poland firmly upholds its position in top five countries in the World by imported the most bottles of Georgian wine. Despite the pandemic, last year was not an exception and Export growth was increased in Poland by 27% in January-December, 2020 period by exporting up to 5 mil bottles of wine.
Trade between Poland and Georgia has grown steadily over the last years. The most important Georgian export products to Poland are wine, wood products, nuts, clothes, alcoholic beverages, chemical products. It is also should be mentioned that last year, in terms of pandemic, there was a decrease in the volume of trade by approximately 18 %. Next year, Georgia and Poland will celebrate 30th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between our countries and we are looking forward to a new chapter in our bilateral cooperation. It takes some time to go back to so-called ,,old normal” but we do believe that in post-pandemic world business cooperation between Georgia and Poland will achieve new heights.
In this context, we believe that Polish companies will find many suitable partner companies and will expand their business activities in Georgia. We truly value the role that business has to play in driving the development of our bilateral relations forward.
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