Georgia

Georgia has worked hard to implement free-market policies, invest in tourism and build its hydropower capacity.

The Georgian government has worked hard to implement free-market policies. In addition, it has started to spend modestly on social programs, has built up its anti-trust policies and has amended its labour code to better align with international standards.

The government has a US$6-billion private equity fund that invests in tourism — which accounts for 6% of Georgia’s GDP — as well as agriculture, logistics, energy, infrastructure and manufacturing. Free trade between the EU and Georgia began in July, and Georgians will soon be able to travel in the EU without a visa. Georgia also has a preferential export regime with Canada, the US, Japan, Switzerland and Norway.

Georgia’s economy centres around agriculture, mining (including copper and gold) and small-scale production of such items as alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages, metals, machinery and chemicals.

The country has overcome past energy shortages and gas-supply interruptions with its now-large hydropower capacity. Georgia is home to two oil pipelines and one gas pipeline, with one more under construction. Georgia will play an important role in the delivery of hydrocarbons between the Caspian Sea and the European market with the planned gas pipeline construction and expansion.

GDP growth has been positive since 2010, running as high as 7.2% in 2011 and 2.8% in 2015.

BUSINESS ETIQUETTE

1. Prepare to eat. Georgian cuisine is a unique combination of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern food. Prepare to dine in a warm and inviting setting.

2. Well-dressed folks. Business dress means suits and ties for men and suits or dresses for women.

3. Silence that ring. Smartphones are widely used, but not during business meetings. Georgians frown on taking calls during a meeting

4. Outgoing peers. Georgians are more conversational than Canadians. Expect some small talk before getting down to business.

FACTS FOR INVESTORS

1. Tbilisi is the capital of Georgia and the country’s business centre.

2. Georgia ranks 24th out of 189 countries on the World Bank’s 2016 Ease of Doing Business index.

3. It ranks 43rd out of 144 countries surveyed in Forbes’ 2015 Best Countries for Business list.

4.  On the Fraser Institute’s Economic Freedom of the World annual report for 2015, Georgia ranks 12th.

TRAVEL TIPS

1. Be safe. While Georgia proper is considered safe, Global Affairs Canada advises against travel to the northern regions that border Russia, including Abkhazia and South Ossetia, due to political tensions.

2. Getting around. The road and rail systems are of high quality and easy to navigate. The country is only 69,000 sq. km. so it can easily be crossed in a day. Getting from Tbilisi to Batumi on the Black Sea takes about five hours by train.

3. Wi-fi whereabouts. Wi-Fi access is prevalent. If you don’t need full-time connectivity, you will find enough access to avoid a roaming package.

4. Here’s a tip. In restaurants, a tip of 10% to 15% is expected, but it’s sometimes included in the bill, so be sure to check.

Georgia chart

About the Author

Jennifer Campbell


Jennifer Campbell is a freelance writer based in Ottawa.

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