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Georgian Entrepreneurs Face Problems on the Turkish and Azerbaijani Market

The Georgian entrepreneurs have problems when entering the Turkish and Azerbaijani  market. Technical barriers and the customs taxes are  hindering the entry of Georgian  food manufacturers. As a result, the products are smuggled to the neighboring countries.

For this reason, local  entrepreneurs demand to introduce certain restrictions on imports to protect local production.

Gigla Agulashvili, the Agricultural Committee Chairman,  is  familiar with the problem  the entrepreneurs have in the  neighboring countries, however, he is against the imposition of restrictions on imports.

He says  that Turkey has created some barriers on  imports of specific products, it’s a political decision, however, Georgia cannot afford  to  take such a step.

In his words, the barrier may have an instant effect, but  is wrong in the long run.

George Kepashvili, President of  Georgia Beekeepers Association, says that for years buses loaded with smuggled honey have  transported the product from Georgia to Turkey, while  the trade agreement signed between Georgia and Turkey,  envisages free import of 200 tons of honey a year.

Kepashvili notes that the Turkish government does not have the political will to officially allow the Georgian honey into Turkey, and for this reason  hides the information that 200 tons of honey can be brought from Georgia without any  customs duties. Therefore, Kepashvili says the 200-ton quota remains in the air, while the Georgian  budget suffers losses.

He adds that  this  information was provided to the government, however, it has not responded so far. The Ministries  of Economy and Agriculture should be involved in the process and force the Turkish side to inform  a wider public about  the quota”, – says Kepashvili.

In  Azerbaijan, in his opinion, the problem is mainly  caused by the   existing corruption in this country.

Zurab Uchumbegashvili , President of the Poultry Association, also talks about problems in exporting products to  Turkey.

He says that  despite the bilateral trade agreement  and Turkey’s membership in the World Trade Organization,  at the time it developed  mechanisms  to protect its  market.

“It imposed a 108% tax on imports of poultry. Our country  has a 0% tax on  chickens. Egg tax is 12%. Without considering the foregoing, they ask  phytosanitary and veterinary documents that cannot be prepared  in Georgia.  Georgia doesn’t have even the lab that can detect GM products “, – says Uchumbegashvili.

“Absolutely nothing is happening in this regard”, – concludes  Zurab Uchumbegashvili.