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Georgia: Country Profile

Recent Developments
In June of 2014, the Association Agreement between Georgia and the European Union was signed. This agreement aims to expand political and economic relations between Georgia and the European Union and to gradually integrate Georgia into the European Union’s internal market.
Georgia’s international ratings has been revised In 2014:
• Standard & Poor’s: BB- Stable (Affirmed in May 2014)
• Moody’s: Ba3 Positive (Affirmed in August 2014)
• Fitch Rating: BB- Positive (Affirmed in October 2014)
The Heritage Foundation ranked Georgia the 22nd among 178 countries in Economic Freedom Ranking.
In the World Bank’s “Ease of Doing Business Index 2014”, Georgia ranks 15th out of the surveyed 189 economies. In the same ranking in 2006 Georgia held the 100th position.
According to the Global Peace Index (GPI) issued by Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) in 2015, Georgia is fourth safest country in the World.

Business and Investment
Environment
Georgian government efforts to reduce corruption in public and private sectors have significantly improved Georgia’s ranking in the World Bank’s Doing Business Survey. By the latest survey it stands on 15th position among 189 countries. Georgia ranks as 1st in property registration, 3rd in dealing with construction permits, 5th in starting a business and 7th in getting the credit.
Among transitional economies, Georgia has improved its ranking in the Corruption Perception Index from 85 to 50 in the years 2002-2005. The Georgian tax system was simplified, customs duties were reduced and procedures for granting licenses and permits were simplified. According to Forbes, Georgia was ranked as 4th least tax burden country in 2008.
At present Georgia enjoys free trade agreement with Turkey and nearly all CIS countries. Georgia is eligible for Most Favored Nation (MFN) treatment from all the WTO member states and is the member of WTO since 2000. Georgia has been granted a Generalized Scheme of Preferences (GSP) treatment by the following countries: the EU, the USA, Japan, Canada, Switzerland and Norway.
The Association Agreement between Georgia and the European Union, signed in June 2014, includes the setting up of a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA). The DCFTA has been enacted since September 2014, therefore products or services produced in Georgia can freely access to the EU market with more than 500 million consumers. DCFTA will contribute to economic growth, integration with world markets and global supply chains, and will open new prospects for Georgia and for entrepreneurs doing business in our country.
In 2015, the Government of Georgia began negotiations on signing the Free trade Agreement with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) that unities Switzerland, Norway, Island and Lichtenstein. After the signing an agreement with the EFTA, market of high purchasing value will open for the Georgian products and services that unities 4 countries and more that 13 million customers.

Legal System
The Constitution, adopted in 1995, sets out the structure of the national government as well as its powers and functions. The powers of government are divided into three branches – legislative, executive and judicial.
The court system in Georgia has three branches: Courts of First Instance (District or City Courts), Appellate Courts and the Supreme Court. First Instance Courts have jurisdiction over all civil, criminal and administrative cases. Decisions from First Instance Courts may be appealed to the Appellate Courts and, from there, to the Supreme Court.
The Constitutional Court of Georgia is the sole organ of constitutional jurisdiction of Georgia.
As an alternative to litigation, Georgia allows for third party arbitration. Georgian law also allows foreign companies to include provisions in their contracts (including those with Georgian entities) that allow for arbitration by international arbitration institutions.

Infrastructure & Transport
Located on the shortest route between Europe and Asia, Georgia’s transport system is a key link in the historic “Silk Road.”
It is believed that long-term growth will stem from Georgia’s role as a transit state for pipelines. Three pipelines currently exist:
• The Baku-Supsa pipeline (GPC-Georgian Pipeline Company) runs 814 km from Baku to Supsa (444 km in Azerbaijan and 370 km in Georgia) and transports “early oil” from the Caspian Sea region.
• The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline extends 1,750 km across Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey and is designed to transport up to one million barrels of Azeri oil per day. The oil is transported via Georgia to the Turkish port of Ceyhan.
• The South Caucasus Pipeline (SCP) System project was completed in late 2006. The initial capacity of the pipeline is 8.8 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas per year and, after 2017, its capacity could be expanded to 20 bcm per year. As part of the transit payment, Georgia will receive 5% of the volume of natural gas transited from Azerbaijan to Turkey. One of the main partner and operator of the project is BP.
Four airports with a total capacity of 3,100 passengers per hour, serve the country in Tbilisi, Batumi, Kutaisi and Mestia. The total length of railway amounts 1,612 km, with capacity of 3.3 million passengers per year and the length of roadways amounts 19,109 km. Completion of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway in 2015 will also stimulate advancement of Georgian Railway.
Major sea ports are located in Poti and Batumi. The Government of Georgia strives to enhance port infrastructure. For this purpose, particular importance is attached to the construction of the new Deep Sea port in Anaklia. Construction of the new port is strategically important and shall result in significant increase in cargo turnover through Georgia.

Energy
Georgia has a developed, stable and reliable energy sector but efforts are required to improve the efficiency in domestic energy use. The most promising source of additional energy generation is hydropower and the Government is focused on securing private investments for the construction of new hydropower stations.
In 2012 9.694 billion kWh was produced in Georgia and consumption amounted 9.379 billion kWh.
With a large number of planned investments in energy sector it is expected that Georgia will be fully energy self-sufficient by the year 2020.