Your Excellency Mr. President of Georgia,
Your Excellency Mr. President of Ukraine,
Ladies and gentlemen,
At the outset, let me express my sincere gratitude to the organizers of this event for given opportunity to address this distinguished audience and, having in mind limits of time, let me very briefly share with you some ideas on the subject of today’s presentation;
Significance not only for Georgia, but for the whole region;
In last years, Georgia faced with tough challenges: ban from first trade partner market, dramatic upgrade of energy supply prices, transport blockade from the North, aggression, resulted in occupation of Georgia’s 20% of territory, global financial crisis. In these circumstances, Georgia ten fold upgraded state budget, reached double digit annual GDP growth before Russian-Georgian war, this year, following IMF predictions 2% negative GDP growth will be registered, and 2% GDP growth will be demonstrated next year. Although prediction of Georgian Government for next year is 5%;
Today GUAM member states, Azerbaijan and Ukraine, are number 2 and 3 trade partners of Georgia, after Turkey. With all three countries Georgia excellent partner relations, and free trade regime – bilateral with Turkey and under Free Trade Zone of GUAM with Azerbaijan and Ukraine. This means, that Georgia’s foreign trade is going to and coming from friendly markets, contributing to sustainability of Georgian economy. In addition negotiations on Free Trade Regime with EU, Georgia enjoys preferential trade regime with, are underway. Respectively, there is no threat anymore, that important trade partner will blockade country overnight, subject to political speculations/reasons. For those who will invest in Poti Free Industrial Zone it means access to the global market of more than 630 mln. people with excellent proximity and transport connections;
Georgia’s example demonstrates, that liberal approach, transparency and competitiveness, promotion of business create opportunity to deal with most difficult challenges and implement mega projects;
Few words about role and place of Poti Free Industrial Zone in the light of regional developments and GUAM cooperation process;
One of our basic priorities is to upgrade the attractiveness of GUAM transit potential. GUAM Sectoral Cooperation Development Strategy in the field of transport, among other objectives, outlines:
- harmonization of legislation and mechanisms for its execution;
- defining principles for the development of a flexible tariff policy in the field of passenger and freight transportation;
- promoting development of all types of transport services among GUAM Member-States;
- developing transport infrastructure and setting up a stable chain for multimodal transportation.
Poti, which always played important role in GUAM transport corridor, with the implementation of Poti Free Industrial Zone Project, will become even more significant; It is worth mentioning, that GUAM transport corridor is a central component of EU initiated and promoted TRACECA project;
Aliat – highway(Ganja-Tbilisi component, TTF on customs)/railway (bottlenecks) Baku-Poti – Poti – railway ferry boat lines Poti – Illichevsk/Poti-Kerch – through Cishineu to EU border/through Ukrainian transport network (Odessa-Kyiv-EU border) to EU border, including “Viking” connection and Odessa-Brody pipeline route;
Poti Free Industrial Zone will upgrade GUAM transport corridor potential and GUAM transport concept will contribute to Poti Free Industrial Zone capacity;
We invite international business community to invest agressively in the project and wish all success to it. GUAM stands ready to contribute with its organizational structure and institutional capacity, as this project may serve for other GUAM states as example to follow.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.