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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
10TBILISI198 2010-02-17 07:25 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Tbilisi


DE RUEHSI #0198/01 0480725
R 170725Z FEB 10

DEPT FOR EUR/CARC, EEB/IFD, N. Hatcher, G. Hicks 
PLEASE PASS TO USTR P. Burkhead, J. Kallmer 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
REF: 09 STATE 124006 
1.  Per reftel, below is Embassy TbilisiQs Investment Climate Statement 
for submission for 2009. 
Since 2004,, the Georgian Government has undertaken an ambitious 
program to modernize and liberalize its economy.  Institutional reforms 
include restructuring and downsizing government ministries, privatizing 
large state-owned entities, increasing public servant salaries, 
reducing the number and rates of taxes, improving tax and fiscal 
administration, streamlining licensing requirements, simplifying 
customs and border formalities, and generally undertaking efforts to 
make it easier to do business in Georgia.  The current Georgian 
leadership views liberal market economies like Singapore and Dubai as 
models for economic growth.  Prior to the August 2008 war with Russia 
and the global financial crisis, the Georgian economy had experienced 
multiple years of double-digit growth.    Despite the dual shock, the 
Georgian economy grew by 2.1 percent in 2008.  In 2009, the Georgian 
economy contracted by four percent. 
In 2009, Georgia moved from 18 to 16 on the World BankQs QDoing 
Business Report.Q  In 2010, Georgia moved from 16 to 11.  The report 
measures business regulations and their enforcement across 183 
economies.  The report states that QGeorgia eased the process for 
dealing with construction permits by introducing simplified, risk-based 
approval processes and new time limits. The documentation requirements 
for import and export were simplified, and there was a significant 
decrease in the cost of trade.Q  Georgia tops the rankings for the 
IFCQs 2009 report singled out the areas of Starting a Business, 
Registering Property, Getting Credit and Paying Taxes as GeorgiaQs 
priority achievements.  In addition, new regulations guarantee the 
right of borrowers to inspect their data at a private credit bureau, 
helping to improve the quality and accuracy of credit information. 
Amendments to the civil code, effective December 2007, address secured 
transactions, allowing parties to a security agreement to agree to 
out-of-court enforcement of the creditorQs security rights at the time 
the parties sign the security agreement.  The corporate income tax rate 
was reduced from 20 percent to 15 percent, and the social tax 
abolished.  A new online business registry makes it easier to register 
property by eliminating the requirement for legal entities to obtain 
several pre-registration documents. This reform reduced the number of 
procedures required to transfer a title from five to two, and the time 
from five days to three. Registration fees were also reduced. Finally, 
amendments to the Law on Entrepreneurs made it easier to start a 
company by eliminating the requirements for minimum capital, a company 
seal and a company charter and by making the use of notaries optional. 
In the 2008 Report, The World Bank credited Georgia for strengthening 
investor protections with amendments to its securities law which 
eliminated loopholes allowing corporate insiders to expropriate 
minority investors.  Georgia adopted a new insolvency law shortening 
timelines for reorganization of a distressed company or disposition of 
a debtor's assets.  The law shortened the approval process for 
construction permits and simplified procedures for registering 
property.  It made starting a business easier by eliminating capital 
requirements.  In addition, the country's private credit bureau added 
payment information from retailers, utilities and trade creditors to 
Qpayment information from retailers, utilities and trade creditors to 
the data it collects and distributes. 
Georgia scored high in the Heritage Foundation/ Wall Street Journal 
2009 Economic Freedom Report.  This index measures 162 countries across 
ten specific factors: Business Freedom, Trade Freedom, Fiscal Freedom, 
Freedom from Government, Monetary Freedom, Investment Freedom, 
Financial Freedom, Property Rights, Freedom from Corruption, and Labor 
Freedom.  Georgia's economic freedom score is 69.8, making its economy 
the 32nd QfreestQ in the 2009 Index. Its overall score is 0.5 points 
higher than 2008 due to improvements in business freedom, trade freedom 
and freedom from corruption. Georgia's economy is qualified under the 
category of 'moderately free', along with Spain, Austria, Norway, the 
Slovak Republic, and the Czech Republic.  Georgia is ranked 19 out of 
43 countries in the European region, and its overall score is equal to 
the European regional average.  According to the report, Georgia scored 
high in business freedom, fiscal freedom, freedom from government, 
investment freedom, and labor freedom, but scored below the average in 
the areas of property rights protection and corruption. 
Judicial corruption remains a problem despite substantial improvement 
in efficiency and fairness in the courts. Both foreigners and Georgians 
continue to question the judicial system's ability to protect private 
property and contracts. The enforcement of laws protecting intellectual 
property rights is inadequate
.  However, the World BankQs 
QAnti-Corruption in Transition 3Q report places Georgia among the 
countries showing the most dramatic improvement in the fight against 
corruption, due to implementation of a strong program of economic and 
institutional reform. 
Georgia also significantly improved in Transparency International's 
(TI) annual Corruption Perceptions Index.  The index scores countries 
on a scale from zero (perceived to be highly corrupt) to ten (perceived 
to have low levels of corruption). Out of the 180 countries surveyed in 
2009, Georgia ranked 66th, moving from 67 in 2008.  In its 2009 report, 
TI concludes, Qpetty corruption has been reduced significantly in 
Georgia. However, concerns remain regarding high-level corruption and 
on corrupt practices in the judiciary.Q 
The Georgian GovernmentQs fiscal and monetary policies have created a 
relatively stable macro-economic environment.  However, in 2009, the 
realities of the global financial crisis and the aftermath of the 2008 
conflict meant the government had to focus on job creation and 
stimulating the economy.  In 2009 the economy contracted by four 
percent, following growth of 2.1 percent (2008) and 12.4 percent 
(2007).  Estimated growth for 2010 stands at two percent. 
Inflation for 2009 totaled three percent, a significant drop from 
inflation of ten percent in 2008.  This decrease was largely due to the 
economic slowdown.  Hoping for economic recovery, the Government has 
projected inflation for 2010 at six percent. 
The Georgian lari has remained relatively stable despite multiple 
economic shocks.  Following the August 2008 crisis, the lari moved from 
1.4 lari to the dollar to 1.65 lari to the dollar.  Though it 
fluctuated slightly, the lari remained at approximately 1.67 lari to 
the dollar throughout 2009.  The Georgian Government manages the 
currency, and has intervened, for example after the 2008 conflict, to 
stop the currency from devaluation. 
Based on the economyQs overall performance and the Georgian 
governmentQs strong commitment to structural changes, Georgia received 
its first sovereign credit rating in late 2005 from Standard and PoorQs 
(S&P) - a QB+Q long term and a QBQ short term.  In September 2009, the 
S&P long-term/short-term credit rating for the Government of Georgia 
were QB/BQ with a QstableQ ratings forecast. The estimated risk of 
transfer and converting of currency for Georgian non-sovereign 
borrowers is "B/B-".   In its analysis, S&P notes a potential risk to 
the economy once assistance pledged following the 2008 conflict 
(estimated at USD 5.7 billion) has been disbursed.   Fitch currently 
rates Georgia, which launched its debut $500 million Eurobond in spring 
2008, as QB/B-Q with a stable outlook. In August 2009, Fitch Ratings 
affirmed GeorgiaQs Long-Term Foreign Currency (FC) and Local Currency 
(LC) Issuer Default Ratings at QB+Q, removing them from Rating Watch 
Negative and assigning stable outlooks.  At the same time, Fitch 
upgraded GeorgiaQs Country Ceiling to QB/B-Q from QB+Q. In upgrading 
Georgia, Fitch noted GeorgiaQs GDP per capita and level of human 
development is significantly higher than the QBQ range median. It has a 
favorable business climate and record of structural reforms, 
underscored by its ranking in the World BankQs Doing Business Survey. 
Over the medium term, Georgia has a promising growth model in its 
favorable business climate, based on low tax rates, light regulation, 
and low corruption; its investment in infrastructure and transport 
links; and its high human capital-to-wage ratio. 
In November 2009, President Saakashvili presented an QAct on Economic 
QIn November 2009, President Saakashvili presented an QAct on Economic 
FreedomQ to the parliament.  The aim of this act is to codify GeorgiaQs 
economic reforms, and the governmentQs commitment to a liberal economy, 
in the countryQs constitution.    The act envisages a minimal state 
role in the economy, creates legislative guarantees for business, and 
bans the introduction of new licenses and permits.  The act also amends 
the constitution to limit the maximum ratio of budgetary expenditures 
to GDP at 30 percent, budget deficit as a percent of GDP at 3 percent, 
and debt-to-GDP ratio at 60 percent.  In addition, taxes will only be 
increased if approved through a public referendum. 
Georgia became a member of the World Trade Organization in 2000.  The 
WTOQs first report on the trade policies and practices of Georgia, 
published in December 2009, noted the success of the countryQs economic 
policies.  The WTO particularly highlighted GeorgiaQs pace of reform 
and the countryQs reliance on the private sector to spur development. 
According to the report, continuing structural reforms will be the key 
to strengthening GeorgiaQs resilience to shocks, sustaining growth, 
attracting investment into export activities, and improving 
Despite improvements to the economy, Georgia still lags in many areas 
important to investors.  More than 25 percent of the population live 
below the poverty line and many still rely on subsistence agriculture. 
Greater familiarity with western business practices and legal norms is 
required.  While physical infrastructure, such as road networks, 
improved significantly from 2005 to 2009, much remains to be done, 
especially in rural areas.  Most natural gas for heating and 
electricity generation is imported.  In a relatively short period, 
however, Georgia has become a net exporter of electricity, selling 
power in Turkey, Russia and throughout the Caucasus.  The 
rehabilitation of existing power plants and the development of new 
ones, together with the costruction of new high voltage electricity 
lines to connected Georgia to Turkey, should ensure Georgia remains a 
key player in the regional electricity trade. 
The main source of sustained future economic growth will be private 
investment, both domestic and foreign.  The governmentQs challenge is 
to implement existing legislation, continue the fight against 
corruption, defuse tensions in the separatist regions, and undertake 
new reforms in order to increase investor confidence. 
Georgia receives assistance from the United States, the European Union, 
and a range of international institutions.  U.S. assistance has focused 
on promoting democratic development and free media, developing rule of 
law, good governance and the administration of government economic and 
financial institutions, improving critical physical infrastructure, 
enhancing private sector competitiveness, and promoting the growth of a 
free market economy.  In 2006, GeorgiaQs clear-cut commitment to reform 
earned it one of the first compacts with the U.S. Millennium Challenge 
Corporation, which has provided investments in infrastructure, tourism, 
and agriculture. 
After the August 2008 conflict with Russia, foreign donors committed 
USD 4.5 billion to help Georgia recover from direct and indirect war 
damage.  According to the World Bank-led international needs assessment 
for Georgia, the major impact of the conflict was on the investment and 
consumer climate, which led to a sharp economic drop in FDI and GDP. 
The United States committed USD 1 billion in assistance to assist in 
repairing damaged infrastructure and
 help the Georgian economy recover 
from the economic shock of the war. 
President Saakashvili and his government have strengthened GeorgiaQs 
bilateral relations with many countries, reaching out to Ukraine, 
Turkey, Italy, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Japan, Kazakhstan, 
the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United States.  Georgia has a 
partnership agreement with the European Union and an action plan for 
reform to allow a closer relationship.  Georgia maintains the goal of 
eventual membership in the European Union.  Georgia is one of only 
fifteen countries in the world that benefit from GSP+ access to the EU 
market, allowing duty-free access for more than 7,000 products.  It is 
making an effort to harmonize its regulatory environment with 
international standards, particularly those established by the EU, and 
is pursuing a free trade agreement with the EU.  Georgia enjoys 
duty-free trade with other former Soviet Union countries.  It benefits 
from preferential trading relationship with the United States, Turkey, 
Canada, Switzerland, and Japan.  In 2007, Georgia signed a free trade 
agreement with Turkey, as well as a Trade and Investment Framework 
Agreement and an Open Skies Agreement with the United States. 
Georgia is located at the crossroads between Europe and Asia.  It is 
the shortest route from Central Asia to Europe, and could be a 
north-south bridge between Turkey and the Russian Federation.  Georgia 
has two deep-water ports on its Black Sea coast, Poti and Batumi. 
Labor costs in Georgia are comparable to the Far East, while transit 
time for shipment of goods to Europe is far less.  The government has 
launched an extensive road rehabilitation project aimed at upgrading 
Qlaunched an extensive road rehabilitation project aimed at upgrading 
the road quality and constructing new facilities to improve 
communication infrastructure. The government allocated USD 310 million 
for road rehabilitation projects in 2009 and projected around USD 420 
million in 2010.  The governments of Turkey, Azerbaijan, and Georgia 
have agreed to construct a rail link from Kars, Turkey through Georgia 
to Baku, Azerbaijan.  Freight from Europe will then be transported 
through Turkey to Baku via Tbilisi and then to Central Asia from Baku 
by ferry.  Ongoing construction of a tunnel under the Bosphorus in 
Istanbul will allow  freight to travel from Georgia directly into 
Europe.  In addition, Georgia is improving its network of rail-ferry 
connections with Black Sea countries, including Ukraine, Romania, and 
Turkey, which will further increase transportation and trade turnover 
with these countries. 
GeorgiaQs relations with its northern neighbor Russia have been 
problematic.  In 2005 and 2006, Russia banned imports of Georgian 
agricultural products, mineral water, and wine.  At the time, Russia 
was the largest importer of Georgian products.  These restrictions 
continue in 2010.  In September 2006, Russia cut all direct transport 
links with Georgia.  Gazprom, the Russian gas monopoly, quadrupled the 
price of natural gas supplied to Georgia over two years.  Despite these 
actions, the Georgian economy has continued to grow.  Georgian 
businesses have diversified markets and continue to actively seeking 
new markets for Georgian products and new sources of imports, 
especially in Ukraine, the Baltics, and Central Europe.  Georgia has 
diversified its energy supplies, purchasing natural gas from Azerbaijan 
and increasing its own hydroelectric generating capacity. 
Openness to Foreign Investment 
Georgia is open to foreign investment and is eager to welcome new 
investors.  The country is currently implementing an aggressive 
marketing campaign to encourage foreign investment, and is developing a 
regulatory framework intended to foster competition.  Legislation 
governing foreign investment establishes favorable conditions, but not 
preferential treatment, for foreign investors.  The Law on Promotion 
and Guarantees of Investment Activity protects foreign investors from 
subsequent legislation that alters the condition of their investments 
for a period of ten years. 
The U.S.-Georgia Bilateal Investment Treaty, in force since 1994, 
guarantees U.S. investors national treatment or most favored nation 
treatment, whichever is better, in the establishment, operation, and 
sale of their investments.  Exceptions to national treatment may be 
made by Georgia for investments in maritime fisheries; air and maritime 
transport and related activities; ownership of broadcast, common 
carrier, or aeronautical radio stations; communications satellites; 
government-supported loans, guarantees, and insurance; and landing of 
submarine cables. 
Legislation governing foreign investment includes the Constitution, the 
Civil Code, the Tax Code, and the Customs Code.  Other relevant 
legislation includes the Law on Entrepreneurs, the Law on Promotion and 
Guarantees of Investment Activity, the Bankruptcy Law, the Law on 
Courts and General Jurisdiction, the Law on Limitation of Monopolistic 
Activity, the Accounting Law, and the Securities Market Law. 
Georgia has negotiated 39 agreements for avoidance of double taxation, 
of which 24 have entered into force.  The active agreements are with 
Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkmenistan, 
Armenia, Kazakhstan, Iran, the Netherlands, Greece, Italy, Belgium, 
Lithuania, Latvia, United Kingdom, China, Austria, Poland, Czech 
Republic, Germany, Finland, Denmark, and Estonia.  Until the treaty 
with France enters into force upon ratification by France, a similar 
agreement signed by the USSR governs the issue.  Eight treaties 
(including the aforementioned with France, Ireland, Kuwait, Luxemburg, 
Malta, Russia, Singapore, and Turkey) have been signed and are awaiting 
ratification by the parliaments of the respective countries.  An 
agreement with Russia was signed in 1999 and ratified by the Georgian 
parliament in 2000.  It has not been ratified by the Russian Duma, but 
Russia regards it as an active agreement.  Negotiations are ongoing 
with Hungary, Israel, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Kyrgyzstan and 
Cyprus. Agreements with Israel and Spain are expected to be signed in 
The legal framework governing the ownership and privatization of 
property is established by the following acts: the Civil Code, the Law 
on Ownership of Agricultural Land, the Law on Private Ownership of 
Non-Agricultural Land, the Law on Management of State-Owned 
Non-Agricultural Land, and the Law on Privatization of State Property. 
Property rights in the extractive industries are governed by the Law on 
Concessions, the Law on Deposits, and the Law on Oil and Gas. 
Intellectual property rights are protected under the Civil Code and by 
the Law on Patents and Trademarks.  Financial sector legislation 
includes the Law on Commercial Banks, the Law on National Banks, and 
the Law on Insurance Activities. 
Georgia does not screen foreign investment in the country, other than 
imposing a registration requirement and certain licensing requirements 
Qimposing a registration requirement and certain licensing requirements 
as outlined below.  Foreign investors have participated in most of the 
major privatizatio
ns of state-owned property.  Transparency of such 
privatizations has at times been an issue, however.  No law 
specifically authorizes private firms to adopt articles of 
incorporation which limit or prohibit foreign investment. 
In 2005, registration of businesses was simplified.  Paperwork and fees 
were reduced and processing time shortened.  The government proudly 
promotes that an entrepreneur can start a business in three days.  All 
companies are required to register with the Ministry of Finance, 
providing foundersQ and firm principals' names, dates and places of 
birth, occupations, and places of residence; incorporation documents; 
area(s) of activity; and charter capital.  This information is made 
public and any person may request and review such information. 
Business registration and tax registration are separate procedures 
handled by the same department within the Ministry of Finance. 
The Government of Georgia has privatized the majority  of the largest 
formerly state-owned enterprises in the country.  Successful 
privatization projects include major deals in energy generation and 
distribution, telecommunications, water utilities, port facilities, 
real estate assets, etc.  By the end of 2009, the government announced 
a new wave of privatization, which includes railway, telecommunication, 
and utilities.  A list of entities available to be privatized can be 
found on the website www.privatization.ge.  Information on investment 
conditions and opportunities can be obtained from the Georgia National 
Investment and Export Promotion Agency, e-mail: 
info@investingeorgia.org, www.investingeorgia.org.  Further information 
is available at a website maintained by the American Chamber of 
Commerce in Georgia, www.investmentguide.ge. 
In 2005, 84 percent of existing licensing requirements were eliminated 
and a Qone stop shopQ for licenses was created.  By law, the government 
has 30 days to make a decision, and if no reasonable ground for 
rejection is stated by the licensing authority within that time, the 
license or permit is deemed to be issued.  Licenses are only required 
for activities that affect public health, national security, and the 
financial sector.  Licensing currently is required in the following 
areas: weapons and explosives production, narcotics, poisonous and 
pharmaceutical substances, exploration and exploitation of renewable or 
non-renewable substances, exploitation of natural resource deposits, 
establishment of casinos and gambling houses and the organization of 
games and lotteries, banking, insurance, trading in securities, 
wireless communication services, and the establishment of radio and 
television channels.  The law requires the state to retain a 
controlling interest in air traffic control, shipping traffic control, 
railroad control systems, defense and weapons industries, and nuclear 
energy.  Only the state may issue currency, banknotes, and certificates 
for goods made from precious metals, import narcotics for medical 
purposes, and produce control systems for the energy sector. 
Conversion and Transfer Policies 
Georgian law guarantees the right of an investor to convert and 
repatriate income after payment of all required taxes.  The investor is 
also entitled to convert and repatriate any compensation received for 
expropriated property.  Moreover, Georgia has accepted the obligations 
of Article VIII, Sections 2, 3, and 4 of the IMF Articles of Agreement, 
effective as of December 20, 1996.  IMF members accepting the 
obligations of Article VIII undertake to refrain from imposing 
restrictions on payments and transfers for current international 
transactions and from engaging in discriminatory currency arrangements 
or multiple currency practices without IMF approval.  By accepting the 
obligations of Article VIII, Georgia gives confidence to the 
international community that it will pursue sound economic policies 
that will obviate the need to use restrictions on the making of 
payments and transfers for current international transactions. 
Under the U.S.-Georgia Bilateral Investment Treaty, the Georgian 
government guarantees that all transfers relating to a covered 
investment by U.S. investors can be made freely and without delay into 
and out of Georgia. 
Foreign investors have the right to hold foreign currency accounts with 
authorized local banks.  The sole legal tender in Georgia is the lari 
(GEL), which is traded on the Tbilisi Interbank Currency Exchange and 
in the foreign exchange bureau market.  There is no difficulty in 
obtaining foreign exchange or significant delays in remitting funds 
overseas through normal channels.  Several Georgian banks participate 
in the SWIFT and Western Union interbank communication networks. 
Businesses report that it takes a maximum of three days to transfer 
money abroad.  There are no known plans to change remittance policies. 
Travelers must declare at the border currency and securities in their 
possession valued at more than GEL 30,000 (USD 17,341). 
Expropriation and Compensation 
The Georgian Constitution protects ownership rights, including 
QThe Georgian Constitution protects ownership rights, including 
ownership, acquisition, disposal, or inheritance of property.  Foreign 
citizens living in Georgia possess rights and obligations equal to 
those of the citizens of Georgia.  The Constitution allows restriction 
or revocation of property rights only in cases of extreme public 
necessity, and then only as allowed by law. 
The Law on Procedures for Forfeiture of Property for Public Needs 
establishes the rules for expropriation domain in Georgia.  The law 
allows expropriation for certain enumerated public needs.  It provides 
a mechanism for valuation and payment of compensation, and for court 
review of the valuation at the option of any party.  The Georgian law 
on investment allows expropriation of foreign investments only with 
appropriate compensation.  Recent amendments to the expropriation law 
allow payment of compensation with property of equal value as well as 
money.  Compensation includes all expenses associated with the 
valuation and delivery of expropriated property.  Compensation must be 
paid without delay and must include both the value of the expropriated 
property as well as the loss suffered by the foreign investor as a 
result of expropriation.  The foreign investor has a right to review an 
expropriation in a Georgian court.  In 2007, Parliament passed a law 
generally prohibiting the government from contesting the privatization 
of real estate sold by the government before August 2007.  The law is 
not applicable to certain enumerated properties. 
The U.S.-Georgia Bilateral Investment Treaty permits expropriation of 
covered investments only for a public purpose, in a non-discriminatory 
manner, upon payment of prompt, adequate and effective compensation, 
and in accordance with due process of law and general principles of 
fair treatment. 
Dispute Settlement 
Georgian investment law allows disputes between a foreign investor and 
a governmental body to be resolved in Georgian courts or at the 
International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), 
unless a different method of dispute settlement is agreed upon between 
 parties.  If the dispute is not considered at ICSID, the foreign 
investor has the right to submit the dispute to any international 
arbitration body which has been set up by the United Nations Commission 
for International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) to resolve the dispute in 
accordance with the rules established under the arbitration and 
international agreement.  Under the U.S.QGeorgia Bilateral Investment 
Treaty, investors have additional rights. 
Georgia is party to the International Convention on the Recognition and 
Enforcement of Foreign Arbitration Awards.  As a result, the Government 
agrees to accept binding international arbitration of investment 
disputes between foreign investors and the state.  The Ministry of 
Justice was designated in December 2005 to oversee the governmentQs 
interests in arbitrations between the state and private investors. 
It is recommended that contracts between private parties include a 
provision for international arbitration of disputes because of 
deficiencies in the Georgian court system.  Litigation can take 
excessively long periods of time.  There is a continuing concern about 
the adquacy of training of judges and about their susceptibility to 
pressure from the government or other outside influences. 
Performance Requirements and Incentives 
Performance requirements are not a condition of establishing, 
maintaining, or expanding an investment, but have been imposed on a 
case-by-case basis in some privatizations, for example, commitments to 
maintain employment levels or to make additional investments within a 
specified period of time.  While many privatizations have proceeded 
smoothly and regularly, the current government has used non-fulfillment 
of performance requirements to justify rescinding privatizations and 
re-selling enterprises, usually for higher prices, sometimes to the 
benefit of other interested parties.  Most types of performance 
requirements are prohibited by the U.S.-Georgia Bilateral Investment 
The Government of Georgia does not offer incentives to foreign 
investors, but relies on the many improvements it has made in the 
overall business climate to attract them to invest in the country. 
Right to Private Ownership and Establishment 
Foreign and domestic private entities may freely establish, acquire, 
and dispose of interests in companies and business enterprises, and 
engage in all forms of remunerative activity.  Some specific laws 
regulate business activity in the banking, agribusiness, energy, 
transport, and tourism sectors.  To the extent that public enterprises 
compete with private enterprises, they do on the basis of equality. 
Foreign individuals and companies may buy non-agricultural land in 
Georgia.  Only Georgian citizens or companies may buy agricultural land 
in their own name, but even agricultural land can be purchased by 
forming a Georgian corporation that may be up to 100 percent 
Investors should exercise extreme caution in purchasing property in 
Abkhazia and South Ossetia.  Land for sale rightfully may belong to 
QAbkhazia and South Ossetia.  Land for sale rightfully may belong to 
internally displaced persons forced to leave Abkhazia and South Ossetia 
in the early 1990s or 2008 and may have improperly been placed on the 
market by the de facto authorities of GeorgiaQs breakaway regions.  The 
government of Georgia considers the sale of property in those regions 
illegal under Georgian law and property could be reclaimed by original 
owners at a future date. 
Protection of Property Rights 
Secured interests in both real and personal property are recognized and 
recorded.  However, deficiencies in the operation of the court system 
can hamper investors from realizing their rights in property offered as 
security.  Foreign investors' interests have sometimes been harmed by 
biased court proceedings and by legislation and decrees that clearly 
favor a Georgian entity or partner involved in the enterprise. 
Judicial reform has been identified as a top priority for the Georgian 
government since late 2005, but it will take some time for court and 
legal reforms to bear fruit.  It is recommended that contracts between 
private parties include a provision for international arbitration of 
Disputes over property rights have undermined confidence in the 
impartiality of the Georgian judicial system and rule of law, and, by 
extension, GeorgiaQs investment climate.  Both foreign and Georgian 
investors have expressed reservations about the competence, 
independence and impartiality of court decisions.  In a few cases lower 
court decisions have changed control of property or of entire 
enterprises on questionable legal grounds or on the basis of forged 
documents.  In some cases these decisions have been reversed by higher 
courts or government action, in others not. 
Protection of Intellectual Property Rights 
Georgia acceded to the WTO and the TRIPS agreement in 2000.  In 2004, 
the Georgian parliament ratified the Rome Convention for Protection of 
the Rights of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting 
Organization, and the Lisbon Agreement on Denomination of Origin.  In 
2005, Georgia joined WIPO International Convention for the Protection 
of New Varieties of Plants.  Georgia is a party to the Bern Convention, 
member of two WIPO digital treaties Q the Copyright Treaty and the 
Performance and Phonograms Treaty, The Hague Agreement and the Budapest 
Treaty Concerning the International Recognition of the Deposit of 
Microorganisms for the Purpose of Patent Procedures. 
Six laws regulate intellectual property rights (IPR): the Law on 
Patents, Law on Trademarks, Law on Copyrights and Neighboring Rights, 
Law on Appellation of Origin and Geographic Indication of Goods, Law on 
Topographies of Integrated Circuits, and Law on IP-Related Border 
Measures.  Georgian law now provides retroactive protection for works 
of literature, art and science, or sound recordings for 50 years. 
While Georgia has brought its legislation into line with international 
standards, enforcement remains problematic.  Pirated video and audio 
recordings, electronic games, and computer software are freely sold in 
Georgia.  Use of unlicensed software in government offices and 
businesses is common.  Internet service providers host websites loaded 
with unlicensed content.  Responsibility for WTO compliance was 
recently been transferred to the Ministry of Economic Development, 
which still needs to develop its capacity in this regard.  The Customs 
Department is developing a new Intellectual Property Objects Register 
to assist in identification of counterfeit goods at the border. 
Nevertheless, IPR awareness in the Department is low and hampered by 
frequent personnel changes.  Further clarification of responsibilities 
between the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Ministryof Finance is 
needed, as the MOIA has authority over some types of property rights 
protection and the Ministry of Finance over others.  Judges and lawyers 
lack knowledge of IPR laws and understanding of IPR issues.  GeorgiaQs 
Patent and Trademark Agency needs greater familiarity with emerging 
Transparency of Regulatory Sy
The Georgian government has made a commitment to greater transparency 
and simplicity of regulation.  Laws and regulations are published in 
Georgian in the official gazette, the Legislative Messenger.  The 
number of taxes has been reduced from 22 to six. The tax on corporate 
profits is 15 percent. The Value Added Tax is 18 percent.  The tax on 
personal income was set at a flat rate of 25 percent after a 2007 law 
increased the personal income tax and eliminated the employer-paid 
social tax on wages.  In 2008, the Government of Georgia further 
Qsocial tax on wages.  In 2008, the Government of Georgia further 
reduced the personal income tax rate from 25 percent to 20 percent and 
reduced the dividend income tax rate from ten to five percent.  Both 
reductions took effect on January 1, 2009.  This new initiative is an 
acceleration of legally binding commitments, made earlier, to reduce 
the personal income tax rate to 15 percent by 2013 and to further 
reduce the dividend income tax rate to zero by 2012.  Legislation was 
passed in 2008 setting zero dividend and capital gains tax rates with 
respect to publicly traded equities (defined as having free float in 
excess of 25 percent).  There are excise taxes on cigarettes, alcohol, 
and fuel.  Imports are taxes at rates of  zero, five, and 12 percent. 
Nearly all goods, except for some agricultural products, are taxed at 
the zero rate. 
The Georgian National Investment and Export Promotion Agency has 
established Business Information Centers in Tbilisi and other Georgian 
cities.  These centers are intended to provide domestic and foreign 
businesses with a standard package of information relevant to doing 
business in Georgia.  They also provide specific information according 
to the needs of individual businesses.  The Business Information 
Centers are also conducting an ongoing public-private dialog to 
facilitate communication between regulators and the business community. 
International accounting standards became binding for joint stock 
companies in Georgia as of January 1, 2000.  For other institutions, 
such as banks, insurance companies and companies operating in the field 
of insurance, as well as limited liability companies, limited 
partnerships, joint liability companies, and cooperatives, the 
standards became binding on January 1, 2001.  Private companies 
(excluding sole entrepreneurs, small businesses and non-commercial 
legal entities) are required to perform accounting and financial 
reporting in accordance with international accounting standards.  Sole 
entrepreneurs, small businesses, and non-commercial legal entities 
perform accounting and financial reporting following simplified interim 
standards approved by the Parliamentary Accounting Commission.  Despite 
the legal requirement, the conversion to international accounting 
standards is going slowly, in part because many businesses have 
operated in the shadow economy, or maintained two sets of books. 
Qualified accounting personnel are in short supply. 
Efficient Capital Markets and Portfolio Investment 
Banking was one of the fastest growing sectors in the Georgian economy 
from 2003-2008.  However, growth slowed during 2008-2009 due to the 
Russia-Georgia conflict and the world financial crisis.  The share of 
banking assets amounted to 42 percent of GDP in 2007 and is expected to 
reach 60 percent by the end of 2009.  Currently, the banking system 
consists of domestically-based small- and medium-sized banks, a handful 
of large banking institutions based in Tbilisi with subsidiaries (HSBC, 
Societe Generale, Vneshtorgbank, Privat Bank, etc), and two foreign 
banks with branches (Turkish Bank Ziraat and the International Bank of 
Azerbaijan).  In 2007, commercial bank assets grew by 70 percent with a 
profit growth of 65 percent.  Total assets of the countryQs 19 
commercial banks (16 of which have foreign capital) were $4.7 billion 
at the end of 3rd quarter of 2009.  As of Q3 2009, commercial bank 
assets decreased by four percent compared to Q3 2008 and the net loss 
of commercial banks has doubled from -37m GEL in Q3 2008 to -82m GEL in 
Q3 2009. 
Credit from commercial banks is available to foreign investors as well 
as domestic clients.  Banks continue offering business, consumer, and 
mortgage loans.  By the end of Q3, 2009 loans to individuals (41 
percent) and loans to retailers/services (29 percent) had major shares 
in the total banking sector loan portfolio. In addition, the 
International Finance Corporation (IFC), European Bank for 
Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), U.S. Overseas Private Investment 
Corporation (OPIC), Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), and other 
international development agencies have a variety of lending programs 
that make credit available to large and small businesses in Georgia. 
The limited number of foreign banks operating in Georgia reflects, in 
part, the small size of GeorgiaQs financial market.  However, foreign 
investment in the sector is significant, accounting for 80 percent of 
total bank capital as of November 2009, per National Bank data.  In 
2005, Russian, Kazakhstani, U.S., and German capital was invested in 
Georgian banks.  In September 2006, the French bank Societe Generale 
acquired 60 percent of one of the leading Georgian banks, Bank 
Republic.  In 2007, British bank HSBC entered the Georgian market.  UAE 
Dhabi Group acquired Standard Bank in 2008. 
Georgian banks have remained solvent during the current global credit 
crisis largely due to the mandated 13 percent central bank reserve 
requirement and conservative lending practices.  The Georgian central 
bank relaxed the reserve requirement to five percent in the aftermath 
Qbank relaxed the reserve requirement to five percent in the aftermath 
of the war and in response to the global credit crisis to try to inject 
liquidity into the market and spur new lending.  The reserve 
requirement remains at five percent. 
The law on commercial bank activities has been amended to improve the 
transparency of ownership and corporate governance of banks.  In March 
2006, the restriction under which one shareholder or a group of joint 
shareholders could hold no more than 25 percent of voting shares in a 
bank was abolished.  A new law regulating the activity of microfinance 
organizations came into force in August 2006. 
The National Securities Commission of Georgia regulates the securities 
market.  All joint stock companies with more than 50 shareholders -- 
currently about 1800 companies in Georgia -- are required to submit 
annual, semi-annual, and current reports prepared in accordance with 
internationally accepted accounting standards. 
The Georgian Stock Exchange (GSE) is the only organized securities 
market in Georgia. Designed and established with the help of USAID and 
operating within the legal framework drafted with the assistance of 
American experts, GSE complies with global best practices in securities 
trading and offers an efficient investment facility to both local and 
foreign investors. The GSE automated trading system can accommodate 
thousands of securities that can be traded by brokers from workstations 
on the GSE floor or remotely from their offices.  As of 2009, about 150 
companies have access to GSE.  1887 trades
 (total value of 
approximately USD 58 million) were executed and reported in 2009 
compared to 3180 trades (value of USD 160 million) in 2008. 
No law or regulation authorizes private firms to adopt articles of 
incorporation or association that limit or prohibit foreign investment, 
participation, or control. QCross-shareholder" or "stable-shareholder" 
arrangements are not used by private firms in Georgia.  Georgian 
legislation does not protect private firms from takeovers.  There are 
no regulations authorizing private firms to restrict foreign partners' 
investment activity or limit foreign partners' ability to gain control 
over domestic enterprises. 
Political Violence 
Georgia suffered considerable instability in the immediate post-Soviet 
period.  After independence in 1991, civil war and separatist conflicts 
flared up in the areas of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.  The status of 
each region remains unresolved and the central government does not have 
effective control over these areas.  The United States supports the 
territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally-recognized 
borders.  In August 2008, tensions boiled over culminating in a brief 
war between Georgia and Russia.  Russia invaded and occupied portions 
of undisputed Georgian territory, destroyed portions of vital 
infrastructure, blocked the main east-west highway, and blockaded the 
Georgian port of Poti.  Nearly all damaged infrastructure has been 
repaired and commerce has mostly returned to normal.  While the 
separatist regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia have declared 
independence, thus far only Russia, Venezuela, Nicaragua, and the small 
island country of Nauru have recognized them.  Tensions still exist and 
reports of violence both inside the breakaway republics and near the 
administrative boundary lines are common, but other parts of Georgia, 
including Tbilisi, are not directly affected. 
Under President Saakashvili, Georgia has taken action to reduce 
corruption.  Anti-corruption efforts have resulted in the arrests of 
former officials, the radical downsizing of state bureaucracies, and 
effective crackdowns on smuggling.  Consequently, state revenue 
collections have increased about 50 percent.  The notoriously corrupt 
traffic police were completely disbanded in mid-2004. 
Articles 332-342 of the Criminal Code criminalize bribery.  Georgian 
legislation provides for civil forfeiture of undocumented assets from 
public officials who are charged with corruption offenses.  Bribery is 
a criminal act under Georgian law, and Parliament recently accepted a 
package of constitutional amendments that make abuse of public office a 
criminal offense with a maximum penalty of 15 years imprisonment and 
confiscation of property.  Penalties for accepting a bribe start at six 
years in prison and can extend up to 15 years depending on the 
circumstances accompanying the offense.  Penalties for giving a bribe 
can include a fine, a minimum prison sentence of two years, or both. 
In aggravating circumstances, when a bribe is given to commit an 
illegal act, the penalty can be from four to seven years.  The 
definition of a public official includes foreign public officials and 
employees of international organizations and courts for purposes of 
such offenses as accepting a bribe, giving a bribe, and trading in 
influence.  White collar crimes such as bribery fall under the 
investigative jurisdiction of the Prosecutor's Office. 
The GovernmentQs Anti-Corruption Strategy calls for an effective state 
management system and legal and public feedback mechanisms to prevent 
corruption.  Among the goals of the strategy are the identification and 
Qcorruption.  Among the goals of the strategy are the identification and 
analysis of conditions conducive to corruption as well as elaboration 
of mechanisms for their eradication,strengthening of principles of 
accountability and public disclosure in the public sector, prosecution 
of lawbreakers, and facilitation of competitive development of the 
business sector. 
Georgia also significantly improved in Transparency International's 
annual Corruption Perceptions Index, ranking 66 in 2009 out of 180 
countries surveyed.  In 2005, Georgia was ranked 130.  The Index ranks 
countries in terms of the degree to which resident and non-resident 
businesspeople and country analysts perceive corruption to exist in the 
public and political sectors.  Since the Rose Revolution, Georgia's 
score has steadily improved. In 2003 GeorgiaQs score in the index was 
1.8, falling in a category of countries where corruption, according to 
TI, was Qperceived to be pervasive.Q In 2009 GeorgiaQs score was 4.1. 
This current score means that Georgia has moved out of the group of 
countries considered to have a "rampant corruption problem" (those 
under 3.0).  In comparison with countries of the former Soviet Union, 
Georgia ranks well ahead of neighboring Armenia (120), Kazakhstan 
(120), Azerbaijan (143), Russia (146), and Ukraine (146). 
Georgia reasserted central control over the Black Sea region of Adjara 
in May 2004, reducing illicit economic activity there.  However, the 
lack of central government control and international access to Abkhazia 
and South Ossetia since the 2008 conflict means that smuggling levels 
cannot be monitored or estimated. The Georgian government has raised 
concerns with Russia and with the international community about 
continued high levels of smuggling, money laundering, and even 
counterfeiting of U.S. dollars in the areas outside its control. 
Georgia is not a signatory to the Organization for Economic 
Co-operation and Development (OECD) Convention on Combating Bribery of 
Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions. 
Georgia has ratified the UN Convention against Corruption, however. 
Georgia cooperates with the Group of States Against Corruption (GRECO) 
and the OECDQs Anti-Corruption Network for Transition Economies (ACN). 
GRECO concluded in 2006 that Georgia had successfully implemented the 
first round of its anti-corruption recommendations.  In 2003, ACN 
proposed an anti-corruption action plan and 21 recommendations for 
Georgia.  In 2006, the OECD positively assessed the progress of 
anti-corruption measures and considered all but four of its 
recommendations implemented. OECD conducted an assessment of Georgia in 
October 2009 and will release the respective report in April 2010. 
Bilateral Investment Agreements 
Georgia has negotiated bilateral agreements on investment promotion and 
mutual protection with 31 countries, including the U.S., Armenia, 
Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bulgaria, China, Czech Republic, Estonia, 
Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iran, Israel, Italy, 
Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Moldova, 
Netherlands, Romania, Sweden, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, the 
United Kingdom, and Ukraine.  Internal procedures have been completed 
and drafts are being negotiated with the governments of India, 
Bangladesh, Croatia, Denmark, Norway, Philippines, Cyprus, Indonesia, 
Malta, and Iceland.  Negotiations are underway with Belarus, 
Tajikistan, Slovenia, Estonia, Slovakia, Syria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, 
Switzerland, Korea, Kuwait, Lebanon, Portugal, Saudi Arabi
a, and 
Jordan.  In 2007, Georgia signed a Trade and Investment Framework 
Agreement (TIFA) with the United States.  Georgia is currently 
renegotiating its existing Bilateral Investment Treaty with the United 
A free trade agreement is in force with the Commonwealth of Independent 
States, and others exist bilaterally with Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, 
Azerbaijan, Armenia, Moldova, Turkmenistan, and Turkey.  An agreement 
is signed, but not yet ratified, with Uzbekistan.  Ongoing 
consultations on free trade are being held with the European Union, 
Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Cooperation Council of Gulf Arab States, and 
OPIC and Other Investment Insurance Programs 
From 1993 through 2007, OPIC has committed over USD 104 million in 
financing and political risk insurance to projects in Georgia.  These 
projects include the development of hotel and office space, production 
of pharmaceuticals, food processing and farming, cold storage, banking, 
mortgage lending, and financial leasing services. In 2008, as part of 
the United StatesQ response to help Georgia recover from the conflict 
with Russia, OPIC committed USD 176 million in financing.  A large 
portion of OPICQs assistance will be used to underwrite mortgages aimed 
at allowing Georgian banks to offer smaller more affordable mortgages 
to the Georgian public.  Other funding will support commercial and 
residential property development projects. 
Georgia offers an abundant supply of skilled and unskilled labor at 
attractive costs compared not only to Western European and American 
Qattractive costs compared not only to Western European and American 
standards, but also to Eastern European standards.  The labor force is 
among the best educated and most highly trained in the former Soviet 
Union.  While some of the best qualified professionals and technicians 
emigrated from Georgia (mostly to Russia, the U.S., and Europe) after 
the Soviet Union's collapse, many have remained in the country or 
returned from abroad and are attempting to find a new role in GeorgiaQs 
market economy.  Unemployment remains high and job creation has been a 
particular challenge. 
The labor market in Georgia is one of the world's freest.  Wage 
negotiations take place between employees and employers and trade 
unions are not powerful.  Labor, health, and safety laws are not 
considered an impediment to investment.  A new labor code which entered 
into force in June 2006 considerably liberalized labor regulations. 
The code defines the minimum age for employment (16), work hours (41 
per week), annual leave (24 calendar days) and leaves the rest to be 
regulated by agreement between the employer and employee. 
Payment of at least one monthQs salary is required if the employer 
initiates a dismissal.  Employees must give one monthQs notice of 
intention to quit.  No notice requirement is imposed on the employer 
prior to dismissal.  Employees are entitled to up to 126 days (4 
months) of maternity leave and, together with unpaid leave, up to 16 
months.  Under the new Labor Code, a contract of employment may bar an 
employee from using the knowledge and qualifications obtained while 
performing his duties with another employer.  This provision may remain 
in force even after the termination of labor relations. 
Since January 2008, employers are not required to pay social security 
contributions for employees.  The former 12 percent income tax paid by 
employees and 20 percent social security tax paid by employers on their 
employees' wages was merged into a unified personal income tax at the 
rate of 25 percent in 2008, shifting the employer's tax burden to the 
employee.  From January 2009, the overall effective tax rate paid by 
both self-employed persons and employees has been further reduced from 
25 to 20 percent. The state social security system provides modest 
pension and maternity benefits.  The minimum monthly pension is USD 44. 
 The average monthly salary across the economy in the second quarter of 
2009 was GEL 560 (USD 333).  The minimum wage for government employees 
is GEL 115 (USD 69) per month.  The minimum wage in the private sector 
has not changed in many years at GEL 20 (USD 12) per month, but few, if 
any, workers earn so little. 
Georgia has signed multiple ILO agreements, including the Forced Labor 
Convention of 1930; the Paid Holiday Convention of 1936; the 
Anti-Discrimination (employment and occupation) Convention of 1951; the 
Human Resources Development Convention of 1975; the Right to Organize 
and Collective Bargaining Convention of 1949; the Equal Remuneration 
Convention of 1951; the Abolition of Forced Labor Convention of 1957; 
the Employment Policy Convention of 1964; and the Minimum Age 
Convention of 1973. 
Foreign Trade Zones/Free Ports 
In June 2007, the Parliament of Georgia adopted a law on free 
industrial zones, which defined the form and function of free 
industrial/economic zones.   Financial operations in such zones may be 
performed in any currency and foreign companies operating in free 
industrial zones will be exempt from taxes on profit, property, and 
VAT.  GeorgiaQs Ministry of Economic Development has allocated a 400 
hectare area adjacent to the Black Sea Port of Poti for the first such 
zone.  RAK Investment Authority (Rakeen group Q UAE based) purchased 
100 percent of the shares of LLC Poti Sea Port, and pledged to develop 
a free economic zone on 300 hectares of land in Poti and to build a new 
port terminal on a 100 hectare site.  Construction of the new port 
terminal in Poti will start in the second half of 2010 and is expected 
to be finished by 2025. The first phase of construction should be 
finished by 2013, and will turn Poti Seaport into an international 
industrial zone with port, railroad, and other facilities. A second 
free economic zone has begun to function in the western Georgian city 
of Kutaisi.  The Egyptian company Fresh Electric has established a 
factory as a part of the 27 hectare zone in which they are producing 
kitchen appliances.  The company committed to build about one dozen 
textile-, ceramics-, and home appliance-producing factories in the 
zone, and investover USD 2 billion. 
Foreign Direct Investment Statistics 
Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Georgia dramatically increased 
during the periods of 1997-1998, 2003-2004, and 2006-2008.   The first 
two peaks were related to the construction of the BakuQSupsa and 
Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipelines.   FDI inflows in 2006-2007 hit 
historical highs  due to privatization of state-owned enterprises and 
Qhistorical highs  due to privatization of state-owned enterprises and 
the impact of economic reforms.  FDI totaled USD 1.1 billion (15.3 
percent of GDP) in 2006, more than doubling the 2005 total of USD 0.4 
billion.  FDI inflow in 2007 almost doubled again to USD 2.0 billion. 
Large FDI inflow in the first half of 2008  showed that investor 
interest in Georgia remained high, however, the August 2008 conflict 
with Russia undermined investor confidence and the subsequent global 
financial crisis further restricted FDI. Accordingly, total FDI in 2008 
decreased to USD 1.3 billion. 
Official statistics on FDI inflow from 2000-2009 are as follows (USD 
1000): &
2000  -131,200,000 
2001  -109,800,000 
2002  -167,400,000 
2003  -339,400,000 
2004  -499,100,000 
2005  -449,800,000 
2006  -1,190,400,000 
2007  -2,014,800,000 
2008  -1,293,700,000 
2009* -  505,200,000 
Breakdown of FDI by major investor countries (USD 1,000Qs): 
                             2007       2008       2009* 
ArmeniaQ                   -4,895    -15,061     -6,432 
Azerbaijan                 41,368     23,943      7,827 
China                       6,877     -2,271       -369 
Cyprus                    148,644     26,166     12,707 
Czech Republic            227,926     34,858     11,431 
Denmark                   158,126        256        -49 
Egypt                           -          -    115,000 
Kazakhstan                 88,486     65,942        912 
Netherlands               299,277    135,870     46,159 
Panama                      6,178     -2,470     61,116 
Russia                     88,997     26,212     13,402 
Turkey                     93,871    164,526     71,542 
United Arab Emirates      130,859    306,576    144,938 
United Kingdom            145,475    148,908     41,474 
USA                        84,412    167,921    -46,272 
Virgin Islands, British   187,816    156,847      1,280 
Breakdown of FDI by economic sectors (USD 1,000s): 
                                    2007       2008      2009* 
Agriculture                       15,528      7,844     4,940 
Industry                         398,241    207,328   143,886 
Energy sector                    362,581    294,865    30,146 
Construction                     171,892     56,725    65,727 
Transport and communications     416,695    422,690    29,305 
Real estate                       30,544    277,838   103,557 
Other services                   382,807    283,165   117,773 
Banking system                   136,915      8,519     7,555 
* - FDI through the first three quarters of 2009 
Source: Statistics Department of Georgia 
The United Arab Emirates, the United States, and Turkey topped the 
list of foreign investor countries in 2008.  The Virgin Islands, the 
United Kingdom, and the Netherlands ranked next.  For the first three 
quarters of 2009, United Arab Emirates was again the top foreign 
investor in Georgia at USD 145 million, followed by Egypt (USB 115m), 
Turkey (USD 72m), and Panama (USD 61m). 
The drop in FDI is tempered by the fact that as of November 2009, 
Georgia received or entered into agreements for USD 2.1bn of the USD 
4.5bn pledged at the Brussels donor conference in October 2008.  The 
pledged or received amount corresponds to approximately 19 percent of 
2009 estimated GDP, according to goverment data.  However, the 
government foresaw yet another upward trend in FDI in 2010, expecting 
foreign invenstments to top the USD 2 billion target due to interest 
expressed by Egyptian and Qatari businesses. 
The U.S. has been one of the largest foreign investors in Georgia since 
1999.  U.S. investors accounted for 30 percent of FDI in Georgia in 
2000, 21 percent in 2001, and 49 percent in 2002. In 2003 and 2004, the 
U.S. share decresed to 21 and 16 percent, respectively, and dropped to 
3 percent in 2005. This decline can be attributed to the completion of 
large pipeline projects as well as increased inflow of capital from 
other countries. In 2006, U.S. investment accounted for 15 percent of 
the total, but only 4 percent in 2007 and 11 percent in 2008. 
Of note is the United Arab Emirates' increased interest in Georgia, 
evident in the investments of the Rakeen and Dhabi Groups in the port, 
real estate, banking, and other sectors. 
The Georgian Government is actively promoting investment in Georgia, 
and has held a series of investment road shows around the world. End 


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