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United States and Georgia Sign Trade and Investment Framework Agreement

 

 

WASHINGTON, DC – Deputy U.S. Trade Representative John
Veroneau and Georgian Minister of Economic Development George Arveladze signed a
Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) today that will provide a forum
to address trade issues and will help build trade and investment relations
between the United States and Georgia.


“Increased trade and investment between our two countries will strengthen Georgia’s efforts to reform and develop its economy and assist in its efforts to expand export markets,” said Ambassador Veroneau.  “Under President Saakashvili, Georgia has worked hard to strengthen its economic and trade ties with the United States.  We expect this TIFA to provide a forum for concrete progress in this important work to the mutual benefit of both countries.”


The TIFA will establish a forum for discussion of our
bilateral trade and investment relations and will help build trade and
investment relations between the United
States and Georgia.  The TIFA mandates the
formation of a joint U.S.-Georgia Council on Trade and Investment which will
address a wide range of trade and investment issues including trade capacity
building, intellectual property, labor, and environmental issues.  The
Council will also help to increase commercial and investment opportunities by
identifying and working to remove impediments to trade and investment flows
between the United States and
Georgia.  The first meeting of
the Council will take place on June 21 in Washington. 


Background:


Following the Rose Revolution of November 2003, President
Mikhail Saakashvili was elected to a five year term in January 2004.  The
Saakashvili government set goals of building democracy, increasing prosperity,
and peacefully reincorporating Georgia's separatist regions, and
promised to reorient the government and the economy toward privatization, free
markets, reduced regulation, and control of corruption. 


Georgia’s progress has been widely
recognized.  The World Bank cited Georgia as the world's fastest-reforming
economy in its 2007 “Doing Business” report, ranking Georgia as the world's 37th
easiest place to do business.  The Bank's “Anti-Corruption in Transition 3”
report shows impressive gains in Georgia’s struggle against
corruption, due to implementation of a strong program of economic and
institutional reform, and reported reductions in the burden of bribes paid by
firms in the course of doing business.  The government intends to
completely eliminate import duties by 2008, which it expects to reduce costs and
stimulate business.


The United
States and other international donors are assisting with
Georgia's transition to democracy,
creation of a functioning market economy, and poverty reduction. 
U.S. assistance is targeted
to support Georgia's democratic, economic, and
security reform programs, with an emphasis on institution building and
implementing lasting reforms. The United
States has provided Georgia
approximately $1.7 billion in assistance since 1991. On September 12, 2005,
Georgia signed a compact with the
Millennium Challenge Corporation for a five-year $295.3 million assistance
package.


Total goods trade between the United States and Georgia was
valued at $369 million in 2006.  U.S. foreign direct investment in
Georgia stood at $70 million in 2005,
the most recent year for which accurate data are available.