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Georgian exports down

By M. Alkhazashvili
Wednesday, June 18
Exports were down in the first quarter of 2008, with some analysts blaming the strengthening lari.

In the first three months of the year mineral water exports decreased by 17 percent, sugar by 88 percent and nut exports by 20 percent, the newspaper Ekonomikuri Palitra reports.

Georgia’s imports were valued at USD 1.5 billion more than its exports in the first four months of this year, according to the state statistics department.

After Russia enacted a blanket trade embargo in 2006, Turkey became Georgia’s biggest trade partner. But Georgian wine and mineral water companies have suffered under the Russian embargo and the Russian market for these exports is yet to be matched elsewhere.

Tamaz Konchoshvili, president of wine company Kindzmarauli, says two major factors would prompt a revival in Georgian export figures: a stronger dollar and returning Georgian wine to the Russian market.