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Georgian-Israel forum transforms from relation to cooperation

By Salome Modebadze
Thursday, March 14
Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili said the co-investment fund consisting of Georgian businessmen can support non-deficient foreign business projects by 25%-75%. Ivanishvili said it is always important for a foreign business to have a strong and successful local partner in the country.

Opening the “Georgian Gateway 2013” the 1st Georgian-Israeli Business Cooperation Forum at Holiday Inn on March 13, Ivanishvili addressed the Israeli guests, explaining that the Georgian government will ensure visa facilitation between the two countries and even hold negotiations with the airways about decreasing the prices of flights.

“My government, business ombudsman and I will do everything to make it easier for you to start business in Georgia,” Georgian PM said.

Stressing 30 centuries of friendship between the two nations, Ivanishvili said this is why the Jewish people should have special conditions for doing business in Georgia. First of all, he said they will have a low 16% taxation, which is rare in the world.

The PM also emphasized Georgia’s interesting geopolitical location, and climate conditions, adding that the country’s economy is at the starting stage and its market is practically free.

Introducing PM Ivanishvili “as true friend of Israel,” the Ambassador of Israel to Georgia, Yuval Fuchs, welcomed good relations between the two governments, but stressed that the two countries should “transform from relations to cooperation” and build strong, future-oriented partnership with common interest and mutual benefits.

“As the economic development of Georgia is the key factor for the overall development of the country, and as Georgia’s further development is the key factor for the stability in the broader region, and as this geopolitical importance of Georgia matters for Israel, you must come to the one and only conclusion… it is not only about friendship, economy or business, it is about our national security,” Fuchs addressed the participants of the Georgian-Israel business forum.

He said the economies of the two countries “do not compete but complete each other.” The Ambassador said that Georgia needs more production, productivity, competitiveness, more jobs in traditional industries, agriculture, telecommunication and media; this is why Israeli companies are ready to share from their experience, their know-how and technologies– because they see the potential of the country.

Fuchs said even if some companies make a deal with their Georgian partners these two days, it would just be the beginning and a “starting-kick” which will be followed by meetings, seminars, forums and business.

Finance Minister Nodar Khaduri hoped that 2013 would be a decisive year for Georgian economic prosperity. Representatives of BDO Israel and BDO Georgia also hoped that the forum would positively affect business relations between the two countries. Zurab Lalazashvili, Managing Partner of BDO Georgia, said this forum gives an opportunity to Israeli businessmen to study the business environment in Georgia. It also helps Georgian businessmen find potential partners.