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The News in Brief

Monday, July 28
Nutsa Buzaladze wins in “New Wave” 2014

Georgian contestant Nutsa Buzaladze has won in the thirteenth annual international musical contest “New Wave” 2014. The 17-year-old contestant performed “In My Dreams” by Maia Katchkatchishvili; her performance accrued the highest 77 points and brought her victory.

This year, 16 contestants from 13 different countries participated in the “New Wave.” Nutsa Buzalkadze represented Georgia.

Georgia’s foreign trade grows 16% this year

Georgia’s foreign trade saw positive movement in the first six months of this year, bringing more confidence back into the marketplace.

Georgia’s foreign trade increased by 16 percent last year, equaling $5.44 billion USD, while the trade gap decreased by 16.2 percent year-on-year (y/y) to $2.6 billion USD.

Figures released yesterday by state statistics office Geostat showed exports grew by 15 percent and reached $1.41 billion USD, while imports increased by 16 percent and amounted to $4.02 billion USD, in the same period of 2013.

The trade deficit equaled $2.6 billion USD and its share in trade turnover constituted 48 percent.

EU-Georgia trade

In the first six months of 2014, the external trade of Georgia with EU countries amounted to $1.4 million USD – up 15 percent on the same time in 2013.

Export with EU member countries increased by 49 percent, had a total value of 2.9 billion USD, which accounted for 26 percent of the country’s total trade turnover.

Meanwhile, imported products from the EU also increased, and y/y figures showed a 9 percent increase, to $11.1 billion USD.

Trade with CIS countries

Georgia’s trade with CIS member countries stood at $1.7 billion USD for the first half of 2014 – a 10 percent y/y increase. Georgian exports grew 11 percent to $758 million USD and imports from CIS member states to Georgia increased 9 percent to $957 million USD.

Top trade partner

From Jan to Jun 2014, Georgia’s top three trading partners were Turkey followed by Azerbaijan and China. Photo by N.Alavidze

Georgia’s largest trading partner, Turkey, generated a total turnover of $940 million USD.

Top import and export commodities

Georgia imported $416.9 million USD worth of petroleum and petroleum oils – the two largest imported products - in the first six months of this year.

These two products made up 10.4 percent of total imports in the reported period. Import of motor cars was next highest, with $331.7 million USD, or 8.2 percent of imports.

Petroleum gases and other gases ranked third with $181.2 million USD or 4.5 percent of all imports.

Top imported products also include:
• Medicines - $63.2 million USD
• Copper ores and concentrates – $35.3 million USD
• Mobile and other wireless phones – $36 million USD
• Gas turbines - $66.8 million USD
• Structures and parts of structures - $47.6 million USD
• Wheat – $28.7 million USD
• Automatic data processing machines – $44.9 USD

Meanwhile, Azerbaijan’s tougher car import laws have had a drastic effect on Georgian car exports in recent months.

But re-export of cars still led the pack in Georgia’s total exports with $289.2 million USD in the first half of 2014 despite a drop of 9 percent compared to the same period in 2013.

Azerbaijan adopted strict car import rules, which stopped imports of cars manufactured in European Union (EU) before 2005.

In April Azerbaijan introduced new regulations that only allowed the country to import cars that meet the Euro-4 ecological standard and were manufactured in the EU after 2005. Georgia’s top export products also include:
• Exports of ferroalloys - $161 million USD
• Copper ores and concentrates – $138 million USD
• Wine of fresh grapes – $84 million USD
• Mineral or chemical fertilizers, nitrogenous - $74 million USD
• Mineral waters – $73 million USD
• Spirituous beverages - $44 million USD
• Bars - $39 million USD

Prosecutors Summon Saakashvili for Questioning

Former President Mikheil Saakashvili has been summoned by the Georgian prosecutor’s office for questioning as a witness for a second time in last four months.

Saakashvili, who has left Georgia upon expiration of his second and final presidential term in November, should appear before investigators in Tbilisi at 11am on July 28, according to subpoena issued by the prosecutor’s office late on July 27.

It was not immediately clear over which case prosecutors seek Saakashvili’s questioning.

Saakashvili was first summoned for questioning as a witness in connection to multiple cases in March, 2014.

The ex-president rejected to arrive in Georgia and to appear before prosecutors; then the prosecutor’s office offered him questioning via a video link, but it was also rejected by the ex-president.

Saakashvili said at the time that he would only testify as a witness via video link before court and not before prosecutors if any of the cases over which prosecutor’s office wanted to question him go into trial. At the time the U.S. Department of State expressed concern over by the decision to call Saakashvili for questioning in multiple criminal investigations.

When asked in a TV interview on July 23 if he rules out bringing criminal charges against ex-president Saakashvili, PM Irakli Garibashvili said: “I do not rule out that I will be brought before justice if I commit a crime; everyone should be equal before the law. If we want to establish a real democracy, real rule of law than everyone should be equal before the law.”

“It would be wrong if I exclude or not exclude something. It is up to the prosecution to decide; I have no right to indicate to them whom to arrest and whom not to arrest. Prosecutor’s office is completely transparent,” Garibashvili said.

The Government is afraid of Mikheil Saakashvili’s arrival -- Andro Barnovi

If we believe Chairman of Saakashvili’s Presidential library, Andro Barnovi, an idea that Mikheil Saakashvili might return to Georgia simply fills the acting authorities with dread. He has explained that the Government’s move to summon him to the Prosecutor’s Office in this way.

“After Mikheil Saakashvili was forced out of office, he has dedicated his life to the fight against the occupants that have piled unremitting pressure to Georgia and Ukraine. He has also executed a number of education programs in Georgia. In this state of play, the Government which has failed to deliver the goods and which has made a myriad of mistakes is in agony and is trembling with fear. And now they are placing different legal predicaments in our ex-President’s path; they are afraid of his arrival as they know as soon as Mr. Saakashvili enters Georgia, their era will come to a close,” maintains Andro Barnovi.