Investor.ge provides a brief update on investments and changes in government policy that could impact the business environment. The information in this issue was taken from agenda.ge, a government-supported website, and other sources.
$80 Million in Loans Converted to Lari
loans worth nearly $80 million have been converted to Georgian lari, agenda.ge reported on March 24.
The loans were converted as part of the government's Program on the Larization of Loans, which was a two-month initiative that launched in January as part of a wider effort to ease the debt burden in the country.
Around 33,000 loans were eligible for the program, according to government estimates.
External Trade Up 18 Percent
Georgia's external trade is up 18 percent, according to official statistics, agenda.ge reported on March 20.
External trade was worth $1.4 billion in January-February 2017, according to Geostat, the national statistics office.
Georgia's top trade partners were Turkey ($198 million in trade turnover), Russia ($163 million in trade turnover) and Azerbaijan ($146 million in trade turnover).
Trade turnover is up with several countries, including EU countries (15 percent) and CIS countries (40 percent).
New Fruit Factory in Western Georgia
A new fruit freeze-drying plant opened in Georgia's western Samegrelo, region agenda.ge reported on March 22.
Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili and Minister of Agriculture Levan Davitashvili opened the plant, which will produce over 22 tons of different dried fruits per year, the report said.
The factory, owned by Gemuani Ltd., employs 30 people and will sell goods locally and overseas.
Gemuani is part of Georgia's United Agro Project and received $484,512 from the Ministry of Agriculture's Agriculture Projects Management Agency (APMA)'s Preferential Agro Credits Program, the report said.
Gemuani also received $250,000 in foreign grants.
New 42-kilometer Highway Planned
Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili announced plans for a new, 42-km highway connecting eastern and western Georgia, agenda.ge reported on March 23.
The new four-lane highway will be built on Rikoti Mountain Pass.
"This road will link east to west and also will have a transit function for neighboring countries. This is a very important part of our Spatial Arrangement Plan, and I am glad to see the fast pace of the development process", Kvirikashvili said.
Financing for the $800 million project comes from the Asian Development Bank.
New "Government City" Planned for Tbilisi
The Georgian government is developing a "government city" where all state ministries will be located in the capital Tbilisi, agenda.ge reported on March 23.
The project will be built in the Ortachala district of the city.
"A huge territory is already allocated where all the ministries will be replaced. This is good as more free space will be created for new offices and new hotels in the centre of the city. Also, on the other hand, the construction sector will be given a stimulus," Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili was quoted as saying.
Georgia, U.S. Deepen Relations
Georgia is ready to strengthen its strategic partnership with the United States, Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze said following an official visit to the United States.
He cited his trip as evidence that both sides are committed to stronger ties, agenda.ge reported on March 24.
Bilateral cooperation in security and trade-economic relations were discussed with US senators, members of Congress and other representatives of the U.S. government during the visit, the report said.
Janelidze met with members of the U.S. Congress, and discussed developments in the region and the situation in Georgia's breakaway provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
"We will do our best to make sure that Georgia's security and the security of the region, as well as trade-economic cooperation with the U.S. will further develop," Janelidze was quoted as saying.
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