The FINANCIAL — A Joint Needs Assessment of Georgia by the United Nations and the World Bank noted that exports of Georgian goods and services were expected to decline by 22 percent in the beginning of 2009.
In addition, according to the National Statistics Office of Georgia, Georgia’s exports to U.S. in 2009 totaled only $37 million (3% of total exports) and included just 9 of the 3,400 eligible product types under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program.
As a result of the August 2008 military conflict and the global economic crisis that followed, major economic, social, and political consequences continue to resonate in Georgia.
The agribusiness sector, which accounts for 16 percent of Georgia’s economic output, has been the basis for significant exports to other nations.
“Increased output and exportation of GSP-eligible agricultural products to the U.S. is possible by providing technical assistance to improve Georgian exporters’ ability to meet U.S. food and beverage import standards and regulations and to expand their use of GSP duty-free export opportunities”, U.S. Commerce department says..
As part of U.S. assistance to Georgia to overcome the consequences of the 2008 military conflict and subsequent global economic crisis, the Commercial Law Development Program (CLDP) has been tasked by the U.S. Department of State to provide technical assistance to increase and diversify Georgia’s exports by developing the capacity of Georgian agricultural producers to take advantage of U.S. trade preference programs such as the GSP program, and to help such producers understand U.S. standards and regulatory requirements for food and beverage imports.
Objectives of the program are: providing practical assistance to Georgian agribusinesses and the Government of Georgia on how to recognize and take advantage of market opportunities in order to increase exports to the United States; Improving the skill and knowledge level of the Government of Georgia and the private sector to recognize and follow U.S. government requirements for importation, especially for agricultural products; Inmproving the ability of the Government of Georgia and private sector exporters to take advantage of the U.S. GSP program.
In July 2010, CLDP will hold workshops, sector-specific meetings, and site visits in Tbilisi, Kutaisi and Batumi for relevant government officials, trade association representatives, and private sector producers on how to expand Georgia’s exports under the GSP program and how to satisfy U.S. import standards and regulations. CLDP will coordinate this project with the U.S. Embassy in Georgia, the Georgian Ministry of Economic Development (National Investment Agency), the Georgian Ministry of Agriculture, the Georgian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the American Chamber of Commerce in Georgia, USAID, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The faculty for the program will include a representative from USTR, FDA, USDA/APHIS, TTB, CBP, and the U.S. Department of Commerce.
The program dates are as follows:
Tbilisi, Georgia: July 21-22, 2010 (Tbilisi Marriott Hotel)
Kutaisi, Georgia: July 23, 2010 (Hotel Bagrati 1003)
Batumi, Georgia: July 26, 2010 (Sheraton Batumi Hotel)
Participants will be able to apply the skills and knowledge gained from the workshops and consultations to increase Georgia’s capacity to export agricultural products to the United States and create sustainable growth in the agricultural sector.