The FINANCIAL -- The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Georgia, which is referred to as the ‘voice of business’ in the country, is focusing on pushing for the establishment of a branch of the ICC International Arbitration Court in Georgia.
“If this happens it will result in a major improvement of the business climate in the country considering that the Judiciary is still perceived by investors and businesses to be unreliable,” said Fady Asly, Chairman of ICC.
The ICC was officially established in 2002 as the Georgian chapter of the International Chamber of Commerce. Since taking office in early 2008, ICC Georgia’s selected board of directors has been extremely active and dedicated to improving the business and investment climate in the country.
The Georgian National Committee of the ICC is the largest and most vocal global business association. It includes over 350 corporate and youth members and 27 business associations.
Today ICC Georgia unites leading companies and business associations within Georgia. A dynamic and energetic business organisation in the country represents a wide array of business sectors and partner organisations.
ICC Georgia has had the opportunity to engage many of the policy makers in a dialogue including the President of Georgia, Speaker of Parliament, Prime Minister and cabinet of ministers, opposition leaders, members of diplomatic missions and international financial institutions.
ICC continues to support businesses in Georgia and also business-oriented projects and initiatives, among them Golden Brand – one of the most influential and prestigious business awards in Georgia.
“Like every year, ICC worked in close cooperation with The Financial and Global Idea regarding Golden Brand. ICC is a staunch supporter of the event and of both The Financial and Global Idea,” said Asly.
“The Golden Brand Awards has become the most prestigious event for the business community in Georgia and soon to be outside Georgia as well,” he added.
Q. What are the most interesting fields of the Georgian economy currently for investors?
A. Currently tourism, the hospitality business, real estate development and small industries are the major focus of investors, and we are witnessing a global interest in Georgia and especially from neighbouring countries and the GCC countries.
Georgia has become a very serious destination for investors. As Chairman of Channel Georgia Consulting, a firm based in the UAE, I am in daily contact with investors from the GCC and I am amazed by the incredible interest of Arab investors in Georgia.
Q. The Government is trying to foster entrepreneurial spirit among the young generation and encourage the creation of new businesses. We see new start-up businesses are appearing in the country. How optimistic are you about these new businesses? Will this new generation of business society bring new developments to Georgia’s business environment?
A. The Government is very supportive of start-up businesses; let’s not forget that small and medium size businesses have to become the backbone of the economy.
Young people have very good business ideas; the limiting factor though remains access to finance.
We have noticed that the Government is well aware of this issue and is working on a strategy to ensure the financing of smaller and start-up businesses.
Q. In general, how has Georgia’s business society been changing year after year?
A. The business society today is very different from what it was twenty years ago; businesses have learned international business practices and have adjusted to those standards.
The notion of fair competition is developing, and business-people understand now that competition requires cost-cutting, high level services, and highly performing staff; of course this is benefiting businesses and consumers alike and is resulting in an efficient economy.
Q. The number of foreign investors/companies is also increasing in Georgia. Are there equal conditions for any foreign company in the country? Or which of them face the most challenges?
A. I believe that there is a level playing field in Georgia for all businesses whether foreign or local; of course Georgian businesses will always be at an advantage considering that they know who is who, they know the rules and the mentality, but this is very normal for local businesses in any country.
Having said that, under the law everyone is equal and that’s why Georgia is moving forward so fast.