The President in the Hague

On Thursday, the President was in the Hague to attend the opening conference of the newly founded Dutch-Georgian Business Council., which is a non-profit organisation, and encourages networking between Dutch and Georgian companies in export and import. Their objective is to increase exchange, hold seminars, conduct trade missions and enlist members. N.B. there are three flights a week from Amsterdam to Tblisi.

The Ambassador, S.E. Shota Gvineria opened the afternoon with a presentation about Georgia as a regional hub on the Silk road where East meets West. Here below are some of the key points of his speech :

Some statistics of interest were the tax rates : 20% on income; 15% on corporations; 5% on dividends.

The average GDP growth has been 9% over the last four years and FDI has skyrocketed to 154%. The GDP per capita income is $5,430. There are no export tariffs in this country ranked 18th in the world for doing business. There are Free Industrial Zones, Free Tourism zones, where corporate and profit taxes are exempt for 15 years.

The boycott by Russia pushed Georgia to diversify its markets, where Ukraine now has replaced Russia as the primary export market.

After the Ambassador, several people spoke, from the Dutch Chamber of Commerce and several companies that are now located in Georgia, as well as a representative of the Dutch Agency for private sector investment.

Notably Mr. Jurgen Rigterink, Chief Investment officer of FMO, which is an entrepreneurial bank endowed with $165 million; and Mr Arco van Wessel, Project officer of PSI at the NL Agency (EVD), who proposes grans for emerging markets in 50 countries, with a budget of over $1,5 million. They are very keen on projects that integrate protection of the environment and CSR aspects. The next tender of $45 million will be available for application before 20 August 2012. Here is his mail : arco.vanwessel@agentschapul.nl. Tel : (31) 88 602 1079.

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S.E. Shota Gvineria, Ambassador of Georgia in the Netherlands, gives the opening speech.

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