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Russia and Georgia: Nothing personal, just business?2013-04-12 19:36
Prime Minister Ivanishvili stresses that economic relations between Russia and Georgia will become more active simultaneously with the resolution of the political relations between the two countries. What areas can be interesting for the Russian businessmen in Georgia, and what do the Georgian economists think about that?
Georgian Prime Minister considers the return of agricultural products, mineral water and wine to the Russian market sufficient for the country's economy. Bidzina Ivanishvili supports active involvement of Russian investments. The Prime Minister and billionaire, whose fortune, according to Forbes, is worth more than $ 5 billion, has already discussed the possibility of cooperation with Anatoly Chubais, the head of the Rusnano, during a meeting in Davos. This is about a "joint project" in the field of high technology.
"It is difficult to say how many companies in Georgia are today owned by Russian businessmen, but I think that in the future Georgia will become even more attractive for Russian business," Ivanishvili said at a press conference. "Today, the country is experiencing a shortage of investment, and therefore the government is actively working in this direction. This includes energy, tourism and agriculture. We're looking for all persons concerned." The Prime Minister also noted that Georgia was recently visited by the owner of the company "Tbilvodokanal," former deputy of Anatoly Chubais Andrei Rapaport. "He wanted to sell the company, but I showed him that the attitude to business would be completely different, and I think he refused to sell the company, and decided to develop it," said Ivanishvili.
One of the Prime Minister's initiatives is creation of a private investment fund in the country to act as a financial partner for foreign investors wishing to implement projects in Georgia. Ivanishvili is convinced that Russian investment will increase as the normalization of relations with the Russian Federation.
Particularly fruitful cooperation between Georgia and Russia today is seen in the energy sector. Even during the 2008 war, Russia conducted power supply to Georgia. Experts call a few areas that may interest Russian businessmen.
- This may be the production of ferrous and non-ferrous metals, chemical industry, food industry, light industry and other fields," economic expert Alexander Tvalchrelidze said in an interview with GeorgiaTimes. "I absolutely agree that the neighbors need to have good economic relations. It would be better, if the Russian companies participate in the creation of an investment fund, the work on which is currently under way.
- Opponents of the process say it's unacceptable to transfer the Georgian business to Russian companies, since Russia wants to get hold of the Georgian economy, and besides, this would hamper our cooperation with foreign partners. What do you think about that?
- Just imagine the circle of your friends. If you get a new friend, would you lose the relationships with the rest? Our Western partners, NATO and the European Union have always called on us to normalize relations with Russia. And economic contacts are just the way of improving relations with Russia. Why does Switzerland should act as a mediator between us? We should not act like a little kid who cannot do step without his nanny. Now Georgia must independently conduct its policy on the international level. Those who oppose this process are amateurs who understand nothing either in politics or in the economy," Tvalchrelidze said.