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Arab companies to invest in Georgia in spite of crisis2009-07-09 19:07
A number of Arab companies are going to take part in investment projects in the territory of Georgia regardless of the international economic crisis and political instability in this country, RIA Novosti reports with reference to France Presse.gt-en-newsitem-inside
In particular Fresh and some other companies are going to modernize a number of facilities at old Automotive Plant in Kutaisi. According to the agency soon in the territory adjacent to the plant "a free industrial zone" will be constructed with production to begin in August as planned.
Mass media report on Fresh's intention to invest USD 1.2 bln (EUR 860 mln) in the project. "In a year and a half 3,000 people will be working here, - company's Vice President Muhammad Refat assures. His reply to the question what is most attractive for foreign investors, is this: Georgia's geographical location and its close proximity to Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Besides involvement in the project for construction of a specialized industrial zone in Kutaisi will allow Fresh and other companies to take advantage of tax and customs benefits.
Georgian government admits that last August events and domestic political crisis have negatively affected the volume of investment. According to forecasts the country's GDP will suffer a 1.5% drop this year. Official information is that foreign direct investment to Georgia went down by nearly 80% in the first quarter of 2009 comparing to the same period last year - down to EUR 89.4 mln (USD 124 mln) with 40% of this amount coming from the UAE. In February 2009 the investment authority in the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah (RAKIA) announced its intention to invest approximately EUR 1.4 bln (USD 1.9 bln) in Georgia over the next five years. Other UAE companies like Abu Dhabi Group and Vtel Holdings also announced their plans to invest millions of dollars in Georgia.