On February 12, 2020, an online media outlet Georgia and World released an article headlined “Promoting exports through words and promoting exports through deeds.” The article is about Georgian exports to the European Union under Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA). According to an editorial note, there is an agreement according to which all goods produced in Georgia meet the EU standards; however, the member states do not want to import these goods to their markets to avoid competition with local products. Moreover, the article reads that the West only calls us for implementing reforms without providing any financial assistance.
Georgia and World: “We constantly hear the declamatory phrases from various EU officials that we need to implement “the next wave of reforms” and it never ends. Europeans are not interested in our reforms; they do not need Georgia to produce goods meeting their standards and to sell them in Europe. Selling our products there automatically means that their products will no longer be sold… They are calling on us to implement “reforms” through words, but where is their real support for implementing real reforms through really provided modern technology and necessary finances?”
Geworld’s claims as if the EU member states are creating artificial barriers to Georgia and the EU is not providing financial assistance to support reforms in Georgia are not true. 1) Georgia already exports part of its goods to the European Union; 2) Agreement on Conformity Assessment and Acceptance of Industrial Products (ACAA) will enter into force once Georgia meets the requirements of the EU member states; 3) The EU provides support to rural development and agriculture in Georgia through its program with the total budget of €179.5 million.
- Georgian exports to the European Union
In January-June 2019, Georgia exported agricultural and industrial products to the EU worth USD 48.6 million and USD 378.3 million, respectively.
The list of Georgian agricultural products exported to the EU market as well as the list of main export markets is diverse:
- Vegetable oils and fats – France (91%), Netherlands (9%)
- Wine – Poland (43%), Latvia (19%), Germany (11%), Estonia (11%)
- Greens – Romania (56%), Latvia (26%), Greece (11%), Bulgaria (11%)
- Dried vegetable flour – Germany (75%), Czech Republic (10%), France (6%)
- Nuts – Germany (26%), Italy (21%), Lithuania (14%), Spain (13%)
- Fruit jams – Germany (50%), Belgium (41%), Austria (8%)
- Canned fruits and vegetables – Germany (46%), Czech Republic (10%), Slovakia (9%), Austria (9%)
- Mineral waters – main export market: Lithuania (97%
- Copper ores and concentrates – Bulgaria (54%), Romania (40%), Spain (6%)
- Women clothes (coats, trench coats) – Italy (86%), Germany (13%)
- Gas turbines – Germany (no exports y/y)
- Motor cars – Belgium (54%), Czech Republic (12%), Bulgaria (9%), Netherlands (8%), Slovenia (7%)
The above mentioned export goods meet the EU standards envisaged by sanitary and phytosanitary measures under DCFTA.
- What does the Agreement on Conformity Assessment and Acceptance of Industrial Products (ACAA) envisage and when will it be concluded?
The Agreement on Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) with the European Union is an important part of the Association Agreement, which entered into force from the 1st of September 2014. The DCFTA involves the mechanism of economic integration with the EU and opens its internal market to Georgia.
According to one of the chapters of DCFTA regarding technical barriers to trade, the Parties may ultimately agree to add an Agreement on Conformity Assessment and Acceptance of Industrial Products (ACAA) as a Protocol to this Agreement covering one or more sectors agreed upon following verification by the Union that the relevant Georgian horizontal and sectoral legislation, institutions and standards have been fully approximated to those of the Union. Such an ACAA will provide that trade between the Parties in products in the sectors that it covers shall take place under the same conditions as those applying to trade in such products between the Member States.
- The European Union provides support to rural development and agriculture in Georgia
In 2013, the European Union launched the European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD). The main goal of the ENPARD is to improve state policy and legislation in the sphere of agriculture, as well as to promote cooperation between farmers on the ground for increasing food production and reducing rural poverty.
The total budget for ENPARD in Georgia, covering the period of 2013-2022 is €179.5 million. Presently, the project is undergoing its III Phase (2018-2022) with the budget amounting to €77.5 million.
900 agricultural cooperatives uniting 6,000 farmers have been established in frames of ENPARD. In addition, farmers were trained in business development. Regional consultation centers were created to support farmers’ initiatives and agro-service centers were equipped.
Prepared by Mariam Dangadze
Regional Network of Media Literacy Lab