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ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus.
Nov
26

What Does Not Kill you… or the Story of Hazelnuts

On November 15, 2018, the Agricultural Policy Research Center (APRC) presented the results of its “Study on Private Service Providers in the Organic Hazelnut Value Chain in Georgia” to stakeholders. The event was organized by HEKS-EPER South Caucasus, the ISET Policy Institute (ISET-PI), and PAKKA AG, a Swiss holding. BACKGROUND Hazelnuts have historically been one of the main crops in terms of economic value for Georgia as the country is located in the Black Sea coastal area, which has suitable soil and climate conditions for the growth of hazelnuts. In...
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Oct
22

No Country for Wheat Trucks?!

About two months ago, the Georgian government announced the introduction of restrictions on wheat imports and their transit by road transport. However, this idea was soon abandoned in the wake of a concerted backlash from a number of stakeholders (including small-scale wheat importers, truck drivers, and flour-milling plants that use road-imported wheat). The culmination of the subsequent protests saw one truck driver scale the roof of the building of Revenue Service’s customs clearance zone, pour gasoline and threaten to set himself on fire. In response...
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Jul
09

Great Expectations: Does the DCFTA Really Boost Georgia’s Economic and Export Potential?

On June 27, 2014, Georgia and the EU signed an Association Agreement (AA) and its integral part – the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA). On July 1st, 2016, DCFTA fully entered into force. Until then, trade between Georgia and the EU was regulated by the Special Incentive Arrangement for Sustainable Development and Good Governance that contained a Generalized System of Preferences+ (GSP+) agreed to in 2005.  GSP+ covered 7,200 products for which the customs duty was reduced or eliminated when exporting to the EU market. It is w...
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Jun
11

Sweet Little Lies – Things That Make Us “Happy”

  On May 17, 2017, the Georgian government adopted amendments to the Tobacco Control Law with 85 votes in favor, and only one against. This highly debated new regulation, which bans smoking in public places, was initiated by Parliament member Ms. Guguli Maghradze who just recently discussed the obesity problem in Georgia, which is caused partly by excess sugar consumption. Georgian public which is familiar with statements turning into law considered Ms. Maghradze’s statement as a prelude to enacting a sugar tax in Georgia. During the informal interv...
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May
07

Georgia’s Economy Grows, Agriculture Shrinks: What Should We Do?

Since 2012, when the political party Georgian Dream took leadership of the country’s governance, economic [real] growth reached its highest rate in 2017 (5.0%). The drivers of this growth were construction (11.2%), hotels and restaurants (11.2%) and the financial sector (9.2%). However, a few sectors of the economy declined in 2017, and one was agriculture (-2.7%). Experts on this sector agree that 2017 was a “bad year” for Georgia’s agriculture. Winter lasted longer and spring frost damaged fruit plantations. This was followed by some periods of drought...
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