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ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus by ISET
Jul
03

Georgian Wool: Can It Become the “Golden Fleece” Again?

Back in 2014, Georgia and the European Union (EU) signed an Association Agreement, which included the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) between the EU and Georgia. While this agreement creates new opportunities for Georgia’s agricultural exports, high food safety standards in the EU market make it difficult to fully utilize these opportunities. This is particularly true for products of animal origin, which are subject to strict regulations. The necessary standards were successfully met last year for Georgian wool (fleece), and it became the ...
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Jul
01

How Can Georgian Economy Benefit from Bitcoin?

RECENT DEVELOPMENTS For the first time in history, the price of Bitcoin broke its highest record (Figure 1) rising above 2,900 USD during the last week of June, 2017. One of the reasons why the market unexpectedly became optimistic about Bitcoin could be the fact that in April, the Japanese government formally accepted1 the cryptocurrency as a mean of exchange, which gave it more validity in Asia’s richest economy. Moreover, there has been significant growth of international money transfer services that use Bitcoin in order to move currency from one coun...
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Jun
26

In debt and broke in Georgia

  An individual living in Kutaisi took a 1500 USD real estate secured loan from one of the microfinance institutions in 2011 and had to pay 75 USD interest rate for the following 6 months. The purpose of taking this loan was to finance treatment of her child. She was unable to cover monthly payments and prolonged the term to 10 month, but failed to cover this payments again and was fined several times. In the end, loan was restructured and monthly interest raised to 83 USD, while the amount of total loan nearly doubled to 2700 USD. As a result, she ...
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Jun
24

Making Nature’s Value Visible as a Step Towards (Greater) Sustainable Development

After the Rose Revolution, in the name of of economic growth, the Georgian government set aside environmental issues and focused on a quick economic recovery. This is understandable, as the Georgian economy was still recovering from the collapse of the early 90’s, and the pressure to accelerate the process was high. At that time, the existing environmental regulations were perceived as an additional constraint to faster growth, and as potentially fertile ground for corruption. Getting rid of those regulations was perceived as the fastest and most effecti...
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Jun
17

How Safe Is Your Food?

  Food safety has become an important aspect of agricultural policy for many countries (see, e.g., CAP). By definition, “Food safety refers to the conditions and practices that preserve the quality of food to prevent contamination and foodborne illnesses.” In other words, food safety aims to protect the health of humans, animals and plants at every stage of the food production chain in conformance with the "farm-to-table” principle established by the EU. FOOD SAFETY IN GEORGIA On June 27, 2014, Georgia and the EU signed the Association Agreement (AA...
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Jun
12

Wanna Get Rich? Make Batumi Your “Second Home”!

With 6.3 million tourists visiting the country in 2016, Georgia has become a popular tourist destination. In May, the number of international visitors (those who stayed in the country 24 hours or more) increased annually by 19% (compared to the same month in the previous year). While Tbilisi Airport is the main border-crossing point, in May, Batumi Airport overshot Kutaisi Airport, famous for its low costs flights, and experienced a 20% annual increase in the number of arrivals. The concert of legendary musical band “Aerosmith,” which took place near Bat...
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