On June 7, during his visit to Georgia, Mr. Anthony De Lannoy, the Executive Director of the IMF who represents Georgia along with the other 15 countries at the IMF Board of Directors, addressed an audience of ISET researchers, students and management, as well as senior representatives of the National Bank of Georgia, with an overview of the IMF and its cooperation with Georgia.

Mr. De Lannoy spoke of the IMF as an institution, and described its history, structure, functions, instruments and its evolution.

He further explained that the IMF’s activities include surveillance, in which the IMF acts as a global monitor over the economic, financial and exchange rate policies of its members, and a catalyst of the countries’ economic development; it provides to capacity development by providing technical cooperation support and contributes to policy analysis of various beneficiaries; and it extends lending, which is realized in its own currency Special Drawing Rights or SDR, which is the IMF’s own currency with 1 SDR being an equivalent of ca. 1.36$, through a range of financial concessional and non-concessional instruments, such as “precautionary and liquidity credit lines”, “extended fund facilities”, “standby arrangements’, “rapid credit facilities” and others, depending on the needs of the IMF members in covering their payment imbalance and their quota at the Fund (i.e. the members’ voting rights and access to funding relative to the amount of their contribution and their economic standing).

Ulrich Koester, Professor of Agricultural Economics at Kiel University and IAMO Visiting Research Fellow, paid a visit to ISET on May 30. During his presentation, Prof. Koester provided an overview about the specifics of the agricultural sector and its impact on agricultural trade; furthermore, he clarified that traditional trade theory is of minor relevance for explaining agricultural trade policies and trade flows.

Prof. Ulrich started his presentation by explaining the standard model of trade liberalization. He clarified that the theory behind this does not explicitly claim that ‘free trade is best’, and instead states that ‘given certain assumptions, it is best’. In line with traditional trade theory, the effect of changes in trade policy cannot be quantified correctly with a comparative-static analysis. Adjustment effects are the most important, especially the specifics of agricultural factors of production limit adjustment in the short and medium terms. In addition, changes in the whole economy are of the most importance, rather than those of one specific sector.

On May 27 2017, German and Swiss students and professionals from The Mercator Fellowship, together with ISET researchers, visited Kakheti for a wine tour.

The Mercator Fellowship on International Affairs is a project jointly run by the German Academic Scholarship Foundation and the Stiftung Mercator, in cooperation with the Federal Foreign Office, the Swiss Study Foundation, the Mercator Foundation Switzerland, and the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.

Mercator Fellows work in international organizations or business enterprises for 13 months. They contribute to projects in a number of different areas, such as sustainable agricultural development, climate change, renewable energies, international human rights, peace and security, among others. During their visit to Georgia, Mercator program directors and Fellows of 2016-2017 met with representatives of the Georgian government and the private sector to learn more about Georgia’s current policy agenda and economic development.

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