ISET

A dramatic y/y decline (44%) in Georgia’s 2015 exports to Armenia was the subject of a study by ISET-PI and the German Economic Team (GET). Our goal was to understand the extent to which this slump resulted from Armenia’s agreement to join the Eurasian Economic Union in 2014 (as part of this agreement, Armenia applied new trade barriers on imports from non-EEU countries in 2015).

An alternative explanation concerns the change in the terms of trade with Russia and Armenia. With the Russian ruble sharply depreciating in the course of 2015, Russian non-oil products became much more competitive in international markets, including Armenia.

The study overviews Georgia’s export structure and the key changes it undergone in 2014-15. The lion’s share of the decline in Georgian export to Armenia is found to be caused by a sharp contraction in car re-exports (-69% y/y). The paper goes on to analyze possible future changes in the trade regime between the two countries and their effect on Georgian exports.

Georgia’s Insolvency law of 2007 is primarily oriented towards a rapid liquidation of insolvent corporate entities and private entrepreneurs’ businesses with subsequent distribution of remaining assets amongst the creditors. The number of insolvency cases dealt with by the local courts of Tbilisi and Kutaisi is fairly limited most probably due to insufficient assets in the insolvent entities to cover the costs of the insolvency procedure. The law is relatively short and leaves relevant aspects of insolvency procedures either unclear or unregulated. Areas with significant shortcomings and deficiencies are e.g. regulations on avoidance of transactions concluded prior to insolvency, the monopolistic position of the National Enforcement Bureau as trustee, the Conciliation Council, the rehabilitation procedure, the role and function of Insolvency Office Holders, the ranking of claims in the distribution process etc.

Although the mining sector of Georgia only accounts for a small share of GDP, around one quarter of Georgia’s total exports are related to mining activities. Increased use of Georgia’s natural resources thus has the potential to benefit the economic development of the country as well as to contribute to public finances.

How can regulation be improved to strengthen the economic gains and public revenues from the mining sector? The current regulation creates unnecessary obstacles to investment in mining. These deter investors from increasing activities in Georgia, leading to less economic growth of Georgia in mining and related industries as well as smaller public revenues from a sector that generally is highly interesting from a perspective of creating tax and other public income.

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