Italian President & Delegation Visit Georgia

Italian President Sergio Mattarella was in Georgia this week, accompanied by a delegation of Italian government personnel.

While there, President Mattarella met the Patriarch of the Georgian Orthodox Church, Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze, and Chairman of Parliament, Irakli Kobakhidze.

The Italian team visited Tbilisi State University, where an exhibition is currently on that celebrates the history of Georgia-Italy relations. President Mattarella also participated in the Georgian-Italian Business Forum, the third such forum, which began in Rome in March last year.

President Margvelashvili and President Mattarella made statements for Georgian and foreign media.

“I would like to thank the President of the Republic of Italy for this crucial and historic visit to Georgia,” Margvelashvili said. “His visit will lay the foundation to deepen and expand cooperation between our countries. Italy is a strong, European country supporting Georgia. Today, I have the opportunity to thank you once again for the very strong support that Italy showed to Georgia at the 2018 NATO Summit. "

“Our countries are among the oldest in terms of friendly relations between people, political relations, and increasingly growing economic relations, confirming how deep and important our bilateral relations are and can be in future.”

This is President Mattarella’s first official visit to Georgia. In October 2017, President Margvelashvili visited President Mattarella in Rome, where they met and discussed the development of Georgia-Italy bilateral cooperation and multilateral relations in international forums.

Within the frames of this week’s visit, the Deputy Ministers of Economy and Sustainable Development, Genadi Arveladze and Giorgi Chikovani, met with Italy’s Deputy Minister of Economic Development, Michele Geraci.

During the meeting, the two sides discussed trade and economic relations between Georgia and Italy and opportunities for increased cooperation. Possibilities for bilateral links between Georgian and Italian businesses were noted, with a focus on cooperation in the energy sector, specifically hydropower and renewable energy sources.

The Georgian Department of Economy said it looks forward to strengthening the positive relations between the two countries, particularly in the economic sphere. Investment opportunities were also discussed, including in real estate and tourism, IT and business process outsourcing (BPO), and production.

The Georgian deputy ministers informed Geraci about local economic trends, ongoing reforms, and policies for economic growth and business support. One strong example of Georgia’s economic policy is the Enterprise Georgia program, which is helping to arrange Georgian manufacturers’ attendance at the September 2018 LineaPelle – an international exhibition of leather and leather products in Milan. In April 2019, Enterprise Georgia will support Georgian companies attending the Milan Furniture Fair.

Part of the Italian delegation’s visit was to attend the Georgian-Italian Business Forum in Tbilisi. Another Deputy Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development, Giorgi Cherkezishvili, participated in the forum. According to Cherkezishvili, Georgia's economic growth reached 5% in 2017, and the record in recent years was set in May 2018 at 7.5% – an impressive indicator which Cherkezishvili directly related to the government's economic policies and ongoing reforms aimed at development.

Cherkezishvili put special emphasis on ongoing and planned reforms aimed at accelerating economic growth, increasing economic inclusivity, and creating a solid foundation for poverty reduction. Directed at attendees representing the Italian business community, details of bilateral free trade agreements of various countries with Georgia were discussed, including the European Union and China, along with Georgia’s liberal tax legislation.

Cherkezishvili’s presentation included detailed information about state programs for business stimulation and focused on Georgia's strategic geographical location for transportation and logistics.

By Samantha Guthrie

19 July 2018 19:11