Minister of Economy Visits Singapore, Talks Trade & Maritime Cooperation

Coming off a wave of successful meetings in China on the opportunities for Georgia to export to the country, Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Giorgi Kobulia visited Singapore this week. On Tuesday in the massively wealthy southeast Asian city-state, Kobulia attended the Bloomberg New Economy Forum. Founded by American billionaire Michael Bloomberg, the forum brands itself as “a new community for the new economy.” The forum aims to capitalize on the “pivotal moment in history” in which we are living, where “economic power is shifting dramatically from the West to new economies and “new markets and new leaders are exercising unprecedented influence over the course of economic change on a global scale.” The goal of the forum is to support “a new community of leaders thinking, innovating and working together to create the thriving, inclusive global economy of the future.”

Kobulia attended an official reception hosted by the representatives of the state delegations by Michael Bloomberg and founders of the forum on its opening day and participated in a roundtable discussion dedicated to China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

Kobulia spoke about the possibilities for Georgia to play a significant role in the new Silk Road project and become a regional hub in the corridor connecting Europe and Asia. The Minister noted that Georgia is a small country for which transit routes for goods and freight are profitable. "We are also trying to develop the infrastructure and logistics of railway and ports as much as possible. The most important thing is that the development of infrastructure contributes to Georgian companies getting into the world market,” he said.

The forum was attended by more than 400 government and business representatives from around the world, including high-impact leaders such as Gary Cohn, former Assistant to the US President for Economic Policy; Janet Yellen, former Chair of the US Federal Reserve; Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Minister of Finance of Indonesia; Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the IMF; Ian Bremmer, President and Founder of Eurasia Group; Henry Kissinger, and many others.

On Wednesday, Kobulia met with Andrew Tan, Chief Executive, Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore, to discuss possibilities of deepening trade relations between Georgia and Singapore. The focus was on the importance of signing a bilateral intergovernmental agreement on maritime trading. A draft agreement has already been written up by the Georgian Ministry of Economy and was presented to the Singaporean side this week.

It was also noted during the meeting that a new project is being considered in Georgia – maritime clusters, which would establish special tax benefits. Since Singapore has one of the most successful maritime clusters in the world, the Georgian side expressed its interest in cooperating in this regard and sharing experiences.

The sides also discussed cooperation between maritime education institutions to prepare students for exchange programs and collaborative learning opportunities, and the possibility of offering a special training course at the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) Academy for Georgian Maritime Authorities.

By Samantha Guthrie

Image source: Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development

08 November 2018 19:11