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Republic of Georgia: A Critical Communications Bridge Between Asia and Europe






The Republic of Georgia has become a country of increasing strategic importance as a communications hub between Central Asia and Caucasus regions and the European Union. "Georgia has always been a bridge connecting Asia and Europe." (Tornike Nikvashvili, Embassy of Georgia, Washington D.C., National Press Club, 2022) With the Northern Transport Corridor from Asia to Europe, going through Russia and Ukraine, effectively closed, the Central Transport Corridor through Caucasus and Turkey has assumed a key strategic role in the transport of goods, energy, and information from Asia to Europe and vice versa. Given Georgia’s key position connecting the Caspian and the Black Sea regions, a growing number of infrastructure projects have been in the works to strengthen and modernize the transport and communications infrastructure going through Georgia.


“It takes 10-15 days to get a shipment from Central Asia to Europe. Georgia, together with its partners in the region is offering modernized infrastructure, be it railway or highway. Georgia is offering transport connections from Kazakhstan, through Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey to Europe, as well as two seaports on the Black Sea that can be used to transport goods to Europe.” explains James Scott, executive director of the Eastern European Institute for Trade. Scott Continues, “Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway connects the Caspian Sea with Turkey, while the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum pipeline connects to the Trans-Anatolian pipeline (TANAP) and then to the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) that delivers the natural gas to Europe, allowing the transport of Caspian natural gas to Europe. In addition, the Baku-Supsa oil pipeline connects the Caspian region with the Black Sea, while the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline connects the Caspian with the Mediterranean Sea, providing additional capacities for energy export.”


Georgia has recently improved relations with its neighbor Azerbaijan to the point where both

governments consider it to be “a strategic partnership” (Agenda.ge, 2022), with plans for joint projects in the spheres of economy, energy, transport, culture, education, etc. This will provide significant investment opportunities in the region: Georgia has a free trade agreement with the EU, a free trade agreement with China, and CIS countries, and it is 7th globally in the ease-of-doing business. It offers a flexible taxation system, tax-free industrial zones, the corporate profits tax is 0-15%, and the property tax is less than 1%. "We are trying to give to all of the potential investors the flexibility and the availability to make them feel comfortable with the investment process" (Tornike Nikvashvili, Embassy of Georgia, Washington D.C., National Press Club, 2022). “With a number of projects to expand and modernize its infrastructure, develop a green economy, and attract new and innovative businesses,” explains James Scott, “Georgia's green energy initiative has put itself at the forefront of the European green program aiming to develop a zero-carbon economy by 2050.”


The Embassy Row Project’s ENVIROTECH Pre-Accelerator, a program that works between governments and next-generation technology development labs, continues to support the Caucus region on technology transfer, energy transition, and the Black Sea Submarine Cable project, among other strategic infrastructure development initiatives.


References:

Agenda.ge, 2022, Azerbaijani PM says relations with Georgia have reached the level of “strategic partnership”, Available at: https://agenda.ge/en/news/2022/4889


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