European Integration
Economics

The Myth, that the Association Agreement will result in removal of local made products on the Georgian market, is Misleading

22 July, 2014

The Association Agreement was executed between European Union and Georgia in Brussels on 27 June 2013. The Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) constitutes a significant part of this Agreement and intends to facilitate economic integration of Georgia with EU.

DCFTA opens up for Georgian companies a market with 500 million customers. In particular, no import tariffs will be applicable to goods produced in Georgia (with the only exception of garlic, for which there is a quantity restriction). Further, once the visa liberalization is complete, the citizens of Georgia may visit EU countries visa-free for short-term stay.

Section 4 of the Agreement – "Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures” – regulates food safety issues. The purpose of this section of the Agreement is improvement of food safety standards and "simplification of trade with products subject to sanitary and phytosanitary measures”. While, EU opens its market for the Georgian products, at the same time it requires strengthening of sanitary and phytosanitary control to protect health of citizens of its member countries. Therefore, the primary purpose of the DCFTA is to strengthen control not on the products intended for Georgian market, but for export products.

According to EU sanitary and phytosanitary regulations, regulation of the Georgian domestic market is subject to further negotiations. Because regulation of the domestic market does not involve merely copying of all European norms into Georgia legislation, therefore, it is yet early to discuss how these regulations will apply to small domestic farmers and family businesses. Georgia has approximately 10 year term to ensure streamlining of the Georgian legislation with the European, which excludes rapid transformation.

Therefore, Association Agreement with the EU will not have negative influence on small family businesses, while in the long-term it will only facilitate improvement of quality of the Georgian products, including competitiveness of agricultural products.

Furthermore, this process will be implemented through EU financial and technical assistance, which shall make it easier for the local entrepreneurs to adapt to new standards.

Gigla Mikautadze

Source of the Myth:

Jondi Bagaturia, "Qartuli Dasi” Election Bloc "Burdjanadze – United Opposition”:

"Now, regarding the Association Agreement with EU, it has significant errors, they lie to people, that we will sign the Agreement and EU market will open up for Georgia. There is an article in the Agreement, which is titled food safety issues. This provision means that Kakhetian homemade sour cream or Imeretian homemade cheese shall not be sold in the retail stores of Georgia, which automatically means that Imeretian family, which has three cows, will not retain them, because it will not be able to take care of a cow, as the products made from it will not be accepted anywhere. Therefore, if Georgian farmer will not be able to sell products in the market, this means that we shall become market for the Turkish dairy products …” Alia, 23-26 May.