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facebook.com/ georgiatoday

Issue no: 874/42

• AUG. 30 - SEPT. 1,, 2016

• PUBLISHED TWICE WEEKLY

PRICE: GEL 2.50

In this week’s issue... Georgia, Belarus Strengthen Bilateral Relations PAGE 2

Armenia, Iran Working Towards Creating Free Economic Zone PAGE 3

Electricity Market Watch

FOCUS ON HARVEST SUBSIDIES Minister of Agriculture, Otar Danelia, promises a trouble-free harvest for viticulturists and winemakers PAGE

Dechert OnPoint: Amendments to the Law on Public Registry

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Azerbaijan Requests $2 billion in Agricultural Aid from WTO BY NICHOLAS WALLER

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GALT & TAGGART PAGE 5

he Azeri government has requested USD 2 billion in aid from the World Trade Organization to support its troubled agricultural sector, Deputy Foreign Minister Mahmud Mammadguliyev announced at the weekend. "We have asked the WTO for USD 1 billion in direct aid to support the agricultural industry and another USD 1 billion to organize an agricultural recovery project in the occupied territories (Nagorno-Karabakh) of Azerbaijan once they’ve been liberated." Mammadguliyev said in an interview with Russia’s state-run news agency RIA Novosti. Continued on page 2

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Constitutional Court Chair Calls on Governmental Officials Not to Interfere in Judicial Activities POLITICS PAGE 10

Georgian Chess Player Wins European Youth Championship CULTURE PAGE 11 Prepared for Georgia Today Business by

Markets Asof26ͲAugͲ2016

STOCKS BankofGeorgia(BGEOLN) GHG(GHGLN) TBCBank(TBCBLI)

COMMODITIES CrudeOil,Brent(US$/bbl) GoldSpot(US$/OZ)

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112.02(YTM4.00%)

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US$12.00

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Ͳ9,1%

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112.06(YTM5.33%)

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102.75(YTM5.52%)

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+2,2%

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49,92

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1321,18

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5218,92

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0,0048

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MSCIEMEE

129,00

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0,0897

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901,39

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2169,04

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0,9782

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2579,18

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RUB/USD

64,5882

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797,63

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TRY/USD

2,9535

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GTIndex(USD)

689,24

+0,3%

Ͳ2,8%

AZN/USD

1,6725

Ͳ0,6%

+4,9%

Ͳ2,0%


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BUSINESS

GEORGIA TODAY

AUGUST 30 - SEPTEMBER 1, 2016

Georgia, Belarus Strengthen Bilateral Relations BY THEA MORRISON

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he Republic of Belarus opened its first Embassy in Georgia on Thursday and appointed Mikhail Miatlikov as the first ambassador of Belarus to Georgia. The ambassador presented copies of his credentials to Georgia’s Foreign Minister, Mikheil Janelidze. The Minister congratulated Miatlikov on his appointment and wished him success in his work. Janelidze expressed his satisfaction at the decision of Belarus to open an embassy in Georgia, reiterating the hope that Mikhail Miatlikov will spare no effort to further intensify relations between the two countries. Special attention was paid to the upcoming session of the Intergovernmental Commission on Economic Cooperation to be held in early September, as well as to the organization of a national exhibition of Belarus in Tbilisi. The officials exchanged their views on mutual cooperation within international organizations. They also spoke about the ongoing processes in Georgia, the situation in the occupied territories, and various issues of regional importance. Moreover, Georgia and Belarus plan to deepen cooperation in the area of security. The Chair of the State Security Committee of the Republic of Belarus, Valery Vakulchik, also came to Tbilisi

Azerbaijan Requests $2 billion in Agricultural Aid from WTO Continued from page 1

and held a meeting with the Prime Minister of Georgia, Giorgi Kvirikashvili, and the Georgian Head of the State Security Service, Vakhtang Gomelauri, on August 25.

Gomelauri and Vakulchik signed a Cooperation Agreement between the State Security Service of Georgia and the State Security Committee of Belarus. The agreement aims at developing

close cooperation between the parties in an effort to combat terrorism, corruption and other international as well as transnational organized crimes committed against state security.

The WTO has yet to respond to Azerbaijan’s request and Azeri officials have not indicated whether they expect to receive an answer. Azerbaijan has already received EUR 7.2 million in direct aid from the European Union to help develop and overhaul the agricultural industry in the country’s villages. Baku plans to improve sanitation and upgrade the quality of agricultural products coming from its regions. Azerbaijan’s total 2016 budget for agriculture and regional development amounts to USD 15.5 million. The aid request comes amidst mounting speculation that the national currency – the Manat – is at risk of being depreciated after major shortages of foreign currency in the country have led to the development of a black market. Monetary instability has plagued Azerbaijan since early 2015 when declining oil revenues and a sharp decline in remittances from Russia forced the country’s central bank to cut the Manat’s exchange rate against the US dollar. The Manat has since suffered from a rapid depreciation and drained the country’s once vast foreign currency reserves. Since the start of the year, the Manat’s depreciation has caused a total capital loss of USD 670 million.


BUSINESS

GEORGIA TODAY

AUGUST 30 - SEPTEMBER 1, 2016

3

Startup Georgia Announces High-Tech Enterprise Winners

Armenia, Iran Working Towards Creating Free Economic Zone BY NICHOLAS WALLER

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he Armenian and Iranian governments are currently in the process of creating a free economic zone in Armenia’s southern Meghri region, Yerevan’s Minister of Economy Artsvik Minasyan said on August 25. According to Minasyan, the proposed zone will stimulate relations between Iran and the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), which Armenia

joined in January 2015. The goods produced in the two countries will also those enjoy preferential trade regimes Armenia has established with the EU, United States, Canada, Switzerland, and Japan, RFE/RL reported. Armenian Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan announced plans for the zone on August 22, adding that production and the export of goods would be carried out from the zone. Tehran is particularly interested in developing closer ties with Armenia as it will allow Iran to establish joint ven-

tures with EEU member states and start exporting goods to the common market. Iran has in recent months moved quickly to capitalize on its re-established access to international markets after being placed under strict economic sanction for more than a decade. International businessmen from the West and the EEU have flocked to Iran since Tehran agreed to a deal on its nuclear development program. Foreign businesses operating in the region consider Iran to be a potential investment cash cow due to its vast economic potential.

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he state-funded Startup Georgia project on Friday announced the winners of its high technology business competition. Experts from the US’ Silicon Valley chose 20 winners from the 150 applications. Each successful applicant will receive 100,000 GEL (about USD 43,767) from the Georgian Government to implement their innovative ideas. “Your victory makes all of Georgia proud as our country relies on you,” Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili told finalists. The USD 5 million (11 million GEL) state project funds innovative and hightech start-ups in a variety of fields including aerospace production, biotech research, bioinformatics, computer engineering, IT, nuclear physics, electromag-

netic radiation, robotics, and telecommunications. "This program, part of the government's four-point reform plan, is the most important as it encourages entrepreneurial spirit and enables our youth to launch their own businesses and change the mindset of a whole generation. It is not possible to foster an innovative idea or start a business only through the banking sector. Startup Georgia gives people a new option," Kvirikashvili said, addinf that the government will fully support Georgian entrepreneurs as they develop various technologies in the coming years. Startup Georgia is a part of the State’s Partnership Fund. It is implemented with the support of the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia and Georgia’s Innovation and Technology Agency.


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BUSINESS

GEORGIA TODAY

AUGUST 30 - SEPTEMBER 1, 2016

Government Subsidizes Vintage 2016 Harvest BY THEA MORRISON

Vintage 2016 started in Dedoplistskaro, Kakheti. Source: Wines of Georgia

W

ithin the framework of the Vintage 2015 program, the government decided to issue 0.45 GEL per kilogram for Rkatsiteli grapes, 0.20 GEL per kilo for Saperavi and 0.45 GEL for one kilo of Kakhetian Green as subsidies. The highest price is on Mujuretuli/Aleksandrouli grapes with wine factories having to pay 2 GEL per kilo within the state subsidies program. The statement was made by Georgia’s Minister of Agriculture Otar Danelia at the opening of the Vintage 2016 harvest coordination in Telavi, Kakheti Region. The event was also attended by Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Levan Davitash-

The government is in total readiness to conduct an organized and trouble free harvest

vili, Head of the National Wine Agency, Giorgi Samanishvili, and representatives of local government and wine producing companies. Danelia spoke about the importance of the subsidies from the State, adding the decision was made considering the interest of viticulturists as well as the interests of winemakers.

According to the Minister, around 100 factories will receive grapes from village farmers and each farmer’s harvest will be purchased. “The government is in total readiness to conduct an organized and trouble-free harvest,” Danelia said. Moreover, the Minister stated that the preferential agro-credit project will con-

tinue for those wine and alcoholic beverage companies which promote a production increase. The maximum amount of agro-credit is 10 million GEL and the maximum period of loan is 15 months. The coordination of Vintage 2016 is led by the Head of National Wine Agency, Giorgi Samanishvili, who said at the opening that subsidies will be given

Over 1.3 thousand tons of grapes have been picked and delivered since the opening of the 2016 harvest on Wednesday directly to the viticulturists, not to winemakers, just as they were last year. After delivering the grapes to the factories, the village farmers will receive their money within 15 working days by presenting their ID cards. The Head of the National Wine Agency said the coordination of Vintage 2016 will be situated in Telavi, Hotel 'Alazani Valley,' and its staff will work 24/24 to ensure active communication between state departments, industrialists and viticulturists. Vintage 2016 started in Dedoplistskaro, Kakheti region, on Wednesday. So far, 1.3 thousand tons of grapes have been picked and delivered to two factories located in the region. This year, Kakheti region is expected to have 200 thousand tons in grape harvest.


BUSINESS

GEORGIA TODAY

AUGUST 30 - SEPTEMBER 1, 2016

5

The Galt & Taggart Research team comprises Georgian and Azerbaijani finance and economic experts who have broad experience of covering the macro and corporate sectors of the two countries. Our current product offering includes Georgian and Azerbaijan macroeconomic research, Georgian sector research, and fixed income corporate research. For free access to Galt & Taggart Research, please visit gtresearch.ge or contact us at gt@gt.ge.

Electricity Market Watch FOR GEORGIA TODAY BY TAMARA KURDADZE

S

ector research is one of the key directions of Galt & Taggart Research. We currently provide coverage of Energy, Healthcare, Tourism, Agriculture, Wine, and Real Estate sectors in Georgia. As part of our energy sector coverage, we produce a monthly Electricity Market Watch, adapted here for Georgia Today’s readers. Previous reports on the sector can be found on Galt & Taggart’s website - gtresearch. ge.

MINISTRY OF ENERGY RELEASES GEORGIA’S ENERGY STRATEGY 2016-2025

The Ministry of Energy has just released Georgia’s Energy Strategy for 2016-2025. Both the ministry and the regulator (GNERC) were actively involved in the two-year process of developing the strategy document, with NGOs and industry experts contributing in the document review process. Liberalization of energy markets, move to dayahead trading, approximation to EU’s Third Energy Package, and modernization and development of transmission and distribution infrastructure are some of the key themes. The strategy stresses the importance of expanding installed capacity in order to reduce the country’s dependence on imported energy resources. Aside from hydro resources, the potential of alternative energy source development, such as wind, solar, biomass and geothermal is also discussed. Notably, upgrading system capacity is

key to securing the integration of wind and solar into the grid. The importance of strategic HPPs, such as Nenskra, Khudoni, and Namakhvani, for the upgrade of system capacity is highlighted. The natural gas reservoir near Tbilisi is an integral part of the strategy, as it will strengthen Georgia’s energy security by creating a buffer in case of natural gas shortage. The reservoir is to be built by GOGC, while interested investors can obtain minority stakes. Lastly, strengthening international relations is highlighted as an important step on Georgia’s path to becoming a regional electricity transit and renewable energy trade hub.

AGREEMENT WITH THE ENERGY COMMUNITY TO BE RATIFIED IN EARLY 2017 Continued on page 7


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BUSINESS

GEORGIA TODAY

AUGUST 30 - SEPTEMBER 1, 2016

Ukraine Hopes to Establish International Transport Corridor

BY DIMITRI DOLABERIDZE

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kraine should regain the status of a transit state and form a comprehensive strategy for the development of all types of cargo transportation, said Minister of Infrastructure, Volodymyr Omelyan, commenting on Ukraine's initiative to establish an international transport corridor through the Baltic Sea - Black Sea - Caspian Sea. "Ukraine possesses everything needed to restore transit capacities: geographic location, access to the sea, reliable international partners,” Omelyan said. “The establishment of an international transport corridor in the direction of the Baltic Sea Black Sea - Caspian Sea will develop all types of freight traffic as well as increase existing transport infrastructure." He also stressed that the agreement will create a platform for constructive dialogue between gov-

ernment and business entities that are interested in the implementation of transit in the region. "We can work out a mutual single tariff policy and consolidated solutions for the optimization of conditions of intermodal transport: rail, road, ferry, as well as inland waterways," he said. Ukraine, together with Belarus, aims to enhance the economic capacity of the transport corridor between the EU and the Black Sea basin countries. "The perspective is to expand the volume of traffic of container trains ‘Viking’ and ‘Zubr.’ In order to increase the volume of transit cargo through Belarus and Ukraine it is necessary to set competitive tariffs. Ukraine, in turn, will continue to develop the ferry route ‘Europe - Caucasus – Asia,’ which will increase trade flows in the direction of the Baltic and Black seas," said Gennady Zubko, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Regional Development, Construction and Housing, adding that promising areas of cooperation with Belarus are also the transport formats ‘Kiev-Minsk-Warsaw,’ ‘Kiev-Minsk-Vilnius’ and ‘Kiev-Minsk-Riga.


BUSINESS

GEORGIA TODAY

AUGUST 30 - SEPTEMBER 1, 2016

7

Electricity Market Watch Continued from page 5 The membership agreement with the European Energy Community is expected to be ratified by the Georgian parliament in early 2017. Prior to the parliamentary hearing, Georgia has to be admitted as a full member during the Energy Community ministerial in October. Upon full membership and parliamentary ratification, Georgia will be obligated to start implementing a set of new legislative documents. Compliance areas will include, but not be limited to, liberalization of energy markets, supply quality and security, energy efficiency, and environmental considerations.

GUARANTEED POWER PURCHASE PERIOD REDUCED FOR TKIBULI 150 CFPP The PPA for Tkibuli 150, a coal-fired power plant (CFPP), has been amended. The guaranteed PPA period was reduced from 20 to 15 years and the number of guaranteed purchase months from twelve to nine (August through April). The amendment was signed by both parties on July 4th and made public by the ministry in early August. The installed capacity allowance was also amended from 150 MW to 150-300 MW, but the PPA is capped at a 150 MW capacity. The guaranteed purchase prices were left unchanged at USc 7.9 per kWh in year 1 and increasing to USc 9.2 per kWh in years 12 and after.

WIND POWER TO HIT THE GRID END OF 2016 A generation license was granted to Qartli WPP, expected to launch in test

FOR GEORGIAN ELECTRICITY EXPORTS

mode in October 2016. The construction process is almost complete. The WPP is made up of six wind turbines, each with 3.45 MW installed capacity. Project costs amounted to US$ 34.3mn. EBRD financed US$ 24mn through a senior loan and the rest was financed by the state-owned Georgian Energy Development Fund (GEDF). GEDF is working on four other wind projects, partnering with the Turkish Calik Wind on two of them. However, upgraded transmission infrastructure and increased system capacity are necessary precursors to alternative energy development on a significant scale. The current network capacity for wind and solar power plants is 50 MW, but expected to reach 400 MW by 2025, according to the new energy strategy document.

Electricity exports decreased 22.3% y/y in July 2016, with Russia driving the decline. Exports to Russia decreased 93.7% y/y from 63.3 gWh in July 2015, while exports to Turkey increased 21.9% y/y to 99.0 gWh, partly compensating for the drop in exports to Russia. This dynamic can be explained by the fact that average export prices to Turkey were up and average market price for electricity on the Russian market (USc 2-3/kWh) was below both Georgian and Turkish prices. Furthermore, domestic consumption in Georgia increased, while generation was largely flat, incentivizing the generators to either sell their electricity domestically or export to Turkey, before exporting to Russia. Subsequently, 76.8% of exports were directed to Turkey, 3.1% to Russia, 17.6% to Armenia (+5.8% y/y), and the rest, a negligible amount, to Azerbaijan.

NATION’S LARGEST DAM EXPECTED TO CLOSE FOR THREE TO FOUR MONTHS IN 2018 Enguri HPP will halt operations for two to three weeks in 2017 and for three to four months in 2018 due to planned renovation. The renovation works are usually completed every ten years. Enguri supplies a substantial amount of Georgia’s electricity, varying from 150 gWh (up to 20%) in the winter months to 550 gWh (over 50%) in the summer months, and 100% of the Abkhazian region’s electricity consumption. Measures will have to be taken to bridge the gap during these months. Notably, in the beginning of 2016, when the Abkhazian region experienced an electricity shortage due to lower water levels in the Enguri reservoir, GoG struck an agreement with Russia to import elec-

tricity at a discounted price – a likely option for the Abkhazian region during the renovation.

DOMESTIC CONSUMPTION RALLIES AS GEORGIAN MANGANESE GETS BACK TO BUSINESS AS USUAL Domestic consumption increased 6.8% y/y in July 2016, with DNOs and eligible consumers the major growth drivers. Consumption of eligible consumers was up 12.1% y/y, with Georgian Manganese (+25.9% y/y) driving the growth, while GWP’s consumption decreased 3.9% y/y. GM’s high growth can largely be attributed to the low base in July 2015,

when consumption was down 28.5% y/y due to unfavorable conditions on global ferro-alloy markets. DNO consumption increased 5.6% y/y, with the greater Tbilisi area posting an impressive 17.5% y/y growth rate from an already high base in July 2015 (+ 5.7% y/y). Usage of Energo-Pro subscribers was flat (+0.7% y/y), while Kakheti Energy Distribution usage was down 3.2% y/y. Consumption of the Abkhazian region was up 9.2% y/y, after strong growth in June (+14.8% y/y) and three consecutive months of flat or negative growth figures before that.

TURKEY STILL THE MOST ATTRACTIVE MARKET

AVERAGE PRICE FOR GEORGIAN ELECTRICITY EXPORTS UP 33.4% Y/Y The average export price of Georgian electricity to Turkey increased 10.8% y/y (USc 5.0/kWh) in July 2016, despite a 7.0% y/y decrease in the market clearing price on the Turkish market (USc 4.8/kWh). Notably, Turkish prices decreased further from a significantly low base. The weighted average wholesale price in Georgia was down 4.7% y/y to USc 3.8. 2.5% of total electricity supplied to the grid was traded through the market operator, with the rest traded through bilateral contracts. The average export price of Georgian electricity was USc 5.0/kWh, up 33.4% y/y.


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BUSINESS

GEORGIA TODAY

AUGUST 30 - SEPTEMBER 1, 2016

Dechert OnPoint: Amendments to the Law on Public Registry

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echert Georgia, through the contribution of partners Archil Giorgadze and Nicola Mariani, joined by senior associate Irakli Sokolovski and associates Ana Kostava and Ana Kochiashvili, is partnering with Georgia Today on a regular section of the paper which will provide updated information regarding significant legal changes and developments in Georgia. In particular, we will highlight significant issues which may impact businesses operating in Georgia.

INTRODUCTION Noteworthy changes were recently introduced to the Law of Georgia on Public Registry (the “Law on Public Registry”). The National Agency of Public Registry (the “Public Registry”) combines various registries, including the registry of real property, the registry of movable and intangible properties and the registry of entrepreneurial and non-entrepreneurial (non-commercial) legal entities. The recent amendments to the Law on Public Registry now authorize the Public Registry to record data on the economic activities of registered commercial entities and sole proprietors. Previously, the registered data of commercial entities included information about their shareholders, management bodies, obligations or restrictions, tax pledges, mortgages and other relevant registration data such as their address, date of registration and registration number. Based on the recent amendments, the Public Registry will now also

record public information on the economic activities of commercial entities in a separate Registry of Economic Activities. The Minister of Justice of Georgia will establish by a special order the specific regulations related to the documents required for registration, the term of registration and the registration fees. The amendments to the Law on Public Registry are scheduled to enter into force on 2 September 2016.

REGISTRY OF ECONOMIC ACTIVITIES The Registry of Economic Activities contains information about the specific economic activities of commercial entities. The classification of economic activities is established by the National Statistics Office of Georgia (the “Statistics Office”). The Statistics Office adopted an official classification of economic activities based on the statistics classification of the European Union. The official press release of the Statistics Office notes the reasons behind the need to establish a new classification system, namely the compatibility and harmonization of the official statistics produced by various states. During the production of a new classification system, the Statistics Office has used the revised detailed structure of economic activities in the EU member states and combined them with specific features of national Georgian classifications. By this development the Statistics Office has ensured that the State of Georgia complied with the requirements of the Association Agreement with the European Union.

The registration of economic activities is voluntary, except for in cases provided by Georgian legislation. In cases where the registration of economic activities is compulsory, the commercial entities will only be allowed to perform such activities after their successful registration with the Registry of Economic Activities. In certain cases the commercial entities may be fined as much as GEL1,000 if they perform the economic activities without due registration. The registered commercial entities will be entitled to receive official extracts from the Registry of Economic Activities in both Georgian and English languages. The registration shall remain in force for one year and is subject to extension at the request of the commercial entity or sole proprietor.

COMPULSORY REGISTRATION UNDER THE LAW ON MIGRATION Labor migration is a notable field where registration in the Registry of Commercial Activities is mandatory. The Law of Georgia on Labor Migration (the “Law on Labor Migration”) provides that legal entities, sole proprietors and foreign entrepreneurial or non-entrepreneurial entities that are involved in providing assistance to migrants to aid their finding employment abroad are required to register their activities with the Registry of Commercial Activities. Providing assistance with finding employment abroad is a regulated area, which is why mandatory registration is required to verify that these entities comply with the regulations under the

Law on Labor Migration. The core regulations in addition to the registration requirement require the conclusion of a contract between the company providing assistance and the foreign employer, the collection of data on that employer, the conclusion of a contract between the migrant and the foreign employer and providing information to the migrant about his or her rights. Before the respective amendments enter into force on 2 September 2016, registration under the Law on Labor Migration is combined with the incorporation of a legal entity and with its respective registration with the Registry of Entrepreneurial and Non-Entrepreneurial (Non-Commercial) Legal Entities.

CONCLUSIONS The amendments to the Law on Public Registry is a strong indication that Georgia’s legislators and public officials are determined to ensure that Georgian legislation is harmonized and compatible with the recent international economic and legal developments, especially those relevant to Georgia’s Association Agreement with the European Union. In particular since the Association Agreement was concluded, the State of Georgia has assumed numerous new obliga-

tions in legal and non-legal fields. The above innovations on registration demonstrate the government’s will and determination to duly perform these obligations and follow the chosen path of development and growth. *** Note: this article does not constitute legal advice. You are responsible for consulting with your own professional legal advisors concerning specific circumstances for your business. Dechert’s Tbilisi office combines local service and full corporate, tax and finance support with the global knowledge that comes with being part of a worldwide legal practice. Dechert Georgia is the Tbilisi branch of Dechert LLP, an international specialist Law firm that focuses on core transactional and litigation practices, providing world-class services to major corporations, financial institutions and private funds worldwide. With more than 900 Lawyers in our global practice groups working in 27 offices across Europe, the CIS, Asia, the Middle East and the United States, Dechert has the resources to deliver seamless, high quality legal services to clients worldwide. For more information, please visit www. dechert.com or contact Nicola Mariani at nicola.mariani@dechert.com.


BUSINESS

GEORGIA TODAY

AUGUST 30 - SEPTEMBER 1, 2016

Former Manager of Crimea Energy Bridge Project Arrested by Russia’s FSB

BY NICHOLAS WALLER

V

alery Goncharov, the Deputy Chairman of Russia’s Federal Grid Company of Unified Energy System (FGC UES), has been arrested on fraud and embezzlement charges connected to the construction of an energy bridge from Russia’s southern Krasnodar Territory to Ukraine’s occupied Crimea Peninsula. Russia’s feared FSB security services detained Goncharov at a Moscow airport just prior to boarding a flight to Europe. At the time of his arrest, Goncharov was no longer an active employee of FGC UES, the company said in a press release. “Goncharov has not worked for Federal Grid Company since early summer. At this time Roman Filimonov is currently in charge of the project,” the press service told Russia’s Interfax news agency on August 27.

Moscow is in the process of linking Ukraine’s Crimea Peninsula with mainland Russia via a transportation and energy bridge. Russia invaded and illegally annexed Crimea from Ukraine in February-March 2014. The Kremlin has consistently thumbed its nose at Kyiv and the international community over its illegal actions in Crimea, despite heavy international economic actions levied against Russia for its invasion. Ukraine has attempted to counter Russia’s occupation of the strategic Black Sea peninsula by blockading its only route that physically links it to the mainland. The Kremlin’s decision to build an energy bridge came in the wake of an attack by Ukrainian saboteurs who, in late 2015, blew up several pylons that carry electricity supplies to the peninsula. According to Russia’s Energy Minister, the overall cost of the energy bridge project amounts to USD 722 million. The FSB did not release any further details about the charges brought against Goncharov.

Eurofast Nominated at the Payroll World Awards 2016

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urofast was nominated for Best Payroll Support Team Award at The Payroll World Awards 2016! The Payroll World Awards 2016 recognize and reward hard work and best practice in the payroll industry. Actually, this year sees the highest number of companies and individuals competing in the history of the Awards. The Payroll World Awards have been organized for past 6 years by Payroll World and have become a leading event amongst payroll professionals. Payroll World is very popular amongst payroll professionals and is a great source of up to date payroll news and legislation written by industry

professionals and experienced journalists. The winners will be announced at the awards ceremony on November 3rd, in London. This nomination is true recognition for the valued client work we deliver every day at Eurofast, which is singled out as a top entrepreneur in the SEE region. We at Eurofast remain focused at our goal: think big, take risks and work hard to achieve perfection. Good luck Eurofast! For more information on Eurofast and its service portfolio, please visit www.eurofast.eu and http:// www.payrollworldawards.co.uk/ ADVERTISING

Contact: www.edelbrand.ge Phone: 599 461908

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POLITICS

GEORGIA TODAY

AUGUST 30 - SEPTEMBER 1, 2016

Constitutional Court Chair Calls on Governmental Officials Not to Interfere in Judicial Activities BY THEA MORRISON

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onstitutional Court Chair Giorgi Papuashvili released a special statement on August 27 calling on governmental officials to refrain from interference in judicial activities.

Papuashvili made the statement in response to accusations from the members of the ruling team Georgian Dream (GD), who said that Constitutional Court Chair has a deal with the opposition party United National Movement (UNM) and is trying to cause a stir before the October parliamentary elections. The ruling team also accuses Papuashvili of exerting pressure on other members of the nineseat court.

Giorgi Papuashvili, Head of Constitutional Court. Source: Tabula.ge

In his statement, Papuashvili says that in the Constitutional Court's 20-year history this is the most unprecedented case of pressure on judges from the government and ruling team representatives. “Political leaders allow themselves to roughly interfere in the Constitutional Court's activities and are engaged in an orchestrated campaign in order to discredit the Court,” the statement reads. According to Papuashvili, governmental officials deliberately intimidate and discredit those judges who speak openly about pressure on the Court. “Once again, we call on the authorities to refrain from interference in judicial activities,” he said. GD members reject the allegations, saying Papuashvili and the first chamber of judges are acting in favor of the UNM. Mamuka Mdinaradze, member of the GD political Council, suspects that Papuashvili is carrying

There is suspicion that the Chair of the Constitutional Court is trying to create a political climate in the pre-election period ROUTING

TBILISI - ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT

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out a planned PR campaign against judges he cannot influence. “There is suspicion that the Chair of the Constitutional Court is trying to create a political climate in the pre-election period,” Mdinaradze said. Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Kvirikashvili claimed Papuashvili’s statement was unrealistic. “I personally met Papuashvili and he had an opportunity to prove his statements to the Prosecutor’s Office. I have no right to make any political comments but it all seems like an unrealistic story,” Kvirikashvili said. Former ruling team, the UNM, believes that the Court is under governmental pressure, saying the government is trying to influence the Court in order to make them rule in favor of government before the parliamentary elections. “It is pity that the government is trying to influence the Court. This process has to be stopped,” UNM member Gigi Tsereteli stated. The scandal around the Constitutional Court began on July 21 when Papuashvili stated that certain judges are under pressure in order to make them rule in favor of government. He did not specify the names and the details of the cases however, he mentioned they are high-profile ones currently in progress. The Prosecutor’s Office launched an investigation concerning Papuashvili’s statements and questioned all nine judges. In early August, the Prosecutor’s Office released the mid-term results of the case saying all questioned Constitutional Court Judges deny they are pressured. The final results of the investigation have yet to be published.

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CULTURE

GEORGIA TODAY

AUGUST 30 - SEPTEMBER 1, 2016

11

Georgian Chess Player Wins European Youth Championship

G

eorgian chess player Nino Khomeriki won the gold medal at the European Youth Chess Championship’s Under-18 tournament in the Czech capital Prague. Khomeriki, 18, scored 7.5 of a possible nine points winning her a second European championship. The ten-day competition featured youth chess players from Georgia, Armenia, Spain, Hungary, Turkey, Germany and Russia.

Front Line Village in Georgia to Host International Animation Film Festival

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eorgia’ small village Nikozi, located only 500 meters from the Russian occupied South Ossetia region, will host its sixth annual Inter-

national Animation Festival beginning September 1. Dozens of local and international artists from France, Italy, Canada, Poland and Lithuania will showcase their work

Photo: Zhenko/ Flickr

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at the Nikozi Monastery Palace, which was destroyed in the five-day 2008 August War against Russia. The festival is organized with the help of Hahn Films, Tbilisi’s Goethe Institute and Kvali XXI film studio. The Okropiridze Art School will host a three-day workshop from September 2 on animation design, while a film production course will be conducted by German artist Gabor Steisnger. The festival will kick off with a presentation of the cartoon trilogy “Animation: A World History” by Italian filmmaker Giannalberto Bendazzi. “Over time we came up with the idea to organize an International Animation Film Festival in our village. In 2011, we held the first festival…We wholeheartedly welcome everyone to our festival,” said Nikozi and Tskhinvali Metropolitan Isaiah. Guests from Tbilisi will be transferred to Nikozi by van free of charge from the Bike Statue near Radisson Blu Iveria Hotel, Tbilisi.

Journalists: Tony Hanmer, Tamar Svanidze, Zviad Adzinbaia, Beqa Kirtava, Meri Taliashvili, Eka Karsaulidze, Zaza Jgarkava, Maka Bibilashvili, Karen Tovmasyan, Dimitri Dolaberidze, Maka Lomadze, Tim Ogden, Ana Akhalaia, Robert Isaf, Joseph Larsen, Will Cathcart, Vazha Tavberidze, Nugzar B. Ruhadze

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Georgia Welcomes European Standard two-floor Stadler Kiss Train

JS Georgian Railway prepared a special surprise for its passengers with twofloor European standard Stadler Kiss model electro trains beginning to run in the direction of the Black Sea resort cities. The four new trains from the Swiss company Stadler Bussnang AG are equipped with ultramodern security systems. The 400seat trains fully fit the current sizes of the Georgian railway, with the width of the railway 1520 mm. Each train is 101.7 m long, 3400 mm wide, and 5240 mm high. Georgian Railway worked together with Deutsche Bahn experts and German specialists on the technical parameters.

The Stadler Kiss model train takes into consideration the needs of people with limited abilities who will have lifts in the train and easy-access toilets. Bathrooms onboard also offer changing tables for parents with babies. Train crews serving onboard have been through special retraining courses abroad. The first new train entered Georgia at the beginning of July and successfully ran its first trip to Batumi. It will run to and from the Black Sea cities non-stop and will stop only at seaside resorts Batumi, Kobuleti and Ureki. The same model of train operates in Switzerland, Belgium, Germany, Austria and other countries throughout Europe.

www.railway.ge

Issue #874 Business  

August 23 - September 1, 2016

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