A small country in the Caucasus squeezed between Russia and Turkey on the Black Sea, Georgia is a strategic East-West gateway to the Caspian oil and gas fields. It also sits along the key North-South axis between Russian and Iran. For centuries, it was a playing field of empires: Persian, Ottoman, and Russian. Today, it is on the front lines in the battle for freedom.
In 2008, Russia invaded Georgia and occupied Abkhazia and South Ossetia, two of its provinces. Today, Georgia is struggling to expand its ties to NATO and the European Union. It has come a long way toward building a democratic society and a market economy. In spite of a sharp economic contraction after the 2008 Russian invasion and global recession, the Georgian economy averaged 4.8 percent annual growth from 2006 to 2010. Growth in 2011-2012 has been even more robust, currently averaging close to seven percent in real terms. According to 2012 Index of Economic Freedom, Georgia has one of the world’s best trade-freedom scores along with a high investment-freedom score. The business environment is supported by a competitive tax regime and an efficient regulatory framework.
Moving in a timely manner to implement a Georgia-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (FTA) would promote economic freedom and prosperity in both countries and would serve U.S. security goals in Eurasia. Join us for this important discussion.
More About the Speakers
Vice President, New School, Tbilisi, Georgia
Margaret Thatcher Fellow, Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom, The Heritage Foundation
Counselor for Economic Affairs, Embassy of Georgia
James M. Roberts
Research Fellow For Economic Freedom and Growth