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(Geneva/Tbilisi) On the 30  March 2021, the International Trade Centre (ITC), in partnership with the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia, organized the first virtual national stakeholder meeting on the Eastern Partnership (EaP) Trade Helpdesk Project.

The project, launched in late 2019, is a EU4Business initiative that is being implemented by ITC, a joint agency of the United Nations and the World Trade Organization. The 5-year long project aims to increase economic ties between the EU and the EaP countries and within these countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine), by increasing transparency of information, strengthening regional expertise to detect export opportunities and identifying trade obstacles.

The project is built around six components: 

  • The EaP Trade Helpdesk Portal, which will provide trade information on the region and the EU, complementing information that is already available through national web sites. 
  • An online Helpdesk, available via the portal, which will allow companies to report on issues they face in relation to exporting or importing. 
  • National surveys of non-tariff measures to identify regulatory and procedural trade obstacles experienced by companies. 
  • Sector specific guides to exporting to the EU, the sectors to be selected in consultation with relevant authorities in each country. 
  • Trade in services data management training and advisory support to build the capacity of relevant institutions in each country to collect and process trade in services data for selected sectors. 
  • A capacity building programme in market analysis delivered at national level.

The main goals of the national stakeholder meeting were: to inform participants about the objectives and expected impact of the project; to present ongoing and planned activities in Georgia and to determine synergies with existing national initiatives. The meeting brought together government institutions, business support organizations, representatives of the EU Delegation to Georgia and ITC experts.

Deputy Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia Genadi Arveladzde said: “We hope that the Trade Helpdesk platform will contribute to increased trade among EaP countries and between EaP countries and the EU by improving SMEs’ access to more detailed trade and market information, in order to make informed business decisions and be equipped to take advantage of trade opportunities within the region and with EU countries.”

Head of the Cooperation Section at the EU delegation to Georgia Sigrid Brettel said“We hope that our joint work within this project in the framework of the EU4Business initiative will contribute to reducing the information gaps faced by SMEs in Georgia and will further increase the number of Georgian companies exporting to the region and the EU.”

The EaP Trade Helpdesk project manager Paul Kelly said: “We believe that that the activities of the project will be one step towards realizing the …[export]… potential of Georgia, connecting local exporters to markets both within the region and with the European Union.

The Trade Helpdesk will centralize detailed information including trade statistics, export potential data, tariffs, preferential trade agreements and related documentation, export and import regulations and business contacts. Presenting this information through an easy-to-use online portal will enable Georgian enterprises to have access to comprehensive regional trade intelligence and links to EU information resources, supporting them in their efforts to increase their exports.”

For more information about the project please contact:

Mr. Paul Kelly, project manager, pkelly@intracen.org

Visit the project page on ITC website https://www.intracen.org/EaP/

About ITC - The International Trade Centre is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. ITC assists small and medium-sized enterprises in developing and transition economies to become more competitive in global markets, thereby contributing to sustainable economic development within the frameworks of the Aid-for-Trade agenda and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

About EU4Business - EU4Business is an EU initiative that helps SMEs in the six countries of the Eastern Partnership region to realise their full potential and boost economic growth.

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