London Southside Chamber of Commerce

Phone: 020 8677 6719

Tbilisi, Georgia

Date: Saturday, April 6, 2013 - Thursday, April 11, 2013

Delegates enjoyed a formal reception at the British Embassy, where they were welcomed by His Excellency the Ambassador David Moran.

Following a meeting at the Georgian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, chaired by its Director, Ms Nino Chikovani, delegates were invited to a reception at the Ambassador's Official Residence where they met Georgian government and British Foreign Office officials and local business people.

A number of high level individual business appointments were arranged with Georgian businesses. The group then travelled by coach to Georgia's second main city and former capital, Kutaisi, where they were received in the Town Hall by the Mayor, Head of Economic Service and local councillors.

Mr Naseem Bajwa of Bajwa & Co Ltd commented, "I have recently joined London Southside Chamber of Commerce and am very happy that I did so. This was my first Trade Visit with them and it provided a fantastic opportunity to develop the client base for my law practice. I will be returning to Georgia in a couple of month's time to further develop the contacts made. The Trade Missions jointly organised by the two chambers are an excellent way to develop trade links between the UK and other countries.".

In addition to the business element, members of the group were able to explore Tblisi and visit other parts of this beautiful country.

Situated at the crossroads where Europe meets Asia, Georgia has a unique and ancient cultural heritage, and is famed for its traditions of hospitality and cuisine. For centuries it was fought over by Persia, Turkey and Russia before being annexed by Russia in the 19th century. It declared independence in 1991.

As an integral part of the Soviet Union, Georgian trade used to be conducted almost exclusively within the USSR with 95.7% of its exports and 72.3% of its imports coming from trade with other Soviet republics.

Following independence the country had to find new trading partners because most of the former Soviet republics were poor and it did not wish to rely on Russia. Trade with the EU and Turkey has now replaced much of the former trade with Russia, and Germany is currently Georgia's largest trading partner among the EU member states. HSBC and BP are the largest investors with UK links and there are a number of UK entrepreneurs involved in a wide variety of markets.

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