On 19 July 2017, at a trilateral high-level meeting between the heads of the Customs Administrations of Georgia, Azerbaijan and Turkey, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of Georgia, Dimitri Kumsishvili, stated: “Azerbaijan is the biggest investor in Georgia. In the last year alone, USD 500 million was invested from Azerbaijan in Georgia. The trade turnover between Georgia and Azerbaijan reaches USD 700 million. In regard to Turkey, this figure exceeds USD 1.5 billion. The flow of passengers from each of these countries is over 1,400,000. Therefore, it is important to facilitate trade, the growth of passenger flow and, in the end, the implementation of modern customs procedures between our countries.”
FactCheck took interest in the accuracy of the statement.
According to the data of the National Statistics Office of Georgia, USD 550 million was invested from Azerbaijan in Georgia as foreign direct investment whilst the amount of investments reached USD 578 million in 2016. In both of these years, Azerbaijan was the biggest investor in Georgia. According to the data for the first quarter of 2017, Azerbaijan is ranked 1st among our investor countries. According to the preliminary data, USD 97 million was invested from Azerbaijan in Georgia in the first quarter of 2017. A significant amount of investments from Azerbaijan is mostly stipulated by the Shadeniz-2 gas pipeline.
According to the information of the National Statistics Office of Georgia, the country’s largest trade partners are: Turkey, Russia, China, Azerbaijan, Germany, Ukraine, Armenia, Italy and the USA (Table 1). In 2016, the total export-import turnover with Azerbaijan was almost USD 645 million whilst trade turnover with Turkey exceeded USD 1.5 billion.
Table 1: Georgia’s Largest Trade Partner Countries According to 2016 Trade Turnover, USD Million
Source: National Statistics Office of Georgia
According to the data of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the total amount of visitors from Turkey in 2016 was 1,256,561 whilst from Azerbaijan – 1,523,703. In 2010-2016, the five largest countries in terms of visitors to Georgia were – Ukraine, the Russian Federation, Turkey, Azerbaijan and Armenia.
Table 2: Top Five Countries in Terms of Number of Visitors, 2011-2016
Source: Information-Analytical Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs
According to the data for 2015-2016 and the first quarter of 2017, Azerbaijan is still the largest investor in Georgia. In 2016, over USD 578 million was invested from Azerbaijan. In 2016, the trade turnover with Azerbaijan reached USD 645 million whilst this figure was USD 1,526 million with Turkey. The total amount of visitors from Azerbaijan was 1,523,703 in 2016 whilst the total number of visitors from Turkey was 1,256,561.
Hence, FactCheck concludes that Dimitri Kumsishvili’s statement is TRUE.