Free trade, the European Union, and the EBRD

By Christopher  Booth

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The prospect of free trade with the European Union offers many new opportunities to businesses in Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.

The three countries signed Association Agreements with the EU that foresee the establishment of a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) between each country and the EU.

This development is expected to provide businesses and the economy - from farming to the IT sector - with a vital boost. The EBRD is providing finance to small and medium-sized enterprises in all three countries, supported by the EU with a risk-sharing model.

“The DCFTA creates unique opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises in Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova to export to the EU, with stable and predictable preferential access to the largest market in the world,” said Johannes Hahn, EU Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations.

These projects are part of a wide range of activities to support the private sector to make the most of the free trade area with the EU. They include providing local entrepreneurs with the necessary know-how to grow their business, training local partner banks and improving the business environment through policy dialogue with relevant government authorities.

With its local presence and 25 years of experience of working to develop the private sector in the three countries, the EBRD is strongly positioned to successfully promote this project. The Bank is the largest institutional investor in the three countries and has invested €2.7 billion in Georgia, €1.1 billion in Moldova and €11.7 billion in Ukraine.

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