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Saakashvili continues his US visit

By Mzia Kupunia
Thursday, September 23
Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili met the US business tycoon Donald Trump in New York on September 21 to discuss Trump’s investment plans in Georgia. According to Saakashvili’s administration press service, Trump Organization will construct Trump Tower in Georgia in partnership with the Georgian conglomerate Silk Road Group. No specific location for the construction has been selected so far, President’s press service reported. Presumably the project will be implemented in Tbilisi, Batumi or Bobokvati (Adjara Autonomous Republic on Black Sea coast), according to Saakashvili’s press center.

The US real estate mogul hailed the Georgian President at the meeting, saying that everyone talks about Saakashvili first and then about Georgia. Saakashvili responded with “everyone will talk about you [about Trump] when you invest in Georgia.” The President noted he is “glad” that Georgia is the first state in Eastern Europe where the American magnate is planning to invest.

Georgian Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development, Vera Kobalia, who attended the meeting with Donald Trump, described the agreement on constructing Trump Tower in Georgia as “very important.” “Trump is one of the most famous brands in the world and this name will bring more investments to Georgia in the future,” the Minister noted after the meeting.

On Tuesday Saakashvili visited the NASDAQ MarketSite in New York Times Square and rang the NASDAQ closing bell. The closing ceremony was preceded by a short presentation about Georgia, which was held by NASDAQ's Vice President Jameel Johnson and the Executive Vice President of NASDAQ Ed Knight. The latter briefly outlined the role of President Saakashvili in the reforms carried out in Georgia, as well as in combating corruption and in support of privatization process, Saakashvili’s press service reported. Knight called Saakashvili a “historic leader” who fulfilled “all of his pre-election promises” about defeating corruption, stabilizing the country’s economy, and orienting on free trade market and privatization.

NASDAQ Executive Vice President noted that during Saakashvili’s term in office, the government decreased and simplified taxes. “Georgia took fourth place in this respect in Forbes rating,” Knight said “World Bank included Georgia in the list of the countries with rapidly developing economies and in 2010 Georgia got 11th place in terms of business environment,” Ed Knight stated.

Saakashvili thanked Knight for the introduction, saying that “we get inspiration from you, but I want our country to become a source of inspiration for others as well.” Georgia used to be an “unsuccessful” state with “few opportunities”. “Later we advanced and not only became one of the first states in terms of easy business environment in the region, but we also possess important energy resources and we are one of the centers in the region in this direction,” Saakashvili noted “The states of Central Asia and Kaspian region have more oil and gas, however they do not have something that we have – less bureaucracy, low costs, criminal-free and corruption-free state,” he added.

USA and Georgia share the same values of free market and democracy, Saakashvili said during his speech at NASDAQ MarketSite. “Georgia is one of the friendliest states for the US not only because I used to study here, but because, for us, the US is the home of free market, democracy and all the values which are important for a freedom-loving nation,” the President noted, adding that Georgia wants to be a part of the world where it is known to be “open” for the rest of the world.

The speech of the Georgian President at the New York Stock Market indicates that Georgia is a successful state, Georgia’s Ambassador to US, Batu Kutelia said. “This is the recognition of Georgia’s economic and political reforms. Saakashvili’s address will cause the increase of Georgia’s popularity and the activation of business in the country,” Kutelia noted.

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili is expected to speak at the United Nations General Assembly plenary meeting on September 23.