Identify common practices a company needs to be aware of when selling in your market.
American goods enjoy an excellent reputation. Price is usually the consumer’s principal factor in purchasing decisions. Local entrepreneurs often request concessionary payment terms or credit. American exporters should be wary of extending credit before establishing a long and satisfactory trading history with a customer, as well as limiting exposure. Cash in advance or the use of irrevocable letters of credit through a reputable local correspondent bank is advised. Enforcement of contractual rights by the local court system remains uneven.
Trade Promotion and Advertising
The Advertising Law sets advertising standards in Georgia. Advertisements must be in Georgian, and trademarks in a foreign language need to be accompanied with Georgian text. Pharmaceutical and medical equipment advertising requires a permit from the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Social Affairs. Advertising of firearms—including firearms used for sport—requires special permission from the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Alcohol and cigarette advertising is also subject to restrictions in the Advertising Law. Municipalities supervise and monitor compliance with the Advertising Law.
There are several advertising agencies in Georgia, but businesses usually contact television, press, and radio advertising agencies directly. Georgian broadcasters successfully switched from analogue to digital in 2015, a change which advertisers have had to keep pace with.
The Tbilisi-based Georgian Public Broadcaster includes Channel 1 and Channel 2, as well as the Batumi-based Adjara TV, and the State Budget funds all three. There are also several independent commercial television broadcasters, including: Imedi, Rustavi 2, Pirveli TV, Mtavari Arkhi, Formula, POSTV, Maestro, Kavkasia, Georgian Dream Studios (GDS), Obiektivi, AltInfo and a small Russian-language operator TOK TV. With the exception of GDS, these broadcasters and web-based television outlets that carry the news. The Georgian Orthodox Church also operates a satellite-based television station called Unanimity. There are 26 regional television broadcasters across Georgia that are members of the Georgian Association of Regional Broadcasters and/or the Alliance of Georgian Broadcasters. The broadcaster organizations seek to strengthen the regional media’s capacities and distribution of regional products.
The major newspapers include the weekly newspaper Kviris Palitra, weekly tabloids Asaval-Dasavali and Kviris Qronika, the daily tabloids Alia, Akhali Taoba, and Resonansi. Georgia Today, The Messenger, the Georgian Journal, and the Georgian Times are English language publications. Major analytical magazines—no longer in print but available online—are the weekly Tabula, Batumelebi, Publika [formerly Liberali], and Southern Gates [in Georgian-Armenian Samkretis Karibche – SKNews]. Major online publications include Netgazeti [in Georgian-Russian], Interpressnews, OC Media [in English-Russian], ambebi.ge, Accents, agenda.ge, ghn.ge, Civil.ge, On.ge, Jnews [in Armenian-Georgian-Russian] iFact.ge [in Georgian-English], BM.ge, Sakinformi.ge, and DFWatch.
Major periodicals are Forbes Georgia, The Georgian Business Week (in Russian and English), Bank and Finance, Banki Plus, Finance, Macro-Micro Economics, and Economics (in Georgian and English). The Association of Regional Publishers is based in Tbilisi and was founded by regional newspapers. The American Chamber of Commerce in Georgia publishes the bimonthly Investor.ge magazine in English.
Expo Georgia, a local exhibition and conference center, also offers online advertising services including banner placement and links on its website.
Because of limited consumer purchasing power, price is the primary factor driving sales. In a sector where American exporters do not enjoy a technological advantage, there is significant price competition from low‐cost suppliers in Turkey, Iran, and East Asia. Imports of taxable goods and taxable operations at every stage are subject to an 18 percent VAT.
Sales Service/Customer Support
A growing number of official distributors and individual retailers offer delivery and installation services, as well as issue their own warranties on big‐ticket items, usually for up to one or two years. American firms entering the Georgian market should consider the logistics of supporting their products in-country.
Local Professional Services
The Political and Economic Section of the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi offers a range of assistance to American firms interested in developing market opportunities or increasing their business in Georgia. There are number of private consulting firms that offer market research or legal support to foreign companies. The American Chamber of Commerce in Georgia, International Chamber of Commerce, or Georgia’s Chamber of Commerce are also instrumental for new market entrants.
Principal Business Associations
Several business associations operate in Georgia and some accept U.S. company members. Business associations in Georgia include the American Chamber of Commerce in Georgia, Georgian Chamber of Industry and Trade, Georgia Business Association, and International Chamber of Commerce. Contact the organizations directly to determine membership eligibility requirements. Some of the business organizations regularly meet with the Prime Minister as part of the Prime Minister’s Investor’s Council (IC). The IC meets regularly to discuss issues that are concerning to the business community.
Limitations on Selling U.S. Products and Services
No limitations known.