Parliament, with its first reading, approved on May 25 with 106 to 9 votes, a proposal giving the green light to free economic zones in Georgia.
The draft law on “Free Industrialized Zones” says that a zone, which should cover at least 10 hectares, can be established on the initiative of the Georgian government, a legal entity or a private individual. Companies operating in the zone will be exempt from profit and property tax and VAT. Goods exported from the zone or sent to other parts of Georgia will also be exempt from customs dues.
The draft law does not specify where the zones will be set up. But the president’s parliamentary secretary, Dimitri Kitoshvili, told lawmakers that the ports of Poti and Batumi, as well as Tbilisi airport, were the most likely sites.
He also said that Free Industrial Zones would boost economic growth, promote employment and develop infrastructure in the affected areas.
Most opposition lawmakers, however, opposed the proposal, citing the authorities' failure to provide sufficient justification.