Thursday, October 02, 2008

After The War Comes The Opportunity

It is no surprise to learn that the American government is lining up potential investors in Georgia:

The US Department of Commerce is working with two private American-Georgian business associations to stage a trade summit in Tbilisi in late October. The initiative is part of a general effort to bolster investor confidence in Georgia.

The Bush administration has been a leading backer of Georgia as the Caucasus country rebuilds following Russia’s August invasion. The US Congress has already approved an administration-sponsored aid package worth as much as $1 billion. The idea for the business summit reportedly came from the "highest level" in Washington, and it is seen as a means to stimulate private-sector interest in Georgia’s economic recovery.

While the guest list for the summit has not been publicly released, organizers note that some Fortune 500 companies, as well as large private equity firms, have expressed an intention to attend. According to a partial list of confirmed companies made available to EurasiaNet, investors are considering multi-million dollar projects in several sectors including hydro-power production, power transmission, wind energy, hospitals and wine. The summit will be chaired by Deputy Commerce Secretary John Sullivan. In addition to organizing the Tbilisi summit, the US Trade Office is pushing Congress to expand Georgia’s eligibility for duty-free imports to the United States.

According to Tamara Koziridze, a deputy economic minister, the Georgian government is "hoping" that summit will bring new investment into the country. "We hope very much it will be productive in the sense that companies with a real interest in Georgia will participate and will have sufficient follow up," Kovziridze said.

What a fantastic opportunity for corporate America. Multi-million dollar contracts will be signed, huge swathes of the Georgian economy will be handed over to American companies and American hegemony in the region will be confirmed. It's almost like the US wanted Georgia (one of the fastest growing ecnomies in the region) to start a war it was bound to lose if only to pick up the pieces and have a tasty slice of future growth with the aid of a neo-conservative, anti-democratic Georgian leader. Good work chaps.