Georgia - ECommerceGeorgia - ECommerce
E‐commerce is gaining a foothold, although Internet penetration remains rather limited (over 60 percent penetration across the country, with higher rates in Tbilisi), but is increasing, especially with mobile Internet usage. In April 2015, the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia selected a project implement, Open Net, to provide fiber-optic cables system across the country ensuring high-speed internet for 2,000 settlements in Georgia. The company has completed a feasibility study and is currently working with the private sector and the Ministry of Economy to develop the best way to implement the system. By the end of 2019, high-speed internet should be available throughout the country. This initiative will play an important role in Georgia’s socio-economic development.
Credit card penetration is also increasing rapidly. As of April 2017 there were 8.5 million debit cards and 0.7 million credit cards issued across Georgia’s population of 3.7 million people. Cardholders can pay public utilities electronically and purchase goods. Electronic payment of utilities is widespread through a growing network of electronic payment kiosks, particularly in larger cities. Electronic transactions over the last 4 years have increased significantly. For example, in March 2017, Georgian residents carried out 14.4 million transactions by payment cards worth $630 million , 96 percent of which being in-country transactions.
There are no major buying holidays for e-commerce specifically, except black Friday, since most apparel and consumer goods shopping is done from U.S. sources, such as amazon.com. Other popular e-commerce sites are Alibaba, Aliexpress, Ebay, etc. Preferred payment methods include credit/debit card payments or PayPal.
Georgia is harmonizing the electronic flow of information among key players in logistics, shipping and transport industries by launching the Trade Facilitation System (TFS). The TFS enables traders, customs brokers, freight forwarders, shipping lines and other players in international trade to submit information through a single entry point.
Georgia’s Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development (MoESD) is currently engaged in developing a draft law on e-Commerce. The adoption of the EU e-Commerce Directive is part of the Georgian government’s commitment under the Association Agreement. The Law on e-Commerce will regulate the rights and obligations of intermediary service providers in the e-commerce process, as well as protect consumers by making information services more transparent and standardized. USAID is assisting the government through its G4G program, by providing expert opinion on the draft. USAID’s experts reviewed the draft based on EU Directive as well as the laws of several EU member states and provided recommendations. G4G is also helping the MoESD in organizing public discussions with stakeholders from public and private sector around the draft law in order to make the lawmaking process transparent and successful. The adoption of the Law is planned for the 2017.
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