Georgia shipped US$3.4 billion worth of products around the globe in 2018. That figure represents roughly 0.02% of overall global exports estimated at $19.228 trillion one year earlier (as estimated at June 2019).
Applying a continental lens, about half (50.2%) of Georgian exports by value were delivered to Asian countries while 43.2% are sold to importers in fellow European nations. Georgia shipped another 5% worth of goods to North America, with 0.9% arriving in Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean plus another 0.6% going to Africa.
Georgia’s Top 15 Trading Partners
Below is a list showcasing 15 of Georgia’s top trading partners, countries that imported the most Georgian shipments by dollar value during 2018. Also shown is each import country’s percentage of total Georgian exports.
- Azerbaijan: US$502.7 million (15% of Georgia’s total exports)
- Russia: $437.3 million (13%)
- Armenia: $285 million (8.5%)
- Bulgaria: $258.9 million (7.7%)
- Turkey: $232.7 million (6.9%)
- China: $198 million (5.9%)
- Ukraine: $175 million (5.2%)
- United States: $160 million (4.8%)
- Kazakhstan: $90.8 million (2.7%)
- Uzbekistan: $80.5 million (2.4%)
- Switzerland: $77.5 million (2.3%)
- Iran: $74.2 million (2.2%)
- Spain: $61.8 million (1.8%)
- Romania: $57.8 million (1.7%)
- Germany: $51.4 million (1.5%)
Over four-fifths (81.6%) of Georgian exports during 2018 were delivered to the above 15 trade partners.
Azerbaijan increased its products purchased from Georgia at the fastest pace via an 84.7% increase from 2017 to 2018. Other leading gains for these top 15 customers belong to Kazakhstan (up 75.4%), Ukraine (up 40.6%) Bulgaria (up 38.5%), Armenia (up 35.5%) then the United States (up 31.3%).
Three leading importers cut back on their purchases of goods exported from Georgia namely Romania (down -23.2%), Iran (down -2.9%) and China (down -1.8%).
Overall Georgia incurred a -$5.8 billion trade deficit during 2018, up 10.7% from -$5.2 billion one year earlier.
As defined by Investopedia, a country whose total value of all imported goods is higher than its value of all exports is said to have a negative trade balance or deficit.
It would be unrealistic for any exporting nation to expect across-the-board positive trade balances with all its importing partners. Similarly, that export country doesn’t necessarily post a negative trade balance with each individual partner with which it exchanges exports and imports.
Georgia incurred the highest trade deficits with the following countries.
- Turkey: -US$1.2 billion (country-specific trade deficit in 2018)
- China: -$635.6 million
- Russia: -$498.4 million
- Germany: -$379.4 million
- Ukraine: -$340.6 million
- France: -$218 million
- United States: -$199.7 million
- Italy: -$188.2 million
- Belgium: -$183.9 million
- Netherlands: -$159 million
Among Georgia’s trading partners that cause the greatest negative trade balances, Georgian deficits with Belgium (up 220.8%), France (up 102.2%) and Netherlands (up 38.1%) grew at the fastest pace from 2017 to 2018.
These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate Georgia’s competitive disadvantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for Georgia to develop country-specific strategies to strengthen its overall position in international trade.
Based on Investopedia’s definition of net importer, a country whose total value of all imported goods is lower than its value of all exports is said to have a positive trade balance or surplus.
Georgia incurred the highest trade surpluses with the following countries
- Bulgaria: US$77.4 million (country-specific trade surplus in 2018)
- Uzbekistan: $71.4 million
- Kazakhstan: $32.1 million
- Kyrgyzstan: $25.8 million
- Iraq: $20.5 million
- Malta: $14.2 million
- Switzerland: $11.5 million
- Peru: $9.4 million
- Lithuania: $6.7 million
- Tajikistan: $6.6 million
Among Georgia’s trading partners that generate the greatest positive trade balances, Georgian surpluses with Bulgaria (up 147.2%), Kyrgyzstan (up 248.0%) and Peru (up 139.1%) grew at the fastest pace from 2017 to 2018. In addition, Georgia’s trade with Lithuania went from a -$10.4 million deficit in 2017 to a $6.7 million surplus one year later.
These positive cashflow streams clearly indicate Georgia’s competitive advantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for Georgia to develop country-specific strategies to optimize its overall position in international trade.
Companies Servicing Georgian Trading Partners
Given the country’s tiny size, it should come as no surprise that not one Georgian corporation ranks among Forbes Global 2000.
Wikipedia does list a group of Georgian companies which gives some insight into the types of exports shipped from Georgia. Selected examples are shown below:
- Badagoni Wine Company (wine producer)
- Georgian Industrial Group (energy products)
- Kutaisi Auto Mechanical Plant (trucks, automotive parts)
- MagtiCom Ltd (telecommunications)
- JSC RMG Copper (copper, gold)
- Rustavi Steel (steel products)
- JSC Tbilaviamsheni (aerospace products)
- Wissol Petroleum (oil, gas)
See also Georgia’s Top 10 Exports and Top EU Export Countries
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on January 22, 2019
Investopedia, Net Importer Definition. Accessed on January 22, 2019
The World Factbook, Field Listing: Imports – Commodities, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on January 22, 2019
Trade Map, International Trade Centre, www.intracen.org/marketanalysis. Accessed on June 27, 2019
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Georgia (country). Accessed on January 22, 2019