question about the event
Ambassador Degnan: I am very excited to be attending the 25th Annual American Georgian Business Council Conference. It honors 30 years of diplomatic relations between Georgia and the United States. We have much to celebrate as we look back on what we have achieved together. We are also very excited for what is to come and for all the work we are doing now with Georgian companies, with our Georgian partners and with the Georgian government to continue the good work and progress that Georgia has made over the past few years 20 years has seen. 30 years. The United States has contributed to the progress in Georgia’s economic development in many ways, but also tried to create opportunities to create good jobs for Georgians, improve the health care system, modernize the education system, and help strengthen democratic institutions Georgian people for a Euro-Atlantic future.
In our view, a strong economy and a strong democracy are the best way to bring to Georgia the stability, security and prosperity that the Georgian people have repeatedly professed and which we believe the Georgian people deserve. Therefore, we are very pleased with the results of cooperation and cooperation between American companies and Georgian companies over the past few decades, which have led to real improvements in the quality of life for many Georgians. But we don’t want to stop there. There’s more to do. There are more Georgians who deserve to have the opportunities that progress brings. Our aid in the United States is designed to reach out to Georgians in rural areas or smaller towns and villages to help them realize their bright ideas, help them get their businesses off the ground, and help them do it to create good jobs and opportunities . We are therefore looking forward to the coming years and a continuation of the close partnership that we have maintained with Georgia for decades.
Question about direct flights and free trade between Georgia and the United States
Ambassador Degnan: I think anyone who has ever flown to Georgia from the United States knows how wonderful it would be to have a direct flight. It’s something that’s been discussed for a while. There has been some progress, especially pre-COVID, and I think discussions are starting again. The travel industry has been seriously affected by COVID. I’m not sure where this discussion is happening and what the economics of the problem is when we look at the post-COVID travel industry. It would certainly be an important bridge between the United States and Georgia. I’ve said many times that it’s sometimes difficult to convince people in the US to come to Georgia for the first time because it seems so far away. But you never have trouble getting them to come back the second time after experiencing the Georgian hospitality. The Free Trade Agreement is an area handled by the US Trade Representative, not the State Department. I know this was brought up with them many times, that they saw it as another important bridge between the United States and Georgia. A feasibility study was already carried out in 2018, so there is interest in pursuing it. I think the main thing is how quickly we could get to that given the other things the US Trade Representative is working on right now. We continue to suggest that it’s worth considering because we’re always looking for ways to build on the strong partnership between Georgia and the United States and to expand the relationships we’ve had to attract more American companies to Georgia and beyond Georgian companies to the United States. I think this is good for both our countries.