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Georgia is a candidate for EU membership! This decision moved us one step closer to our historic aim. The Georgian Competition and Consumer Agency welcomes this major decision along with its 10-year anniversary date and news.


Adding the consumer right part to the name better represents the Agency's goal and primary responsibilities. The organizational structure altered as part of the internal reform, becoming more adaptable to new functions and statuses.


Addressing has increased, and the results of the implementation of the strengthened competition policy are reflected in the decisions. A full year has passed in terms of consumer rights protection, the first successful dumping case has been filed, and the reputation line has grown in the internal and international arenas, supported by an already established international conference and high-level speakers.


Last year, during the conference in Tbilisi, through the evaluation of the competition policy, a Professor of the George Washington University , an esteemed scholar in the field of competition, William Kovacic noted that it takes an average of 25 years to evaluate the effectiveness of the competition authorities, what benefits they brought to the consumer and the country's economy through their activities (supporting competition), although in Georgia The dynamics of development is impressive.


The Georgian Competition and Consumer Agency was established in 2014 under the auspices of the European Association Agreement (AA), and plays an important role in the European integration process. In the past 10 years, the Agency has gone through several stages of development. In 2020-2023, competition law was strengthened, and anti-dumping and consumer protection enforcement were added. The development process continues! Internal legal, regulatory, and operational documents are implemented with the assistance of European partners.


In 2023, the Agency closed eight investigation cases that involved three cartel topics - fuel, pharmacy, and online ticket markets. Violations were found in all three cases. In two reinvestigations, recommendations were issued to state administrative bodies. In one case, unfair competition was confirmed, while in the other, abuse of a dominance position was not established.


From last year's monitoring, market assessment of the supply/offer of insurance products in the process of realization of banking products was highly relevant. The assessment revealed potential risks of competition restriction. As a result, six mandatory recommendations were provided to the regulator to enhance market transparency and competitiveness.


In close collaboration with government bodies, the Agency is currently monitoring strategic markets for fuel, medicines, and grocery goods to detect any unfair behavior.


In close coordination with government Agencies, the agency is currently actively monitoring in the direction of fuel, and food products, so that the risk of any unscrupulous actions can be detected.


The effective control of company concentrations is continuing constantly. The implemented concentrations are monitored quarterly using data from the Public Registry, and in case of non-notification, appropriate proceedings are initiated. In 2023, we approved nine concentrations.


First case in the direction of dumping has been revealed. After the study began, the importer made price adjustments that were deemed fair by the local industry, leading to the termination of the investigation. The legislation passed the initial test fairly well. Presently, there are ongoing consultations with various local industries to evaluate the potential risks of dumping and its potential impact on the domestic market.


Consumer protection measures are active and functioning effectively. Consumers feel supported and empowered to report any violations made by traders. In most cases, resolutions are achieved through commitment agreement, where consumers receive a refund, replacement, repair or compensation as necessary, while traders adjust their policies to reduce the chance of future violations. In 2023, consumers received direct benefits of up to 500,000 GEL as a result of the Agency's active involvement. Taking into account the consumer's best interests, the Agency developed guidelines for traders, including price reference standard, consumer information standard, service delivery in state language, SMS advertisements and etc.


International cooperation is strengthening, as proven by the already-traditional International Conference on Competition and Consumer Protection, the week dedicated to International Consumer Day, and participation in the annual international platforms of the OECD, UNCTAD, and ICN, where results are presented and best practices shared. This year, Georgia became a partner of the International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network (ICPEN), which includes over 80 countries with best practices. We want to achieve full membership by 2024.


Last year, the Agency established a training research center. The center's goal is to continuously strengthen the Agency team's qualifications and raise awareness on competition and consumer rights among different segments of society. The objective is to work with academic institutions to develop various training modules.


The EU-funded TWINNING project is ongoing. Collaboration with Lithuanian and Austrian colleagues has been fruitful. Projects in organizational, communication, human resource management, functional analysis, and management efficiency were implemented with the assistance of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).


I would like to express traditional special thanks to the team of the Georgian Competition and Consumer Agency for their work, to the Government of Georgia, Economic Council, and the Parliament for their support. Want to thank counterpart state authorities, business and non-governmental sector, experts, media, international counterpart authorities and donors for active cooperation.


Irakli Lekvinadze
Chairman of the Georgian Competition and Consumer Agency