Georgia, country, Asia: Economy


Agriculture is an important occupation in Georgia, whose warmer districts produce large quantities of citrus fruits and tea; wine grapes, hazelnuts, tobacco, rice, and mulberry trees (for silk) are also grown. Sheep, pigs, and poultry are raised. Georgia is rich in minerals, notably manganese (mined mostly at Chiatura and in Imeritia) and copper; iron ore, coal, tungsten, barites, molybdenum, oil, and peat are also found. There are sizable deposits of marble, dolomite, talc, and clays for use in construction.

As part of the Soviet Union, Georgia had a large and varied industrial sector. Many industries collapsed after independence, and economic redevelopment has been hindered by warfare, corruption, and the effects of Russia's economic troubles. Today, there is food and beverage processing and the manufacture of steel, aircraft, machine tools, electrical appliances, chemicals, and wood products. The Black Sea shore is dotted with resorts and spas that attract numerous tourists, and tourism has become one of the most significant sectors of Georgia's economy. The construction of oil and gas pipelines from the Caspian Sea through Tbilisi to E Turkey have brought foreign investment and job opportunities. The Black Sea coast railway, the line from Batumi through Tbilisi to Bakı; the Georgian Military Road; and the Ossetian Military Road are the country's main transportation arteries. Georgia's sizable hydropower capacity is underdeveloped and it must import the bulk of its fuel. The chief exports are scrap metal, machinery, chemicals, fuel reexports, citrus fruits, tea, and wine. The main imports are fuels, machinery, transportation equipment, grain and other foods, and pharmaceuticals. The chief trade partners are Russia, Turkey, and Azerbaijan.

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