Georgia, on the Black Sea, had this message for Hong Kong businessmen: register your business, open a bank account and get going. It only takes a day.
The message came from the country's Deputy Minister for Economy and Sustainable Development, Genadi Arveladze, after signing a free-trade agreement with Hong Kong last week.
Genadi, in an interview with Bastille Post, said in Georgia the registration process for overseas companies is very fast and convenient. All public services related to business and investment are concentrated in the same place.
"You can complete business registration within an hour, opening a bank account within a few minutes, opening for business in one day!" He said.
Genadi said that "efficiency" is a key to encouraging business.
Georgia currently ranks 121st among Kong Kong's trading partners. But Hong Kong is ranked 26th in Georgia, with total trade between the two entities topping HK$320 million in 2017.
Genadi said the SAR government would be sending businessmen to the country to strengthen trade ties.
Genadi said Georgia has a potential on transportation and infrastructure development. He hopes companies from Hong Kong and mainland China would invest and provide professional services in his country.
He described Georgia's investment environment as very good.
Georgia sits at the eastern part of the Black Sea on the southern flanks of the Greater Caucasus Mountains.
Located on the Silk Road Economic Belt under the Belt and Road Initiative, the country is a logistics and transshipment corridor for the Caucasus and Central Asia, he said.
The cross-border railway linking Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey opened last year to consolidate Georgia's role as a transit hub for Europe and Asia under the Belt and Road Initiative.
"We hope to have more Chinese goods to be shipped to Europe via Georgia!" The official exclaimed.
Genadi said the Georgian government has introduced new tax incentives to overseas companies since last year to encourage business operations and investments.
When the free trade agreement with Hong Kong comes into effect, Georgia will eliminate import tariffs on 96.6 per cent of its tariff lines for Hong Kong's originating goods.
On trade in services, the agreement opens the doors of markets for service sectors including financial, wholesale and retailing, construction, transport and publishing.
Georgia has signed free trade agreements with neighboring countries such as Ukraine, Belarus, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Russia, Moldova, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Turkey. It has also concluded the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement with the European Union.