Cyprus, despite the financial crisis, can offer foreign and local investors an excellent platform for export trade, President Demetris Christofias has said.
Addressing a ceremony for the 2011 Export Awards, Christofias said the government aims at "creating an economy with solid foundations capable of withstanding the shocks from the broad financial recession facing Cyprus as a result of the impunity of the banks and the impact of the financial crisis."
The President said that exports of products and services acquire even greater value for the island`s open economy, "given the vortex caused by the global financial crisis and the current economic downturn."
The Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, Neoklis Sylikiotis said exports in goods in the first ten months of 2012 increased by 2%, while exports in services in the six months of 2012 accelerated by 5% year on year, reaching approximately €3 billion compared with 2.8 billion in €2011.
Sylikiotis said that emphasis is given on restructuring Cyprus production base focusing on production specialization, the technological upgrade of manufacturing, quality, more effective trade and promotion, flexibility with a strategic aim of shielding the competitiveness.
The Commerce Minister highlighted Cyprus` prospects in the field of energy, given the resources discovered in the island`s Exclusive Economic Zone.
US Noble Energy which has a contract for Cyprus` block 12 has discovered an estimated natural gas reserve of 5 to 8 trillion cubic feet (Tcf), with a gross mean of 7 Tcf. Furthermore, on January 24 Cyprus signed production-sharing contracts with ENI/KOGAS consortium for hydrocarbons exploration in blocks 2,3 and 9 in the EEZ of Cyprus as a truly historic moment for our country, while two new more contracts are expected to be signed tomorrow with French energy heavyweight TOTAL.
"Today the energy sector constitutes one of the most dynamically developing sectors worldwide and could place Cyprus on the global energy and investment map. In this context our country can utilize its rich natural resources, exploiting a great comparative advantage with the extraction and export in foreign markets of a much needed product," Sylikiotis said.
On his part, Phedias Pelides, President of the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that Cyprus should be prepared for the next day of the financial crisis, noting that the economies which will exploit new opportunities after the crisis will be those to remain in a growth trajectory.
"Our country is at a difficult crossroads. The signing of the memorandum seems to be the only realistic solution for us so we could exit the crisis," he said.
Excluded from the international capital markets Cyprus requested financial assistance from the European Stability Fund after its two largest banks sought state support following massive write-downs of the Greek sovereign bond holdings. The Cypriot authorities agreed in principle on a memorandum of understanding on an assistance programme estimated at €17.5 billion.
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