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Foreign direct investment important for Cyprus economic recovery

15 April, 2014

President of the Republic of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades has stressed that at the heart of the Government’s strategy for economic recovery, is the pursuance of Foreign Direct Investment, and to this end all steps are taken to ensure that a more effective and business-friendly environment is facilitated to every extent possible, adding that a series of facilitative measures have been adopted by the Government in this regard.

Speaking on Monday evening at a dinner with Abu Dhabi state officials and businessmen, the President said that the Government is strongly committed to further enhance Cyprus’ strategic advantages, as part of the wider effort to restructure and revitalise the economy and the banking system, ensuring that the country is a reliable partner to entrepreneurs and investors interested in expanding their operations to Cyprus and using it as a base to gain preferential access to key markets, including in Europe, Russia and Asia.

The President pledged that he and his government are committed and determined to further facilitate and enhance cooperation between Cyprus and the UAE and the businesspeople, in every possible way.

``This official visit is certainly timely, and demonstrates the importance my Government, and I personally, attach to concretely upgrading these ties. We are here to deepen and broaden our cooperation, particularly in the economic field``, he pointed out.

He went on to say that Cyprus may be a small country but the current transition in the economy ``offers a wealth of opportunities for growth and investment in an array of sectors such as energy, banks, shipping, tourism, stock exchange, large scale development projects, as well as education and health``.

The President noted that key sectors of the economy, including tourism, shipping and business services,``have proved to be significantly more resilient than originally expected``.

``With determination, hard work, with the resilience and perseverance that characterises the Cypriot people, leaps of progress have been achieved``, he added.

The President in his speech referred to the positive reviews by the Troika of international lenders (EC, ECB and IMF) and the positive assessments by the rating agencies, pointing out that ``capital controls imposed following last year’s Eurogroup are gradually being lifted according to an agreed roadmap, leading soon to their full abolition``. He also emphasised the fact that fresh money is not subject to capital restrictions.

The President said that Cyprus offers a competitive tax system and a low 12.5% corporate tax rate, an extensive network of Double Tax Treaties, including with the United Arab Emirates, as well as excellent professional and financial services, an enhanced regulatory framework, a strategic geographic location, highly developed infrastructure, a variety of investment incentive schemes and a highly educated, qualified and multilingual workforce.

Referring to the privatisations plan, he said that the portfolio of businesses which are being considered for privatisation have the relevant profile to render them potentially attractive to international investors, such as funds based in the United Arab Emirates, pointing out that Cyprus could be the EU passport to banking, telecommunications and air transport.

In his speech, the President said that the discovery of natural gas reserves within Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone creates remarkable prospects for investment and cooperation in the energy sector and auxiliary services, and has created a new impetus in encouraging opportunities for cooperation between Cypriot and foreign businesses.

He also said that Cyprus remains a superb tourist destination, stressing that it is his Government’s priority to enrich and diversify the tourist product for Cyprus to be a year-round destination, adding that the year 2013 saw an overall increase in tourists of more than 9%.