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President calls on UAE businessmen to invest in Cyprus

16 April, 2014

Οpportunities for growth exist in the majority of economic sectors of Cyprus, President Nicos Anastasiades told a Business Forum in Dubai on Wednesday, attended by members of the United Arab Emirates’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Cyprus Investment Promotion Agency and the Cyprus-GCC Business Association.

“Especially today, the discovery of natural gas reserves within Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone creates excellent investment prospects in the energy sector and ancillary services,” Anastasiades noted, adding that “the emerging oil and gas industry to be created on the island is expected to provide a significant boost to our economy, spearheading significant growth and driving numerous other sectors as well.”

The President invited UAE businessmen to explore the ways to invest in Cyprus and to cooperate with Cypriot businesses, taking full advantage of the many opportunities offered in most sectors of our economy, which will be further detailed in the upcoming presentations.

Noting that Cyprus and the United Arab Emirates have traditionally enjoyed friendly relations, he emphasized that the Government of Cyprus is committed to further facilitating and enhancing cooperation between our countries and our business communities in every possible way.

“The importance my Government attaches to this end is demonstrated by the fact that I am accompanied by the Minister of Finance, the Minister of Energy, Commerce, Industry and Tourism, and the Deputy Minister to the President. They are all here to explore ways and means of cooperation with their counterparts,” he said.

He expressed confidence that strengthening bilateral relations at all levels and in all sectors will benefit both people. “We aim to ensure that this shared vision is realized. To this end for example, we are constantly working on upgrading the operations of the Cyprus Embassy in Abu Dhabi, as well as the Cyprus Trade Center and the Office of the Cyprus Tourism Organisation in Dubai,” he noted.

Anastasiades stressed once again that “attracting foreign investment is a top priority for my Government,” noting that Cyprus, despite the difficulties created by last year’s Eurogroup Agreement, is making leaps of progress.

He referred to the three positive reviews by the Troika on the implementation of the economic reforms, noting at the same time that “the Cyprus economy received its first upgrade in November by Standard & Poor’s following three years of successive downgrades, whereas the forecast for a quick recovery and return to growth as early as 2015 is supported by Troika’s own predictions.”

“We have improved supervision of our financial sector and we have restructured our banks. As a result, capital controls imposed following last year’s Eurogroup are gradually being lifted according to an agreed road map, leading soon to their full abolition,” he added, emphasizing that “fresh money is not subject to capital restrictions. It is worth noting that growth in 2013 exceeded Troika’s expectations while Cyprus is praised by the EU as a model for economic recovery. Cyprus is succeeding and it means business.”

The President pointed out that as a full EU member state Cyprus enjoys all the benefits that EU membership offers. “Moreover, Cyprus offers access to the European market as well as the certainty and credibility of the EU’s regulatory system. It has a low 12,5% corporate tax rate, an extensive network of Double Tax Treaties and a services-based economy designed to offer ease of doing business and to cater for the needs of enterprises wishing to expand and operate in Europe, the Middle East, the Gulf States, Africa and Asia. Additionally, our lawyers, accountants, auditors and other professionals remain among the highest qualified in the world, efficiently working within a highly competitive tax system and an effective and transparent regulatory and legal framework, based on the Common Law and fully harmonized with EU laws and regulations,” he said, according to an official press release.

At the same time, he continued, and in building on Cyprus’ unique cluster of expertise in various industry segments, even current economic challenges are being utilized as a tool to enhance further the country’s long established reputation as a centre of excellence for international investment and business activities.

He went on to say that “through the repositioning and development of the various economic sectors, the introduction of structural changes and the significant reductions achieved in costs and operating expenses, the already attractive investment destination that Cyprus is, now becomes considerably more competitive and efficient.”

Anastasiades said that within this context, the Government is currently implementing a series of measures aimed at reducing bureaucracy and encouraging doing business in Cyprus. These include the total overhaul of procedures for the speedier issuing of permits and licensing of projects, as well as the granting of residence permits and citizenship to foreign investors.

“What is most important is that opportunities for growth exist in the majority of economic sectors of Cyprus. Especially today, the discovery of natural gas reserves within Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone creates excellent investment prospects in the energy sector and ancillary services. Not surprisingly, the emerging oil and gas industry to be created on the island is expected to provide a significant boost to our economy, spearheading significant growth and driving numerous other sectors as well.”