Cyprus and Finland signed an agreement on Thursday in Nicosia for the avoidance of double taxation, with both sides pointing out its significance for facilitating investments and strengthening bilateral ties.
The agreement was signed by Cypriot Minister of Finance Vasos Shiarly and Ambassador of Finland in Nicosia Anu Saarela, at the Ambassador`s residence.
Speaking at the ceremony, Saarela noted that the agreement was a significant step and Shiarly pointed out that it would be mutually beneficial.
"This is a significant step, indeed it is a milestone after long negotiations. We look forward to strengthening bilateral economic ties with Cyprus and this agreement will be a concrete tool in facilitating investments and economic ties between our countries," Saarela said.
She noted that "removing the obstacles that double taxation presents to economic activity is the most important objective of this agreement" and expressed hope that "business communities in both our countries will use the opportunities that this agreement, once it is in force, will give us."
Saarela said the agreement would also "strengthen ties between our authorities" and pointed out that "the expectation is that both our parliaments will approve the agreement in the course of next year so the implementation will start as of 2014."
"It is really gratifying to note that the ties between Cyprus and Finland are excellent. We have no problems. This year we have witnessed a record number of visits between our countries. Also the Cypriot Presidency has brought numerous Ministers and high level officials to your beautiful country," she added, noting that the Finnish Minister of Finance was in Cyprus in September and had "very good talks."
She furthermore said that the agreement would "add a new, very positive element to our relations and will further strengthen our ties."
Saarela pointed out that "right now we are experiencing challenging times" and that Cyprus is "very attractive" to Finns, and expressed hope that "Cyprus will find Finland an attractive business partner."
"There are many sectors that have a very positive outlook right now and we hope that we can share our strengths and utilise our opportunities," she added.
Shiarly confirmed everything the Ambassador said and noted that "it has been a long discussion on the issue and we are delighted that we have managed to come to this stage where we have an agreement to sign this evening, a double tax agreement, which will obviously facilitate the relationship between our two countries even further from the very good standing where they are today, including the economic relationship, but also the diplomatic area, where we have enjoyed a very good relationship and this enables us to take one further step in that direction."
"It is a mutually beneficial agreement and this is the important thing. It is an agreement from which both sides will benefit. It is a taxation agreement, which opens up transparency between the two countries and the people of those two countries, be they individuals or corporations who wish to trade and do business with each other. It creates transparency, which is very, very important," he said, adding that there is a clause in the agreement, which "enables the exchange of information and this is very, very important, I believe, to both our countries."
He also said that "we are holding the Presidency of the European Council for the last five months and we are going on to the sixth month any day, and we have a very good relationship and what we are doing today is yet another step in sealing that good relationship."
Furthermore, Shiarly thanked the Ambassador and the Finnish Minister of Finance "for the assistance that we have been getting throughout."