United States and the Republic of Cyprus set to expand bilateral trade and investment, US Ambassador tells conference
November 30, 2020
The United States is ready to expand bilateral trade and investment with the Republic of Cyprus, according to the US Ambassador to Cyprus, who said that security co-operation between the two countries “has never been stronger”.
Speaking during a video conference organized by Invest Cyprus , alongside the Cyprus Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Christodoulides and Finance Minister Constantinos Petrides and, the US Ambassador Judith Garber called on US investors to explore business opportunities in Cyprus, saying the US was working with the Republic on an ‘action plan’ to enhance bilateral trade.
“While the US and Republic of Cyprus continue to expand our security partnership, our partnership cannot fully blossom without a parallel increase in public and private sector economic ties,” Ambassador Garber said.
“The United States and Republic of Cyprus, to an unprecedented degree, are working toward together for peace and stability in the eastern Mediterranean region and our security cooperation in particular has never been stronger. This year, the United States took several important steps to enhance our bilateral security operation with the Republic of Cyprus and we welcomed numerous high-level visitors from Washington throughout the year including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. These engagements are truly a tangible sign of the enduring US interest in the East Mediterranean in general and the Republic of Cyprus in particular.”
Launching the conference on Tuesday, Cyprus become one of the first EU countries to move towards strengthening links with the US since Joe Biden clinched the US presidency. The conference was held a few days after President Nicos Anastasiades congratulated the president-elect for his victory referring to him as his “good friend and friend of Cyprus.” Biden visited Cyprus in 2014 as the US Vice-President during the Obama administration.
Cyprus’s successful handling the coronavirus pandemic is an advantage for US investors looking for a European base for their operations, Cyprus’s Finance Minister told the conference, as he sounded a note of optimism on the island’s rapid economic recovery.
“As of next year, Cyprus will return to pre-pandemic levels of economic normality. Over the next three years, we expect real growth rates to exceed on average 3%. Despite the pandemic set back, our policy priorities, policy focus remains the same: microeconomic stability, fiscal prudent policies, a sound banking sector and a competitive business friendly regulatory environment of high standard,” said Mr Petrides.
During the pandemic, Cyprus was able to offer one of the most comprehensive fiscal packages in the European Union, supporting businesses and preventing job losses. As part of a package of incentives to promote the island’s economic recovery, investors are able to take advantage of attractive tax rates, EU funding and a Fast Track Business Activation Mechanism, approved by the Cabinet in September. Pointing to Cyprus’s highly developed professional services sector and its strong position in a recent EY Europe Attractiveness Survey 2020, George Campanellas, Chief Executive of Invest Cyprus, said Cyprus aimed to become a tech hub in Europe. He added: “Apart from being a robust EU jurisdiction of choice for licensing within the financial services spectrum, Cyprus offers an attractive European location with closed proximity to Israel and Middle East that caters to the needs of international tech companies.”
Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Christodoulides welcomed the signing last month of a Memorandum of Understanding with the United States for cooperation in science and technology. “It is clear that Cyprus and the United States are two like-minded countries which aim to advance their partnership and act on common values for greater security, prosperity and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean. All these developments create many opportunities for further co-operation. There is considerable presence of US investors on the island in key sectors such as energy, financial services, shipping and higher education, which is solid proof of confidence in the Cyprus economy. At the same, there is a lot of untapped potential and further prospects which should be further explored. We are ready for this.”
Invest Cyprus is leading the drive for foreign investment into the island, and has launched TourInvest, a new division to support the landing of high value investments that align with key government strategies for the tourism and hospitality sector. Stephanie Panayi, Head of Strategic Projects at Invest Cyprus, shared with the audience a list of big ticket greenfield projects targeting foreign private equity funds and family offices, including business parks, filming studio and projects in healthcare, education and renewable energy.
Other speakers at the conference, Cyprus’s Proposition as an EU Financial Services Center for US Companies, included representatives from EY Cyprus, PwC Cyprus, KPMG Cyprus, Deloitte, CIFA, Kinanis LLC, Chrysostomides and Alter Domus.