President Anastasiades urges Indian business people to invest in Cyprus

President of the Republic of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades has said that his official visit to India is a testament of our determination to actively upgrade it in order to inaugurate a new era of prosperity between our countries and encouraged foreign investors, including Indian investors, to invest in projects in Cyprus.

In his keynote speech at the Cyprus � India Business Forum, President Anastasiades said his presence at the forum reaffirms in the strongest possible terms the strong will of the Government and the people of Cyprus for even closer bonds with the Republic of India.

The forum was organised by the Ministry of Energy, Commerce, Industry and Tourism, the Cyprus Investment Promotion Agency, the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the Cyprus-India Business Association and the High Commissioner of Cyprus to India.

The President said India and Cyprus enjoy long-standing, excellent relations, based on deeply-rooted historical, political, economic and cultural ties, and amicable interactions between our two peoples and also extend further, through close co-operation within international fora, in accordance with shared principled stance with respect to international law, as well as the values and principles of the United Nations, including the respect for the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of our countries.

The President said that the aim of the Cypriot delegation that is accompanying him, which includes the Minister of Finance (who will join him tomorrow), the Minister of Energy, Commerce, Industry and Tourism, the Minister of Transport, Communication and Works, the Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment, and the Government Spokesman as well as a strong business delegation from a range of fields, aims to shed light on the unique investment opportunities Cyprus � an EU member state at a strategic location at the cross roads of Europe, North Africa and Asia � has to offer, and to exchange ideas, establish contacts and channels of communication, which will enable us to achieve a strategic re-orientation of our economic partnership.

He said this partnership has significant potential to grow even further, particularly in key fields such as banking and finance, shipping and transportation, education, science and technology, pharmaceuticals, renewable energy and tourism.

Noting that Cyprus and India have established an extensive bilateral legal framework of co-operation, which, among others, covers areas such as science, technology and innovation, tourism, merchant shipping, telecommunications, health and agriculture, he said that a Cyprus � India Joint Committee on Economic, Scientific, Technical and Industrial Cooperation has been established since 1989, with its 8th session taking place last June, culminating in a Protocol which identified ways and means of developing, expanding and diversifying the bilateral economic relations between our two countries.

He further referred to the Cyprus � India Business Association created in 2005 to facilitate relevant professional bodies and the extensive business ventures towards promoting, expanding and encouraging economic and commercial relations.

The recently signed double tax avoidance treaty, which entered into force in India as of April 2017, and which removed Cyprus as a Notified Jurisdiction Area, he said, will contribute to further strengthening the economic ties between Cyprus and India, particularly in the field of investments on which Cyprus ranks as the 8th biggest foreign investment country to India.

Anastasiades recalled that during his visit to New Delhi, a number of bilateral agreements and Memoranda of Understanding will be signed in the fields of Merchant Shipping, Air Services, Agricultural co-operation, education and culture.

President Anastasiades said he could not be in the great, historical port city of Mumbai, and not talk about shipping, noting that Cyprus’s shipping industry has been one of the most successful export services of the country, as Cyprus enjoys the privilege of being one of the most influential global hubs for ship owning and ship management services, being home to some of the world’s most prominent names in shipping, offering competitive ship registration costs, and favourable tax regime for ship management and other international business enterprises.

He said more than 1,000 registered vessels with 21 million gross tonnage are registered under the Cyprus flag and that Cyprus has the 10th largest merchant fleet in the world, the 3rd largest merchant fleet in the EU and the Cyprus’ Ship management Centre is amongst the top three in the world, and, the largest third party Ship management Centre in the EU.

He said the education sector also has the capacity of becoming another significant area of collaboration between Cyprus and India while there are great prospects related to science and technology, on which India possesses much-needed and much-welcomed experience and expertise, which could greatly benefit Cyprus.

For this reason, Anastasiades said recently the Start-up Visa Scheme was established, under which startups from India can easily locate in Cyprus and have easy access to the EU market.

Furthermore, in an effort to further diversify the local economy, the Government has decided to develop and operate a Technology Park as a basic infrastructure for the promotion of applied research, innovation and technology in Cyprus, as well as a tool for both the development of entrepreneurship and smart specialization.

Other areas of co-operation which could be actively explored are those of renewable energy on which Cyprus has a long-standing expertise, and tourism, the President said, noting that the Protocol on Air Services Agreement to be signed on Friday in New Delhi can pave the way for establishing direct connectivity between the two countries, thus increasing the so far very modest number of tourism exchanges if one considers the potential that this sector holds.

The Cypriot president said he also met with leading personalities of Mumbai and of Bollywood industry, adding Cyprus will soon be introducing an incentive scheme specific to the filming industry. The beauty, climate and cultural wealth of the country, in combination with incentives it plans to introduce, will make Cyprus an ideal filming location, he added.

Regarding the economic situation on the island, Anastasiades said Cyprus is now emerging stronger than ever from an unprecedented crisis and the journey along the road to recovery has been faster than anyone could predict, enjoying one of the fastest growing economies of the EU, currently just short of 3% of the GDP. We are confident that we can do much better, he pointed out.

He emphasised the governments strong commitment to continue working so that Cyprus remains firmly on a path of sustainable growth.

He said through the joint efforts of government and industry we shall succeed in making Cyprus a top-notch destination for business and investment, pledging support to the local and foreign business community and underlining that Cyprus, despite its small size, offers exceptional comparative advantages as a major center of international business, but also as a base from which inroads into regional markets can be achieved.

Anastasiades further said the Government has developed a new legal framework, which establishes the procedure of direct licensing of large investments, and it applies on pilot cases a fast track licensing mechanism for investment projects.

Based on this framework, he added, I would encourage foreign investors, including Indian investors, to invest in projects in Cyprus, which the Presidency can promote through its fast track mechanism for receiving the relevant licenses within short and specific time-frames.

From Mumbai President Anastasiades will travel to New Delhi in the afternoon, where he will meet with the leadership of the government of India.

In New Delhi, the President will be officially welcomed by the President of India at a special ceremony at the Presidential Palace and will hold official talks with the Prime Minister of India. President Anastasiades will also be the keynote speaker at a business forum organised by the business associations of Cyprus and New Delhi.

Source: Cyprus News Agency