articles | 05 August 2015

Cyprus aims to become bridge to EU

Two recent landmark events have paved the way to boost trade and cooperation with Iran, while Cyprus officials have also stated that the island could become a bridge to the EU for Iran.

The Cyprus-Iranian Business Association was established on Tuesday with 75 enterprises signed up as members, the same day as an agreement on the Avoidance of Double Taxation was signed in Nicosia, the 58th so far for Cyprus.

Addressing an event Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KEVE), Finance Minister Harris Georgiades said that the new relationship with Iran “is promising and important”.

He said that “the timing for this step could not have been better”, as the Iran nuclear agreement was reached three weeks ago, creating the conditions to rebuild trust between Iran and the international community. 

Georgiades said that Cyprus is recovering from its recent economicdifficulties and “as such, is well suited to act as a bridge between Iran and the European and global markets”.

Iran’s deputy Finance Minister Ali Asgari, who signed the agreement, said that “the potential economic capacities of Iran in different sectors forms a suitable platform for the development of commercial relations with countries of the world” and could create suitable opportunities for the development of commercial relationships between the two countries. 

Cyprus-Iran Business Association Chairman Marios Gregoriades, a director at KPMG, said that the aim is primarily to promote trade and business relations between the two countries by bringing Cypriot and Iranian businessmen closer, communicating with the ministries and the chambers of the two countries. 

Former KEVE President Manthos Mavrommatis noted, “The lifting of restrictive measures opens up the large Iranian market and creates an abundance of opportunities in the areas of trade, business cooperation and investments”. 

He said that there are “huge prospects for cooperation between Cyprus and Iran and great margins for improvement of the existing trade that amounted to just €3.5 million in 2014”. 

Association Deputy Chairman Yiannos Athiainitis said, “This historic agreement opens a channel for investments from Iran to Cyprus”. He noted that Iran has the largest tanker fleet in the world and that the Cyprus flag could benefit from this fleet. He also said that the agreement opens up new horizons for Cypriot companies in the emerging market of Iran. 

“The agreement on Iran’s nuclear programme and the gradual lifting ofthe sanctions surely increase these prospects further, as the country’s revenue is expected to increase from the exports of oil and natural gas,” Association Chairman Gregoriades said. 

Apart from investments, Gregoriades believes that prospects form increased trade ties include the involvement of Iranian companies in the field of natural gas and air transport. 

Moreover, he said there are prospects for the operation of Cypriot companies in Iran, for the provision of technical knowledge in fields of desalination and pharmaceuticals. 

Earlier, Iran’s Ambassador to Cyprus Dr. Reza Zabib had said that “the Agreement for the Prevention of Double Taxation will pave the way for business to strengthen economic ties between the two countries”.
Dr. Zabib recalled that the two countries have already signed an Agreement on mutual Support of Investment that is being implemented today and that the Chambers of Commerce of Iran and Cyprus have signed a Memorandum of Understanding. He recalled that Energy and Trade Minister George Lakkotrypis visited Iran four months ago and agreed with the Iranian Minister of Oil to a new cooperation.

Source: Financial Mirror

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