Feb 19, 2016

Cypriot Chambers of Commerce met in Rome

Your VIP Partner was present at the meeting between the Greek-Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot chambers of commerce and Italian companies, on February 18th, which showed the reunification of the island is on its way.

Divided since 1974, Greek and Turkish Cypriots have no commercial or economic connection for the past four decades. But, the efforts made by both sides have become fruitful. If, until recently, there was no connection between North and South of the island, today there is a very different reality.

This meeting between the presidents of both chambers of commerce was sponsored by the Italian Trade Agency (ITA) – governmental agency dedicated to helping companies expand their businesses abroad -, with the precious collaboration of Unioncamere, the union of Italian chambers of commerce. The secretary-general of Eurochambres, Arnaldo Abruzinni, was also present.

At Unioncamere headquarters, in the center of Rome, the Danilo Longhi room received over twenty Italian companies, from industry to services, interested on expanding their businesses to Cyprus.

The meeting started with words from Ivanhoe Lo Bello, president of Unioncamere, who stressed the support to the internationalization of Italian enterprises, and a united Cyprus as a great opportunity for businesses.

Phideas Pilides, president of the Greek-Cypriot chamber of commerce (CCCI), began by introducing the country as an entry point to the Middle East and North Africa for European and Italian enterprises, due to its privileged geographical position and internal stability. Despite its internal problems, Cyprus presents itself as stable nation for business. Pilides has also referred the recent discoveries of oil and natural gas reserves in the Mediterranean Sea basin, very close to Cyprus' Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), which increases the chances for more oil deposits, this time within waters under Cypriot jurisdiction.

Currently, the privatization processes of sea ports ad terminals are underway, featuring the Port of Limassol, the biggest in the island.

After three years of economic recession, Cyprus now returns to financial normality, regaining the autonomy to take the decisions necessary for its development. The tax on companies profits is set on 12,5%, and the country's economic growth has reached 1,6% in 2015, with prospects for better values in 2016.

The growth of the tourism sector, in contrast with the other member-states of the EU, helped to bring the unemployment rate down.


The turkish-cypriot vision

Turkish-Cypriot Chamber of Commerce's (KTTO) president, Fikri Toros, started his say by telling that a widened commercial relationship will contribute to improve living and business conditions in the island.

Because KTTO was founded before the Cypriot split of 1974, it was kept as an internationalized institution that kept representing Turkish-Cypriot companies.

Its more than 3.500 members encompass companies from all of economy's sectors and foreign companies with interests in the Turkish-Cypriot market can call on KTTO for assistance while entering the local market.


Future Cyprus

The reunification of the island-nation of Cyprus is an old dream for both sides of the conflict. The huge economic disparities between North and South start to blur, and the political will has contributed for a mid-term union.

According to both presidents from the cypriot chambers of commerce, the ambiance in the island is remarkable and a huge difference from recent times.

Recently the energy networks have been interconnected, the connection of telecommunication systems is underway and a new aqueduct, built between Turkey and the North of Cyprus, is ready to start pumping water throughout the island, which will potential agriculture all over the country.

The reunification brings new business and investment opportunities. Most promising areas are in bio agriculture, services, technologies and energy, with special highlights for electricity produced from sun, wind and biomass sources. Tourism and construction sectors will nevertheless be those which will create the most immediate opportunities.