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The 1st Annual Cyprus-USA Business Forum
Cyprus is one of the world’s most promising international business centers offering unique strategic advantages and an abundance of new investment opportunities. This was the main theme of the 1st annual-USA business forum held at the Harvard Club of New York this past March.
During the full house event, investors, business executives, and professionals from the New York financial community heard from high-level officials and expert panelists from Cyprus, including the Cypriot Minister of Energy, Commerce, Industry and Tourism Yiorgos Lakkotrypis.
In his welcoming remarks, Cyprus Trade Commissioner Mr. Aristos Constantine laid out that Cyprus offers the most important things for US businesses: Access, Legitimacy, Reliability – Access through Cyprus’ EU membership and broad double tax treaty network; Legitmacy as an on-shore jurisdiction fully compliant with all international standards and practices; Reliabilty through rule of law and the highest standard of services.
The Secretary General of the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry Marios Tsiakkis reinforced that message by elaborating on the unique opportunities Cyprus offers for American investors. He referenced Cyprus’ strategic geographic location in the eastern Mediterranean at the cross-roads of three major continents (Europe, Asia and Africa), the fact that it is a member of the European Union and has a Common Law legal system all of which are important factors to the international business community. Moreover, Cyprus’s tax regime is considered among the most attractive tax systems in Europe and most appealing worldwide thanks to its simplicity.
Minister Lakkotrypis, the keynote speak, picked up on the theme of Cyprus as an important business center in the eastern Mediterranean. Cyprus, he said, had overcome the obstacles associated with its 2013 banking crisis in record time and it is now back on track to restoring its place as one of the most favored international Financial Centers in Europe. He went on to talk about the measures Cyprus is taking to build upon its advantages as a quality and high standard international business center and to capitalize on new opportunities developing around the region.
The Minister provided an in depth presentation as to why Cyprus is the ideal destination for international investors, noting also that the country counts on its most valuable and distinctive asset, its people. The people of Cyprus, as he stressed, ensure that the country’s competitive advantages are maintained by using their resourcefulness, entrepreneurship and professionalism to develop existing and new sectors of growth. He also spoke about how Cyprus is currently actively developing significant natural gas deposits discovered in its offshore Exclusive Economic Zone. These reserves, Minister Lakkotrypis stated, have made the island’s geographic location gain further strategic importance and although the development of the gas industry lies in the near future, along with other related industries, they constitute a key move in terms of the country’s economic diversification and open up great prospects for the economy as whole. At the same time these developments provide excellent opportunities to foreign investors.
Also speaking at the Forum was Commissioner for Privatizations Constantinos Herodotou and a group of expert panelists from Cyprus financial services industry, who spoke about the banking system, the business environment within the legal framework, the international tax structure, renewable energy projects, global wealth management and the Cyprus funds industry and the importance of Cyprus as a regional hub for multinationals.
The banking system of Cyprus is harmonized with EC directives and, under the regulation and supervision of the Central Bank of Cyprus, ensures a safe and stable financial system, while the country provides an effective and transparent tax system that is fully compliant with EU laws and regulations. As explained by the Chairman of the Cyprus Investment Promotion Agency Christodoulos Angastiniotis, the island is constantly developing and modernizing its legal framework by promoting new and revised legislation in an effort to continuously improve the overall investment environment. It is worthwhile noting that the government has already introduced a series of incentives offering a wide variety of benefits to drive employment, support existing business and more importantly to boost new investments.
The 1st annual Cyprus-USA business forum was organized by the Cyprus Embassy Trade Center in New York in conjunction with the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Cyprus Investment Promotion Agency and was by all accounts a huge success. The event was followed by a networking reception co-hosted by the Cyprus-US Chamber of Commerce.