Cyprus aims to be­come EU-Iran bridge

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

Two land­mark events this week 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 con­di­tions to re­build trust be­tween Iran and in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity.

Ge­or­giades said that Cyprus is re­cov­er­ing from its re­cent eco­nomic dif­fi­cul­ties 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 the the 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 that “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 mln eu­ros in 2014”.

As­so­ci­a­tion Deputy Chair­man that “this his­toric agree­ment in­vest­ments from Iran to Cyprus”. Yian­nos opens Athi­aini­tis a chan­nel said

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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 of the 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.

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