KEVE: Brexit to af­fect trade, won’t ben­e­fit Cyprus

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

The Cyprus Cham­ber of Com­merce and In­dus­try (KEVE) said that the U.K.’s with­drawal from the Euro­pean Union will not be to the ben­e­fit of Cyprus be­cause it is the is­land’s sec­ond most im­por­tant trad­ing part­ner.

The im­pact of a Brexit wil be great­est if the UK rene­go­ti­ates its trade ac­cords with the EU, the Cham­ber said.

Ac­cord­ing to 2015 trade data, the UK ac­counts for 9% of im­ports to Cyprus (sec­ond af­ter Greece) and 7% of ex­ports, pri­mar­ily in the ser­vices sec­tor.

Tourism could also be af­fected, KEVE said, as the UK ac­counts for 40% of all ar­rivals (over 1 mln tourists) and more than dou­ble of the sec­ond-best mar­ket of Rus­sia.

Tourism rev­enues from Bri­tish tourists were over 35% of all tourism re­ceipts, at EUR 800 mln, and the im­pact could be felt if the Ster­ling is weak­ened against the euro to the exit. Fur­ther­more, new reg­u­la­tions, such as visa re­quire­ment and the cost in­volved could make Cyprus an unat­trac­tive des­ti­na­tion.

The Cham­ber said that other neg­a­tive fac­tors are re­lated to Bri­tons liv­ing per­ma­nently in Cyprus, as well as new ac­cords re­lated to the Sov­er­eign Base Ar­eas.

But of equal im­por­tance will be the ab­sence of Britain from im­por­tant de­ci­sions within the EU, many of which are re­lated to the econ­omy, es­pe­cially as Cyprus and the U.K. have sim­i­lar views on many such is­sues, while the big­ger bur­den of con­tri­bu­tions to EU funds will be even more felt.

Fi­nally, there is the mat­ter of the very large num­ber of Cypriot stu­dents in Bri­tish uni­ver­si­ties, who ben­e­fit from lower fees that are equal to those paid by lo­cal Bri­tons, and the ever grow­ing num­ber of Cypri­ots seek­ing work in the U.K. which could be­come dif­fi­cult if Britain leaves.

“What is for sure is the in­se­cu­rity, both for the U.K. and the EU, in­clud­ing of course Cyprus, be­cause no one knows what will hap­pen to EU re­la­tions with the U.K.,” the Cham­ber said.

The Cham­ber is co-host­ing an event on the Brexit is­sue at the Con­fer­ence Cen­tre in Ni­cosia on June 7, with the par­tic­i­pa­tion of the Cyprus-Bri­tish Busi­ness As­so­ci­a­tion, the Char­tered In­sti­tute of Ac­coun­tants and the In­sti­tute of Char­tered Ac­coun­tants of Eng­land and Wales.

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