The Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) represents about 8,000 companies across the economic spectrum, as well as 151 professional associations, including the Cyprus-China Business Association. Phidias Pilides, president of the CCCI, explains why Cyprus is primed to enable One Belt, One Road expansion into Europe.
How can Cyprus handle logistical needs related to the One Belt, One Road initiative?
The largest ship management companies in the world have a presence in Cyprus, which is the largest ship management center in the EU and the third largest EU shipper by tonnage. The shipping industry had made the coastal city of Limassol, our second largest-urban area, a truly significant global ship management center, and it would take off if we manage to lift the Turkish embargo. Furthermore, taking into consideration the excellent relations that our country has with nearby countries, Cyprus can easily become a regional distribution center for Chinese products, and investment is currently being planned here for warehousing and logistics development. Ideally, we would like to attract Chinese companies to use Cyprus as a business hub for their European or international operations. Overall, Cyprus is not well known to the Chinese as it should be, and once there is more awareness then there will be more opportunities for China to use Cyprus to penetrate markets in our part of the world.
How is Cyprus bridging connectivity with China?
Larnaca-based Cobalt Airlines is planning to turn Cyprus into a trans-continental hub by offering the island’s first non-stop flights to China this year. Such an aviation agreement would greatly boost our tourism numbers, helping us realize our target of doubling the share of tourism in the economy by 2030, as well as complement an air services agreement recently signed with India.
What impact will the reunification of Cyprus have on business?
The consensus is that the island’s economy would be much healthier with a resolution. For example, it’s estimated that we would achieve sustainable growth of around 4.5% per annum over the next 20 years should the island be reunified. There’s a disparity between the two economies, and a convergence should be achieved in a united economy. Shipping, construction and tourism industries would all benefit, especially tourism, which could then offer integrated tourism products able to attract religious tourists for both the main religions of Cyprus.