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Promoting Pakistan-Cyprus strong business relationship By Kashif Mirza


Jun 30, 2022

The writer is an

economist, anchor,

analyst and the

President of All

 Pakistan Private

Schools’ Federation



The Republic of Cyprus has a population of 888,000 (2020), about 1.2 million people live on the island (including Northern Cyprus). The capital and largest city of the Republic of Cyprus is Nicosia; spoken languages are Greek and Turkish. It’s an island. Cyprus is known as a popular stopover for cruise ships.  Cyprus is famous for the Limassol carnival, Wreck diving, Haloumi cheese and Commandaria, the sweet dessert wine from Cyprus. The history of Cyprus already begins at the end of the Paleolithic Age. The strategic location of the island was a significant reason for its eventful history. It was under the influence of the cultures of the Aegean, Anatolia, the Levant, and Egypt. Cypriot culture is among the oldest in the Mediterranean. The island fell successively under Assyrian, Egyptian, Persian, Greek, and Roman domination. For 800 years, beginning in 364 AD, Cyprus was ruled by Byzantium. In 1571, the island was conquered by the Ottoman Turks and was ceded to Great Britain in 1878. Annexed formally by the United Kingdom in 1914, it became a crown colony in 1925. British rule lasted until August 1960 when, after a four-year liberation struggle, the island became independent and was proclaimed a Republic.  The Republic of Cyprus became an independent state on 16 August 1960, and a member of the United Nations one month later, it is a member state of the European Union since 2004. Cyprus is a presidential republic with independent executive, legislative and judicial branches. Head of State of the Republic of Cyprus is the President. He must be a Greek Cypriot and is elected for five years. The House of Representatives is the country’s parliament. Its members are elected by proportional representation every five years. Cyprus is the EU’s largest, most prominent management center and among the top three in the world. Today, the global shipping companies present in Cyprus are some of the largest of their kind globally and manage around 20 percent of the world’s third-party managed fleet. The number of companies increased from 168 in 2017 to 220 in 2019, with the number of ship management operators rising to 50, placing Cyprus at the top of this category in the EU. The island also has the third-largest merchant fleet in Europe and the 11th largest globally. In 2020, Cyprus’ merchant fleet had more than 1,857 ships with 21 million in gross tonnage.
The period since the issuing of the Avis by the European Commission regarding the application of Cyprus for full membership to the European Union, in June 1993, is characterized by the coordinated and systematic efforts on the part of Cyprus to harmonize with the Acquis Communautaire, with a view to prepare the smooth integration of Cyprus in the EU. The Republic of Cyprus is a high-income country with a liberal market economy. Financial services and the tourism industry are the most important economic sectors. Cyprus’ primary industries are tourism, food and beverage processing, cement and gypsum, ship repair and refurbishment, textiles, light chemicals, metal products, wood, paper, stone and clay products. In November 2021, China and Cyprus formally announced their strategic partnership on the 50th anniversary of their diplomatic ties, which is of milestone significance to bilateral relations. China and Cyprus are partners in the joint construction of the Belt and Road. China’s relations with Cyprus are closely related to its MSRI strategy in the Eastern Mediterranean. The island potentially constitutes a stop on the Chinese Maritime Silk Road, connecting the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea through the Gulf of Suez and energy projects. The initiative is about connecting China with Europe, and Cyprus is at a strategic point between Asia, Europe, and Africa. So, it can play a key role in promoting this Initiative as it has a developed shipping sector and a vibrant services sector. 

The business community of Pakistan also had developed strong business relations with Cyprus counterparts, including the entrepreneurs. There is a need for promoting the Pakistani and Cyprus trade and business strong relationship to promote and explore all the potential areas of mutual interest.

Pakistan Exports to Cyprus was US$6.11 Million during 2021, according to the United Nations COMTRADE database on international trade. European Union (EU) is Pakistan’s the largest export market representing 34% of exports. EU is also Pakistan’s 3rd largest import partner. Whereas, in 2020, The EU is Pakistan’s second most important trading partner, accounting for 14.3% of Pakistan’s total trade and absorbing 28% of Pakistan’s exports. Pakistani exports to the EU are dominated by textiles and clothing, accounting for 75.2% of Pakistan’s total exports to the EU in 2020.  Pakistan’s imports from the EU are mainly comprised of machinery and transport equipment (33.5% in 2020) as well as chemicals (22.2% in 2020). Cyprus’ trade policy is determined by two major goals: harmonizing its laws and policies with those of the EU, and ensuring the conformity of these laws and policies with the WTO Agreements. Cyprus is keen to promote trade relations with Pakistan that would benefit the people and economies of both countries. There was a little formal trade between Cyprus and Pakistan and it was time that both should focus on promoting bilateral trade, agriculture, construction, tourism, education, dairy sector and citrus as potential areas of cooperation. Cyprus was importing most of the construction material and it was a good opportunity for Pakistan to export its construction material to Cyprus besides exporting many other products. Cyprus has developed better infrastructure with qualified labor and was offering good incentives to foreign investors. Pakistani investors should tap Cyprus‘s market for investment. Moreover 30 universities were operating in Cyprus and over 4000 Pakistani students were getting an education in these universities. The friendly culture also provided good scope to Pakistan and Cyprus for promoting business relations. However, there was a lack of awareness in the business community of Pakistan about the business opportunities in Cyprus and stressed promoting the exchange of trade delegations to explore all potential areas of mutual cooperation between the two countries. The construction sector was booming in Pakistan and the set up under CPEC offered attractive opportunities to local and foreign investors, the investors of Cyprus should explore investment opportunities in potential sectors of Pakistan’s economy. Pakistan possessed great reserves of high-quality marble & granite and urged that both countries should cooperate in sharing the latest technology to promote mechanized mining and produce value-added marble products. The exchange of students and people-to-people contacts for promoting trade and economic relations between Pakistan and Cyprus should be encouraged. First, to understand how important it is to have on your side international public opinion.
Cyprus is also emerging as one of the most attractive study abroad destination for Pakistani students due to post study internships and work opportunities. Cyprus’s higher education institutes offer a variety of courses which include Medicine, Engineering, Architecture, Law, Social Sciences, International Studies, IT, and Pharmacy etc of international standards affiliated by American Credit System, provide on campus accommodation, cost effective tuition fee, globally recognized degree programmes and modern state of the art facilities for research and practical work. The emphasis must be encouraging the exchange of students and enhancing people-to-people contacts to promote trade and economic relations between Pakistan and Cypurs.  Some of the top-notch institutions include Cyprus College, European University Cyprus, University of Nicosia, University of Central Lancashire. Cyprus has a water resource problem. There are no natural reservoir catchments, a seasonal disparity in rainfall, and seawater intrusion to the island’s largest aquifer. Other problems are water pollution from sewage, industrial wastes, and pesticides. There is coastal degradation by erosion and a loss of wildlife habitats from urbanization. Pakistan has one of the best system of water resources and can help Cyprus for resolving the water resources issues. Cyprus maintains the world’s fourth largest open registry. Vessels flying the national flag must be majority-owned by Cypriots; incentives to register ships in Cyprus include low registration fees and a completely tax-free status for shipping companies. This includes exemption from tax on profits and dividends, capital gains tax on sale of ship or shares, income tax on crew wages, stamp duty on deeds and estate duty. Domestic shipping companies are eligible for preferential tax treatment through a 30 per cent reduction of the annual tonnage tax if the ships are operated by a Cypriot ship management company. Cyprus limits cabotage, inland trucking and port services to nationals, although the authorities may approve foreign participation up to 49 per cent on a case by case basis. The state-controlled Cyprus Port Authority is the monopoly provider of a number of port services, pilotage, towing, navigation aids, and berthing; provisioning, fuelling and emergency repair services are provided by the private sector, subject to approval by the Cyprus Port Authority.

There was a lack of awareness in the Pakistani and Cyprus business community about the opportunities in Cyprus and Pakistan. The business community of Pakistan also had developed strong business relations with Cyprus counterparts, including the entrepreneurs. There is a need for promoting the Pakistani and Cyprus trade and business strong relationship to promote and explore all the potential areas of mutual interest.

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