- Thursday, July 9, 2020

The current relationship between Cyprus and the U.S.A. is at its best, since the time the two countries commenced to have diplomatic relations in 1960, immediately after Cyprus gained its independence. Recent oil and gas developments in the Eastern Mediterranean region were key to the rapprochement of the two countries but this was just the beginning.

“We believe that energy will continue to attract more American interest, just like banking and the hospitality industry. The film industry as well, has also been in the spotlight during the last couple of years as we have seen increasing interest from the U.S., and it seems that such interest will continue” said Haris Kakoullis, President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Cyprus.

The cooperation of the two countries extend in combating money laundering and tackling terrorist financing. According to Mr. Constantinos Petrides, Minister of Finance of the Republic of Cyprus, “this has led to raising awareness in the U.S. economy of the importance of Cyprus as a business hub leading to increased investments to Cyprus.”

Cyprus, as a member of the EU in the farthest southeastern part of the Mediterranean basin and literally in the center of three continents, aims to serve as a pillar of stability, promoting business and cooperation among the surrounding countries. “We want to build a long-term trusting relationship. We believe that such relationship will reap a lot of benefits from both countries” Kakoullis said.

After impressively managed the COVID-19 pandemic, Cyprus is ready to resume business and welcomed its first international visitors in June. “We would have never believed 4 months ago that we would had to face this unprecedented situation and experience a complete lockdown. We are extremely satisfied by our overall behavior and its outcome, where many lives were saved” said Kakoullis.

The Cyprus government has taken very strict measures of containment, thus effectively protecting its citizens and the public health system, but this has come with a cost to the economy, which will experience a 7% contraction in 2020. “To minimize the effects of the lockdown to the economy, we adopted a generous package of fiscal and liquidity support measures amounting to approximately 15% of GDP which included financial support to the health sector, subsidized wages to keep employees on the payroll in case of suspended business operations, income support for small businesses and the self-employed, tax relief measures, as well as targeted support to help the tourism sector recover” said Petrides. “Despite this year’s contraction, our baseline macroeconomic scenario for 2021 suggests a real GDP growth of about 6%, mainly supported by domestic demand” he added.

• Constantinos Petrides is the Minister of Finance of Cyprus. Haris Kakoullis is the President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Cyprus. (http://mof.gov.cy/en/) (http://amchamcyprus.com.cy)

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