The “Capital Link Invest in Cyprus Forum” aims to raise awareness about Cyprus as an investment and business destination to a wider investor audience through a prestigious, high caliber, high impact international summit. The Summit took place in New York on Wednesday, March 22, 2017, at the Metropolitan Club, with keynote speaker H.E. the President of the Republic of Cyprus H.E. Nicos Anastasiades. The Forum was organized in cooperation and with the support of the Cyprus Union of Shipowners, the Cyprus Investment Promotion Agency and the Cyprus - US Chamber of Commerce. Main sponsors of the conference are the Cyprus Union of Shipowners and Ernst & Young.
It attracted the highest level of participation from both the government and the private sectors in Cyprus and the United States. It featured the President of the Republic of Cyprus, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the US Department of State, 3 key Cypriot Government Ministers (Mr. Harris Georgiades-Minister of Finance, Mr. Marios Demetriades-Minister of Transport, Communications and Works. Mr. Yiorgos Lakkotrypis-Minister of Energy, Commerce, Industry and Tourism), international companies and investors currently active in Cyprus, the Presidents of the Cyprus Union of Shipowners and of the Cyprus Investment Promotion Agency, the CEOs of major Cypriot banks and senior executives of Cypriot, US and international companies active in the region. This was a top level international summit about Cyprus.
LUNCHEON & KEYNOTE ADDRESS
H.E. Nicos Anastasiades, President of the Republic of Cyprus delivered the Keynote Address during the official luncheon of the Forum.
Mr. Nicolas Bornozis, President Capital Link Inc. introduced Mr. Jonathan Cohen, Deputy Assistant Secretary -European and Eurasian Affairs – U.S Department of State.
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Jonathan R. Cohen highlighted Cyprus’ liberal investment climate and offshore energy potential, which make it an attractive destination for U.S. investors. He said the resulting prosperity from gas discoveries in the Eastern Mediterranean has the potential to strengthen energy security throughout Europe and bring much-needed political and economic stability to the region. Cohen noted Cyprus’ unrealized economic and political potential and underscored that “Cyprus’ ability to attract investment and enhance regional energy cooperation would be significantly bolstered by reunification, and a lasting settlement would create major investment possibilities and improve economic well-being for all the people of Cyprus. A reunified Cyprus would generate economic prosperity, growth, and investment, improve regional security, and open economic, security, and political possibilities that have been shut for more than 40 years. Those developments are in America’s interest and that has not changed with the change of administration, and consequently, neither has strong U.S. support for the settlement process.”
Mr. Andreas Hadjiyiannis, President - Cyprus Union of Shipowners introduced H.E. President Anastasiades.
Sponsor of the Official Luncheon was “Mana Products Inc.”
H.E. Nikos Anastasiades President of the Republic of Cyprus delivered the following Keynote Address:
Dear Mr. Hadjiyiannis,
Dear Mr. Cohen,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is truly a great pleasure and a privilege to address such a distinguished audience which holds a strong interest to exploring the business opportunities that Cyprus has to offer, but which is also ready to work for the strengthening of the economic, commercial and investment ties between our countries.
From the outset, I would like to express my appreciation to Capital Link, the Cyprus Union of Shipowners, the Cyprus Investment Promotion Agency and the Cyprus-US Chamber of Commerce for organizing this important event.
And, of course, I would like to thank each and every one of you, for your presence and participation. A presence which aptly demonstrates that our business communities enjoy a solid and mutually beneficial economic partnership. A partnership which has a promising and prosperous future.
It is well-known that the diplomatic relationship which the US and Cyprus enjoy at a bilateral, regional and multilateral level is at an excellent level. Nonetheless, I strongly feel that we should all aspire to further strengthen our partnership through expanding and enhancing our co-operation in key economic fields, such as banking and finance, shipping and transportation, energy and tourism.
It is for this exact reason that today I am accompanied by the Minister of Finance, the Minister of Energy, Commerce, Industry and Tourism, the Minister of Transport, Communication and Works and the Government Spokesman, as well as by a strong business delegation.
Our aim is to exchange ideas and establish contacts and channels which will enable us to achieve a substantial and strategic upgrade of our economic, investment and business partnership.
Ladies and gentlemen,
During the morning sessions of this Forum you have heard about the impressive recovery of the Cyprus economy.
The deep recession and the severe financial crisis are fortunately behind us. Cyprus is now one of the fastest growing economies of the EU, currently just short of 3% of the GDP.
You have been informed that our banking sector has undergone an ambitious restructuring and now stands at a much healthier footing. At this point, I would like to highlight the significance of the presence of foreign investors in our banking sector, including notable investor presence from the US, which we welcome and support.
The above-mentioned positive economic developments are evidently demonstrated by the successive upgrades of the sovereign rating by international agencies of our economy and our investment potential, the last one only taking place last week, which have placed Cyprus, for the time-being, just one notch below investment grade.
Taking into account that even before I assumed office our economy was 12 notches below investment grade and at a junk rating, I can proudly declare, without, of course, neglecting the need to stay clear on our path, that we are on our way towards the full re-establishment of confidence towards Cyprus by the international investor community.
this achievement should be attributed to the Government and the relevant Minister of Finance for the prudent macro-economic management, the political parties’ constructive support which defied political expediencies, and, above all, to the people of Cyprus for their sacrifices, hard work and faith that better days were to come.
You have had the chance to explore the comparative and, yet unfulfilled by the US, advantages that our economy has to offer, and particularly the significant potential in sectors like Tourism, Shipping and Logistics, Business and Financial services.
You have been also discussing the prospects of new sectors on which Cyprus is set to play an important role, including the development of the Funds Industry, the Energy industry and relevant auxiliary services.
From my side, what I feel I should emphasize is the strong commitment of my Government to continue working so that Cyprus remains firmly on a path of sustainable growth and to facilitating investment and economic opportunities.
To this end, we have undertaken a series of relevant measures, such as: providing corporate tax incentives; reducing the time framework for issuing planning permissions; broadening the range of permitted land development for large projects, including golf courses; increasing building coefficients; and facilitating joint tourist developments such as condo hotels.
We recognise the importance of maintaining sound public finances. We are committed to maintaining a stable and competitive tax regime. We shall continue to invest in our human capital, supporting higher education and research. And we shall continue to stand by the local and foreign business community.
In this regard, we fully acknowledge the need to remain focused on the necessary structural reforms.
A significant number of them have already been completed, whilst at the same time we are at deliberations with the House of Representatives and social partners towards adopting further reforms that will enable Cyprus to enhance even further its position as a business friendly economic and investment destination.
We are also in the final stages of strengthening the legal framework for the investment funds sector, which is expected to enrich the financial services industry in Cyprus and the growth of the economy.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Following my election in office, one of the main goals of our foreign policy has been to achieve a qualitative upgrade of our relations with the United States.
To this end, I am pleased to assess that our partnership has evolved into one of strategic depth, particularly when dealing with issues of regional and global concern.
Our relations have notably progressed via our joint commitment, among others, in the fight against asymmetric threats, such as terrorism, illegal drugs, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and development of nuclear weapons.
In this respect, I avail myself of this opportunity to express my Government’s and personal eagerness to work closely with the new US administration in order to explore new areas of beneficial cooperation; as well as deepen and enhance our existing partnership for the mutual benefit of our two countries and peoples.
Towards this goal we are vigorously working on building more tangible economic and investment relations.
A bilateral US–Cyprus dialogue is in progress in order to address a range of issues of economic co-operation, particularly as regards US investments in Cyprus. During the last few years we have seen significant US investments in Cyprus and our aim is to facilitate even more of them.
Our desire and wish is to encourage and support investment and commercial exchanges in both directions, taking into account the fact that Cyprus, despite its small size, is a major center of international business but also a base from which inroads into regional markets can be achieved