CCCI President to QNA: HH the Amir’s Visit to Cyprus an Opportunity to Beef Up Economic Relations

Nicosia, May 27 (QNA) – HH the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani’s visit to the Republic of Cyprus streamlines both countries’ endeavors to beef up economic relations and explore further investment and trade cooperation, said President of the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI), Stavros Stavrou.

In remarks to Qatar News Agency (QNA), Stavrou said: “HH the Amirs visit to Cyprus will foster even stronger diplomatic ties, which are foundational for enhancing economic cooperation through a conducive environment for trade agreements and economic partnerships.

“His visit gives the opportunity to Cypriots to hear and understand what Qataris expect from this relationship. Understanding of this factor is critical in building confidence between the two sides. The Amirs presence is confirming the confidence level that Cyprus will safeguard Qatari investments and ensure satisfactory returns must be underscored”.

Commenting on the Qatar-Cyprus trade cooperation, Stavrou said it had been growing over the past three years. Yet, he elaborated the growth was “still relatively modest”, highlighting both nations’ endeavors to “enhance economic ties and explore new opportunities for investment and collaboration” and their “various discussions and initiatives to strengthen their economic relations”.

“Within the last three years we have seen an increase in imports from Qatar to Cyprus. These are Ethylene Polymers, Large Construction Vehicles, and Iron Structures. While, the main products exported from Cyprus to Qatar are Packaged Medicaments, Rolled Tobacco, and Dairy Machinery,” he added.

He added that Cyprus’ imports from Qatar surged to 41.77 million in 2023 from 787,037 in 2022, and 691,010 in 2021, an increase that reflects the elevated bilateral economic cooperation. This comes at a time when exports to Qatar in 2023 increased to 7,431,727 million up from about 7,365,030 million in 2022 and about 5,789,464 million in 2021.

Speaking about the bilateral cooperation between the Chambers of Commerce and Industry of both countries, Stavrou highlighted the cooperative agreements and initiatives aimed at fostering trade and investment opportunities between the two nations. He said, “In 2010 and 2014, the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) and the Qatar Chamber signed a Memorandum of Understanding to strengthen economic and commercial ties.

“Over the years, various business forums and meetings have been organized to enhance bilateral trade relations. The most recent trade mission to Qatar was in 2022 and Qatari to Cyprus was in 2023, enabling Cypriot businesses to showcase their products and services, and to better understand the two business markets”.

Stavrou added that Qatar’s investments in Cyprus have been significant, particularly in the real estate and hospitality sectors in line with its national vision to diversify its investment portfolio globally, spotlighting Qatar’s Diar involvement in several high-profile projects in Cyprus and Qatar Airways’ expansion of its services to Cyprus, enhancing connectivity and fostering greater economic and tourism links between the two countries, a boost that highlighted the strategic importance of the island country for Qatari investors.

He added: “Cyprus views Qatar as a crucial partner in the Middle East, with potential for increased cooperation in sectors such as energy, finance, and tourism. Both countries have been working on fostering closer business ties through various bilateral agreements and business forums”.

Asked about the two countries’ proposed ventures and initiatives, Stavrou said that both sides could undertake collaborative ventures in sustainable energy that focus on mutual investments rather than immediate returns, aiming to position Cyprus as a pivotal link between the Middle East and Europe. “This endeavor underscores a commitment to contributing to global engagement through sustainable practices,” he said.

He added that Cyprus and Qatar could co-invest in state-of-the-art healthcare facilities that would feature specialized services, presenting Qataris with an attractive healthcare option in Cyprus. “By leveraging Cyprus’s unique assets, such as its expertise in healthcare, its strategic location in Europe, and a deep understanding of diverse cultures, this initiative aims to specifically cater to the needs of the population in the area at this crucial time,” he said.

He highlighted the possibility of launching food-related businesses aimed at enhancing the Qatari self-sustainability and fostering knowledge sharing. He said: “The Dairy Products industry is particularly significant and warrants careful evaluation to develop a strategic plan for its expansion.

“Utilizing Qatari funds could pave the way for strengthening this industry, benefiting not only Cyprus but also Qatar and the global market”.

Stavrou stressed the need for both sides to leverage the best oil and gas industry practices, saying that “Qatari companies can be hired in Cyprus to be engaged with the Oil and Gas industry” and that the “many sophisticated companies that could build a base in Cyprus can support the eco system through its services.