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Economy

Cyprus Seen EU Entry Gate for Israeli Business, Growing Trade

September 4, 2020

Already locked into an energy partnership, Cyprus could benefit from interest in Israeli companies wanting to invest and get a foothold in a European Union country and expanded trade between them.

A report in CTECH, pointing to their geographical proximity, said Israel is becoming a key trade partner with both economies needing a boost from the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic.

There's already cooperation in a number of sectors, ranging from defense to business, tourism, research and innovation, health, as well as their taking part with Greece in the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF) with the US.

Israel ranks as Cyprus’ fifth largest trading partner, with the Israeli market mainly serving as a destination for Cypriot industrial products of mineral origin (such as cement and gypsum) as well as fish products resulting from aquaculture activities from farmed seabass and seabream, the report added.

Cyprus in return is one of the most important export markets for Israel’s refined petroleum products industry, Israeli exports to the country increasing by more than 30% from 2017 to 2018, closing on $950 million.

Tel Aviv is home to one of just 13 trade promotion missions of Cyprus worldwide. The Cyprus Trade Center (CTC) operates under the auspices of the Cyprus Ministry of Energy, Commerce and Industry as the commercial and economic section of the Embassy of Cyprus.

Sofronis Papageorgiou, head of the CTC at the Embassy in Tel Aviv, told the sitse  how Cyprus’ and Israel’s economies complement each other.

"Both countries have service-oriented economies, with differing qualitative characteristics. Cyprus is a competitive international business center, with strong expertise in areas such as financial, professional and administrative services, tourism and hospitality, shipping, and real estate," he told CTech. "Israel is a global leader in research and innovation, generating high-tech products in an array of areas such as cybersecurity, communications, agriculture, and health."

He said Cyprus can also serve as an ideal point of entry to the EU for Israeli companies. "Cyprus, as the EU Member State and Eurozone Member that’s closest to Israel, may serve as a gateway for Israeli companies to do business from and within the EU Single Market. 

“In fact, there are a plethora of Israeli companies that have established presence on the island via the establishment of regional headquarters or remote offices. Examples of Israeli-founded companies with Cypriot presence include Amdocs, eToro, ePlane and Viber Media (up to its acquisition)," noted Papageorgiou.

Cyprus recently announced that a Cypriot-Israeli consortium bid for undertaking the key Larnaca Port and Marina development, a 1.2-billion euro ($1.42 billion)  project now in its final stages.

Should the deal go ahead, it is expected to serve as a catalyst for boosting commercial relations between the countries and have a positive impact in the areas of trade, transport, tourism, hospitality and technology, the report said.

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