The Russia-Cyprus Business & Investment Forum, organized by the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Cyprus Russian Business Association and the Business Council for Cooperation with Cyprus, was held at the Four Seasons Hotel in Limassol on 10 February 2012.
Among the distinguished speakers were beside the President of the Republic, Mr. Vyacheslav Shumskiy (Ambassador of the Russian Federation), Mr. Phidias Pilides (President of the CCCI), Mr. Georgy Petrov (Vice President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation), Mr. Kirill Zimarin (CEO of the Russian Commercial Bank) and Mr. Mikhail V. Kuzovlev (President of the Business Council for Cooperation with Cyprus).
Our own President, Mr. Frixos Savvides, addressed the impressive audience as follows:
It is really a pleasure and a privilege for me to be given the opportunity to address such a distinguished audience on this very important issue of business opportunities, which is the theme of today’s deliberations.
Please allow me to say a few words about CIBA, where I have the honour to be president for the past three years.
CIBA, is an independent association formed 19 years ago, having as members most of the foreign enterprises and businesses that invested and operate in Cyprus. Our aim is to provide a service to our members, to solve their problems, make their daily business life easier and act as a go between, or as a lobby if you like, to liaise with the government, to put across ideas and to make suggestions and recommendations not only to maintain what we have, but also to help to attract more foreign investments and new businesses to the island. In this area we are very active, we work closely together with the Government, the Ministries and the House of Representatives. With the Cyprus Investment Promotion Agency we have a very harmonious relationship and we have worked together on many issues in the past years.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
What we are experiencing now, what goes on in the world around us: the financial crises in Greece, the turmoil and troubles in North Africa, the Gulf States and now Syria, are events beyond our control, but at the same time I believe it is up to us to protect ourselves and to better our chances in succeeding, not only to keep Cyprus at the level that it is today but to improve it, by turning these problems to our advantage and encourage people to see Cyprus as an excellent investment alternative, as well as a sanctuary that offers stability and security. We are a member of the European Union and the Eurozone, we have an economy which is still manageable, but for sure needing hard work and a lot of sacrifices from all of us to make it stronger and better, for a brighter future.
We at CIBA pledge our support to the Government and all relevant organisations to work together and to make sure that Cyprus remains an attractive business and financial center for the years to come.
I will not elaborate in my speech on the opportunities of investing in Cyprus, emanating from the Double Tax Treaties or our taxation regime which is still amongst the lowest in Europe. I am sure that these will be covered in the course of today’s meeting by distinguished speakers, who are experts in this field.
I would like to refer only to the tremendous business opportunities that are being created as we speak, from the fact that we now know for certain, that Cyprus has considerable gas reserves. Of course this is a project for the future, but we have to prepare ourselves to face this new challenge and to learn about this new business, which will definitely attract a lot of new investments in Cyprus.
I am sure for this we can count on your support and I am referring to our Russian colleagues and friends. Your technical knowledge, your expertise and of course your vast experience in the matter will give us the opportunity to work together and deal successfully with the new challenges which we will have to face in the years to come, of course to everybody’s benefit.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Our president Mr. Christofias has called this discovery a gift from God. I believe this as well and I also believe that God has a soft spot for Cyprus. It has happened in the past, and it is happening now: since the ancient times, the middle ages, the crusaders until the very recent history with wars and trouble around us, whenever we had a problem and we were in difficulty, we always seemed to find a way to get out of trouble. This time it is Gas.
Let us all work together, and let us all enjoy the advantages and the new opportunities that are coming our way.
We at CIBA will welcome you, and look forward to have many additions of new members to our association.
Thank you all very much for being here today.