On 4 October 2019 Kyriacos Kourtellos attended the seminar held by the International Law Association (Cypriot Branch) on Cyprus as a Regional Trade and Financial Services Centre: Opportunities and Risks. The programme addressed the transition of Cyprus to a diverse business centre, a strategic location for trade and shipping, and an asset management jurisdiction.
Cyprus has long been a fundamental, geostrategic location as the third largest island in the Mediterranean crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa. Organisations ranging from private or family businesses, startups and multinationals establish headquarters in Cyprus. As a member of the European Union since 2004 and the Eurozone in 2008, Cyprus enhanced its role as robust and reliable destination for key players in various industries and sectors. Clients seek Cyprus for customized, cost-efficient solutions that will add value and a competitive advantage to their different needs.
The national tax framework and incentives as well as international or bilateral treaties with countries worldwide remain useful business structuring tools. Cyprus has 12.5% corporate tax rate, limitless tax structuring opportunities and contemporary banking infrastructure.
An appropriate Cypriot legal structure and financing vehicle can be used for shipping activities, and all ancillary matters. Important developments constantly reshape the shipping industry, which ultimately adapts to the new requirements. Particularly given the uncertainty of the future, the relevant players need custom-made, long-term solutions for their commercial operations.
Also, significant prospects for oil and gas investments have sparked interest in leading players of the energy industry. Bilateral agreements with Israel, Egypt and Lebanon have reinforced the importance of Cyprus as an energy hub of the region.
Importantly, Alternative Investment Funds have picked up substantial momentum as a vehicle of choice for investors and fund managers. The recently revised applicable legislation provides an expedited process for establishing Registered Alternative Investment funds, without authorization by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission: provided that they are externally managed by an alternative investment fund manager.
In addition, the relevant value of real estate and construction projects along with the efficient Citizenship Investment Programme are substantial encouragement for HNWIs requiring to relocate with their families and operate through Cyprus.
To sum up, Cyprus strives to enhance its position amongst the pre-eminent international business hubs. It is quickly building on its reputation as a destination of choice for individuals and companies seeking to establish their headquarters at a business friendly location.