NEW YORK – The informative event titled Cyprus: Untapped Business Potential took place on November 15 at EisnerAmper in New York City. The breakfast meeting offered insights from a distinguished group of professionals as to why and how Cyprus should be the cornerstone for the U.S. in any commercial strategy focusing on the European, African and Middle East (EMEA) markets.
At the breakfast, attendees met with representatives of technology, legal and financial services, higher education, and research and innovation companies that are based in Cyprus and are actively looking to network with U.S. companies to explore strategic relationships, access to growth capital, and possible products/services collaboration. The event showcased many aspects of Cyprus’ untapped business potential.
In addition to the obvious geographic advantages, the experts from Cyprus shared specific reasons and initiatives, already in place by the government, to position and support Cyprus as the preferred destination to establish, operationalize, and grow a commercial strategy targeting the EMEA region.
The event was brought to the U.S. by the American Chamber of Commerce in Cyprus (AmCham Cyprus), the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) based in Nicosia, and the Ministry of Energy, Commerce and Industry. The effort sought to help those organizations to expand their respective markets, create new opportunities for business development, and assist and establish a justifiable business relationship between U.S. and Cypriot enterprises.
Laura Neroulias Bisiotis gave the welcoming remarks, thanking all those present for attending, including AmCham Cyprus, CCCI, the Ministry of Energy, Commerce and Industry, and the Cyprus Embassy Trade Center in New York. She also thanked Michael Hadjiloucas and EisnerAmper for the use of their space for the meeting, Christos Bisiotis of the CB Concepts for the catering, and The National Herald for covering the event. She also served as the moderator of the discussion.
“Today is all about Cyprus, some of you are very familiar with Cyprus and some of you are going to be learning today a little bit more about what it means to invest in Cyprus,” Neroulias Bisiotis noted and then introduced the speakers.
In his remarks, CCCI President Christodoulos Angastiniotis said: “Our presence here today in the city that never sleeps, showcases our commitment and willingness to enhance and build stronger trade relations. Cyprus and the U.S. share a rich history of friendship and collaboration and as we stand in a new era marked by technological advancements it is imperative that we seize and capitalize on the opportunities that lie before us. Our nations have the potential to forge partnerships that will not only drive economic growth but also contribute to the global landscape of innovation. Cyprus with its strategic location, skilled workforce, and the commitment to innovation is turning into a tech hub for many international companies. It offers a stable and business-friendly environment making it an attractive destination for investments in various circles. Cyprus with its agile business environment and commitment to providing a platform for innovation is poised to be a valuable partner for American businesses seeking international expansion. Our government is dedicated to facilitating a seamless business environment and to welcome American finance and investors to explore the numerous opportunities that Cyprus has to offer.”
Lia Riris, AmCham Cyprus Department of International and Public Relations, noted that the event was “all about synergies” and “our aim here today is to promote relations between the U.S. and Cyprus.” She urged everyone to network at the event and then shared a brief history of AmCham Cyprus which was “launched in 1996 under the CCCI as the Cyprus American Business Association and over the years we evolved into becoming an AmCham.”
Riris continued: “In 2008, we joined the U.S. Chamber, in 2011 we joined AmChams in Europe and now we’re currently a big organization with 100 members. I think that sounds a bit small for you guys, however, for Cyprus standards it is not, 100 companies, most of them are of U.S. interests or representing U.S. interests in Cyprus.”
“Our priorities are, of course, our member engagement, we are on a voluntary basis… we try to increase our extroversion, become the key contact point for American companies in Cyprus, so we come quite often to the States trying to promote business between our two countries,” she said. “We do advocacy… and we have excellent relations with the U.S. Embassy, government, officials in Cyprus, the Chamber… so we are quite well-established on the island. We have a few priorities as a Chamber, one of these is the visa waiver program, unfortunately, Cypriots still need a visa to enter the States, it is a very easy process and a ten-year visa, however, we’re looking to join the visa waiver program for ease of travel.”
Another of AmCham’s priorities “is the double tax treaty,” Riris noted. “We do have one with the States, however we would like to re-establish it and look at the terms again… we’re working on a social security exchange agreement and a big issue for us is flight connectivity, which is quite difficult in Cyprus, you either need to fly to Greece or somewhere else in Europe… however we are working on it as we believe this will promote business between the two countries.”
In his remarks, Trade Commissioner of the Republic of Cyprus Aristos Constantine noted that “relations between Cyprus and the U.S. are excellent overall, as related to trade specifically, total exports to the U.S. are up by more than 33 percent from the previous year… and that is almost double what it was pre-pandemic in 2019.”
“The technology and communication sector in Cyprus has seen a 600 percent increase in investment over the last few years with one of the most highly educated populations in the EU, Cyprus’ fast-growing tech, innovation, and research sector have created a density of talent that has transformed Cyprus into a very competitive location for high tech business,” Constantine said.
Also sharing their insights at the event were Edward Reitler, Senior Partner of Reitler, Kailas & Rosenblatt LLC, an industry leader in mergers and acquisitions, venture capital, securities, fund formation, and Dr. S. Vincent Grasso, DO, MSIS, MBA, Al Research Professor and Forbes Technology Council, an expert in information technology, health sciences, and business.
A discussion followed, moderated by Neroulias Bisiotis, with panelists from Cypriot companies including CL8 CEO and Chairman Peter Economides, Consultics CEO Stefanos Nicolaou, IPM Managing Director Achilleas Kolonas, and GZG Banking, Financial and Transaction Advisor Marios Anastasiou. Treppides Founder and Chairman Kikis Treppides and Infocredit Group Managing Director Theodoros Kringou also joined in the discussion which was followed by a Q&A session.