Cyprus-Austria Economic Forum discusses potentials for expanding cooperation

Cyprus-Austria Economic Forum discusses potentials for expanding cooperation

Economic and business relations between Cyprus and Austria, dating back six decades, could be enhanced and expanded to cover more fields, an economic forum addressed by the Austrian President Heinz Fischer, in Nicosia, showed on Wednesday.

The Cyprus-Austria Economic Forum was organised by the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) and Advantage Austria, Austria`s official international business promotion service, on the occasion of President Fischer`s official visit to Cyprus.

Addressing the Forum, President Fischer elaborated on the “chances and possibilities and good preconditions for intensifying our economic cooperation in the interest of both sides”.

He said that Austria and Cyprus, “have many things in common and have good prerequisites”, noting that the two countries are both part of the European culture, they both stand for European values, both of them are democracies and have complicated history.

CCCI President Phidias Pilides noted that Cyprus and Austria have numerous common objectives and goals, stressing that to date, the trade relations between the two countries are satisfactory, but given the excellent political and friendly relations, they can expand to much higher levels.

Indicatively, he mentioned that during the period between January–June 2015, the exports of Cyprus to Austria amounted to 6,5 million euros of which 5,2 million euros are domestic exports showing an increase of 38.0%, compared to the same period of last year. During the same period, Austrian exports to Cyprus amounted to 17,5 million euros, showing no significant increase, he said.

“Despite the above-mentioned performance, we foresee a greater scope for cooperation, since the Cypriot economy is recovering and it is emerging from its recent crisis. New areas of cooperation are appearing and is up to our respective business communities to explore and exploit them. Energy is one and we know very well that Austria is particularly advanced in the Renewable Energy sector. On its part, Cyprus needs to invest more in this area, hence we have in front of us a concrete business opportunity”.

Pilides said that the cooperation between Cyprus and Austria can be extended and cover, apart from energy, other areas as well, such as tourism, industry, technology and innovation.

He also noted that the two countries can develop business partnerships targeting other markets of their region. “For example, business partnerships between the two countries could penetrate emerging markets of the Middle East and North Africa where Cyprus is well connected. At the same time, with Austria, being in the heart of Europe and very close to many Eastern European countries, similar partnerships can serve as the gateway for jointly developed products and services”.

Secretary General of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber (WKO) Anna Maria Hochhauser stressed that “Cyprus and Austria have been economic partners for decades and there is great potential for further increasing our trade and relations”.

She noted that Austrian companies have proven to be reliable partners for the Cyprus economy.

As she said, Austria buys large quantities of dairy products from Cyprus and is among the world top five buyers of hallumi cheese and that the same applies when it comes to citrus fruits, with Austria being number two when it comes to Cyprus lemons.

According to Hochhauser “Cyprus has also become a trading hub for Austrian companies wanting to do business in the Middle East using the expertise and contacts of their Cypriot partners”. She described this as a “really encouraging development and it is a real win win situation and hopefully it will expand further”.

She also said that there is a growing exchange of services between the two countries. Last year more than twenty three thousand Austrians came to Cyprus for their vacation, increasing by 40% from the previous year.