President of Cyprus Anastasiades made speech in the seminar ‘One Belt, One Road’ in Nicosia

Nicos Anastasiades

President Nicos Anastasiades

Approximately one month after his official visit in China and his meeting with President Xi Jinping,  President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades paid particular attention to the organisation of the seminar: ‘One Belt, One Road: The Chinese connection and why Cyprus should be included’. This seminar took place in Nicosia on 9 November 2015. His address was read by the Government Spokesman, Mr Nikos Christodoulides

The speech was the following: 

‘It is with great pleasure that I address today the opening of the seminar entitled “One Belt, One Road; The Chinese Connection and why Cyprus should be included”. I can only express my satisfaction with the fact that this seminar takes place less than a month after I completed a highly successful and, indeed, very fruitful visit to China.

China and Cyprus have been tested and trusted friends and partners for decades. During my recent visit to China, I had the honour to meet with the President of China, His Excellency Mr Xi Jinping, as well as with the Vice President, Mr Li Yuanchao, and we had the opportunity to have very productive discussions about ways for further promoting and enhancing our cooperation at both the bilateral and multilateral levels.  The objective of my visit to China was not only to reaffirm the excellent political relations between the two countries, but also to take advantage and build upon it to strengthen our economic relationship as well.

It is for this reason that two business forums were organised during my visit, with the participation of many businessmen from both countries. One business forum was held in Beijing, organised by the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and one forum was held in Shanghai, organised by the Cyprus Land and Building Developers Association. Both forums outlined Cyprus’ competitive advantages, capabilities and opportunities for Chinese companies eager to invest and promote business. Furthermore, it was also outlined that Cyprus, as a member state of the European Union, offers very attractive benefits and opportunities for Chinese companies to establish their activities and production units in Cyprus.

Taking this opportunity, I would like to reiterate that my Government’s aim is to continuously support the development of business and economic relations between Cyprus and China in many sectors of the economy, including commerce, tourism, privatisation of ports, electricity and telecommunications, shipping, real estate, large-scale development projects, education, health, research and innovation. Towards this end, my Government will offer all necessary assistance in supporting and facilitating efforts to effectively creating and developing investments and business operations.

At the same time, I feel obliged to stress that my Government is currently implementing a series of measures which include the simplification of procedures for the faster issuing of permits and licensing of investment projects and operation of businesses, as well as the speedier granting of residence permits to foreign investors.  In addition, we are taking measures to simplify procedures of visa application so as to make it easier for Chinese tourists to visit our beautiful island. To this end, we have chosen a private provider through a tender competition, in order to establish a number of authorized visa application centers in Chinese cities, five at first stage and fifteen in total, where there is no Cypriot diplomatic or consular representation. This process will start towards the end of 2015.

My visit to China provided also an excellent opportunity to explain how Cyprus, with its unique geographical location and strong experience in providing financial services, can be an active player in promoting the values of the Silk Road Initiative, an ambitious project which was initiated by the Chinese President, covering a geographical region that stretches from East Asia to Europe and seeking to create a mutually beneficial framework, connecting the vibrant East Asia economic circle at one end and the European economic circle at the other.

In this regard, I have already stressed that Cyprus has many reasons to believe that the Initiative constitutes a great vision which provides the impetus needed to break the current economic stagnation by attracting investments, combating unemployment and addressing under-development. It is an Initiative which establishes a new framework for cooperation and development and sets the ground for stability, peace and prosperity. It sets the ground for extensive cooperation between the interested parties in the trade and economic field, for the promotion of people-to-people contacts in order to establish a mutually beneficial relation.

The values of the ancient Silk Road are still contemporary and can play a leading role in paving the way for a better future for our peoples. Today, perhaps more than any other time in the past, we need to strive together for more cooperation, more mutual understanding and more development. This Initiative is certainly a step to that direction. To this end, the Government of Cyprus stands ready to cooperate closely with our Chinese, Asian and European partners in effectively supporting this Initiative, especially in successfully promoting the aims and values of the Silk Maritime Road as a key transit island of the Silk Road Maritime Trade Routes.

The organisation of this seminar is an excellent initiative that gives the opportunity to promote cooperation between the business communities of Cyprus and China.Allow me to congratulate the organisers and to wish every success in the deliberations of the seminar. I have no doubt that all participants are looking forward to a productive discussion and a useful exchange of views’.

Source: Presidency of the Republic of Cyprus