The EU welcomes Cyprus
GDP: €15,670 per head – the richest new member state
Key Industries: Tourism (22% of the island’s income)
Overview: Cyprus is an island in the eastern Mediterranean. The landscape varies between rugged coastlines, sandy beaches, rocky hills and forest-covered mountains. The Troodos Mountains in the centre of the island rise to almost 1950m (6400ft) and provide good skiing during the winter. Nicosia (Lefkosia), the capital of Cyprus, is situated at the heart of the Messaoria Plain. The old city has many quaint and ancient shops. Nicosia District extends westwards into the vine-covered Troodos Mountains, where magnificent forests and valleys feature hill resorts such as Kakopetria and Byzantine churches in Galata. Limassol (Lemesos) is the island’s main port and centre of the wine industry. In September the town has a wine festival, during which wine and food are served free. Cyprus is becoming established as a winter destination with both Platres and Kakopetria conveniently placed for the skiing season on Mount Olympus. Local dishes include kebabs (lamb or other meat skewered and roasted over a charcoal fire) and dolmas (vine leaves stuffed with minced meat and rice).
Economy: The southern, Greek-Cypriot region has a strong agricultural sector, producing fruit and vegetables, potatoes, barley, citrus fruit and grapes for export. However, the south’s principal exports are clothing, footwear and textiles, which dominate the region’s light manufacturing industry. Tourism is the main component of the southern service economy but in recent years financial services – including ‘offshore’ enterprises – have also assumed an important role. The UK’s sovereign military bases on the southern coast and near the partition boundary are a major source of revenue for the south. Economic development of the Turkish-controlled north – the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) – has been severely limited by lack of diplomatic recognition and it continues to rely heavily on economic support from Turkey. The profile of the TRNC’s agricultural sector is similar to that of the south; manufacturing is relatively insignificant; tourism relies heavily on visitors from the Turkish mainland. Both parts of the island rely on imported raw fuels for their energy supplies. The decision of the north to allow visits across the partition may presage the development of a cross-border economy, but this may take some time. This concession on the part of the north was driven mainly by the acceptance of the south into the European Union in 2004, as part of the wave of new entrants which will bring the EU up to 25 members. Turkey, which ultimately controls the fate of the northern part of Cyprus, is also an aspirant member of the EU, and a solution to the present division of the island is an essential precursor to their own accession. The EU accounts for the bulk of southern Cyprus trade; Lebanon, Egypt, the Gulf States and Libya are the other trading partners.
Commercial Information: The following organisation can offer advice: Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry, 38 Grivas Digenis Avenue, Chamber Building, PO Box 21455, 1509 Nicosia Tel: (22) 889 800, Fax: (22) 669 048, E-mail: email@example.com, website: www.ccci.org.cy.