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Finance Minister says Cyprus' EU accession good for business
2002-09-30 10:27:10

By Apostolis Zoupaniotis -- New York, Sep 28 (CNA) - Cyprus' accession to the European Union will enhance the island's position as a reputable international financial and business centre and open promising business opportunities for dynamic and outward looking enterprises from the United States, Minister of Finance Takis Klirides told an audience of Greek American bankers last night in New York.

Speaking at a meeting of the Hellenic American Bankers Association, at the Princeton Club of New York, Klirides expressed the belief that there will be a positive assessment next month for Cyprus and the other nine candidate for EU accession countries, by the European Commission, and a confirmation of this positive assessment by the European Council in Copenhagen.

He said ''the most likely date of accession of Cyprus to the EU is January 1st, 2004''.|

Klrides gave the audience a background on the Cyprus issue and the latest developments. He underlined that regardless the flexible stance adopted by the Greek Cypriot side and the sincere efforts by the UN, the EU and the US, Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot side have, up to now, prevented a solution of the Cyprus problem.

''The forthcoming accession of Cyprus to the EU provides a golden opportunity for a just and viable solution of the Cyprus problem. The government of Cyprus is determined to continue working hard towards achieving this goal. We do hope that Turkey will change its stance and work towards a solution of the Cyprus problem within an EU framework, thus facilitating also the realisation of its own strategic goal for integration into the EU'', Klirides said.

The Minister presented some of the structural changes that took place in the Cyprus economy over the past years. ''Cyprus' economy has been diversifying in favour of the financial and other business services, which display an increasing share in GDP contribution'', he said.

He added that ''the telecommunications and the computer and related activities sectors, which comprise the new economy sector, exhibited double digit growth rate''.

Klirides underlined that ''Cyprus' economy has proven itself capable of successfully coping with the emerging challenge of globalisation and intensified competition''.

''It has also coped, in a satisfactory manner, with the deterioration of the external environment during 2001, after the September 11 events. On the whole, the Cyprus economy has performed well and holds promising prospects over the medium term'', Klirides added.

He furthermore described as ''limited'' the present economic relations between Cyprus and the USA, although ''there is substantial potential for further development of economic relations''.

Possible areas of such improvement include the new digital economy, tourism, university and college education, and tertiary health. Moreover, he added, ''Cyprus can serve as an administration base and a stepping-stone for entrepreneurs, wishing to enter or expand their operations in the Middle East markets and the markets of the former socialist countries in Central and Eastern Europe''.

He also mentioned that the successful performance of the Cyprus economy has found due recognition in the various reports of the EU, the International Monetary Fund, and international rating organisations.

The Minister of Finance explained how the forthcoming accession of Cyprus to the EU will enhance its position as a reputable international financial and business centre and open promising business opportunities for dynamic and outward looking enterprises from the United States.

''In the framework of its preparation for accession to the EU'', he told the Greek American bankers, ''Cyprus is implementing wide-ranging structural reforms, which enhance macroeconomic stability in Cyprus and lead to the creation of new business opportunities for dynamic investors''.

He added that ''public infrastructure projects, renewable energy, telecommunications, e-government, and new economy are among the areas of interest to foreign investors'', he concluded.

Klirides is departing today for Washington DC, for the annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund.

Yesterday, he visited Wall Street, where he met with Vice President of the New York Stock Exchange George Eugeu and the Managing Director for International Relations George Sierrant.

Klirides was accompanied by President of the Cyprus Stock Exchange Pavlos Savvides.

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