The implementation of an Economic Diplomacy Strategic Framework will be launched at the beginning of 2021, Cyprus Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides, said on Wednesday.
Christodoulides underlined that “our strategic goals have to be related with further promoting exports, attracting direct foreign investments with high added value, supporting the internationalisation of Cypriot businesses, while particular emphasis needs to be placed on the promotion of a comprehensive Cyprus `brand` abroad.”
Speaking during a teleconference on “The Economic Diplomacy of Cyprus – Priorities and goals”, organised by the Nicosia Junior Chamber International (JCI), Christodoulides said that “we have just completed a study on Economic Diplomacy, that was funded by the European Commission. On the basis of this study we will confer with our partners during the next days, so that our strategy will take its final form, and its implementation will begin as of January 1st 2021.”
We have a draft which will be conveyed to each partner during the coming days, we will listen to their comments and come to a conclusion in order to be able to begin the implementation of the Strategic Framework, the Foreign Minister said.
At the same time, he noted, we aim to strengthen the institutional capacity of the Foreign Ministry by setting up certain structures and in this framework the Council of Ministers recently decided that the government will be represented in Invest Cyprus by the Foreign Ministry. He also said that enhancing the skills of diplomatic staff on issues of economic diplomacy is a priority, something which is done through workshops and seminars.
The Foreign Minister said that the “Strategic Framework will be determined jointly with our partners”, and noted that “aiming for our actions to be as effective as possible, the Strategy will focus on specific sectors and countries or geographic regions.” He went on to say that “as a small country we need to act in a targeted way, taking into consideration existing potential.”
As regards the fields of the economy on which Cyprus will focus, he said that efforts will involve traditional sectors which are globally competitive, such as tourism, shipping and business services.
At the same time, he added, emphasis will be given in emerging fields which are increasingly dynamic and extroverted, such as research and innovation, higher education, information and communication technologies, energy and investment funds.
As to the countries where action will be taken, the Minister said that attention should focus in the broader Eastern Mediterranean region and the Gulf countries. Further developing economic relations with the region`s countries can act as a factor of stability, he noted.
Moreover he said that that efforts to enhance business ties with Cyprus` traditional partners, both within the EU, but also with third countries, as the US and Russia, should continue, while markets such as Japan, India and China should also be exploited.
Christodoulides stressed that economic diplomacy is high on the Ministry`s priorities during recent years, and noted that economic issues are directly linked with security issues.
It is clear that with no strong economic relations there can be no strong political relations, he noted. The aim is through economic diplomacy to enhance our political relations with other states at a bilateral, regional and multilateral level, he said.
He noted that in cooperation with the Cypriot business and economic ecosystem they are looking into certain actions with a view to extend the economic relations of Cyprus with other states.
Christodoulides said that the aim is to promote a positive image of Cyprus, noting that the Finance Ministry, the Commerce Ministry, Cyprus` three Deputy Ministries, the Central Bank of Cyprus, the Chief Scientist, Cyprus Investment Promotion Agency, Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry and many business associations are part of this effort.
Referring to the exports of Cypriot products, the Foreign Minister said that the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia have shown a keen interest. Moreover he said that “we are working on a two-digit number of agreements with Saudi Arabia” and noted that the Gulf countries are a region where there are opportunities for Cyprus.
Responding to a question with regard to Turkey, he noted that one of the basic reasons for which some states are reluctant to have a stricter reaction by the EU towards this country are the strong economic ties with Turkey, which is a huge market.