Exporting guide to Cyprus

Overview

Cyprus is an island with a population of about one million people. Its strategic geographic location, at the corner of the eastern Mediterranean, between Europe, Asia and Africa, enhances its role as a regional business and trading hub. Cyprus enjoys close and strong links with UK at multiple levels. Overall, the Cyprus market is mature, competitive and price sensitive.

Trade statistics

£1.4 billion total UK exports to Cyprus for the four quarters to the end of Q1 2022

(Source: ONS UK total trade: all countries, seasonally adjusted
Last updated: July 2022)

53rd largest UK export market

(Source: ONS UK total trade: all countries, seasonally adjusted
Last updated: July 2022)

0.2% of total UK exports for the four quarters to the end of Q1 2022

(Source: ONS UK total trade: all countries, seasonally adjusted
Last updated: July 2022)

Strong links with the UK

The UK and Cypriot business cultures are similar and English is widely spoken. Cyprus is a member of the Commonwealth and a common law jurisdiction. The UK's major accounting firms dominate the Cypriot financial and accounting sectors.

About 1% of the Cypriot population studies in the UK every year. Some 60,000 British nationals reside on the island and one third of the tourists visiting every year come from the UK.

Economy

The economy is small, open and traditionally robust with a known ability to adjust quickly to challenges.

It is dominated by the service sector and has a small successful industrial sector, focused mainly on the production of pharmaceuticals and dairy products. Cyprus is the largest ship management centre and has the third largest fleet in the EU.

Trade

The UK is a important trading partner for Cyprus. UK exports to Cyprus cover most sectors and services. British brands and labels are widely known and highly valued.

Top five UK goods exported to Cyprus, in the four quarters to the end of Q1 2022

Goods Value (£million)
Cars 61.9
Beverages 18.6
Ships 18.5
Miscellaneous electrical goods (intermediate) 13.6
Other manufactures (consumer) 13.0

Source: ONS Trade in goods: country-by-commodity exports
Last updated: July 2022
Download the latest trade and investment factsheet for Cyprus.

Top five UK services exported to Cyprus, in the four quarters to the end of Q1 2022

Service Value (£million)
Other Business Services 278.0
Telecommunications, computer and information services 240.0
Travel 236.0
Financial 152.0
Personal, Cultural and Recreational 113.0

Source: ONS UK trade in services: service type by partner country, non-seasonally adjusted
Last updated: July 2022
Download the latest trade and investment factsheet for Cyprus.

Cyprus: at a glance

Economic growth

5.5%

Actual figure (IMF, 2021)
The UK is 7.4% (IMF, 2021, projected figure)

GDP per capita

$27,784

Actual figure (IMF, 2020)
The UK is $41,127 (IMF, 2020, projected figure)

Business language

Greek, but English is widely spoken

Time zone

GMT +2

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Opportunities for exporters

As an island economy, Cyprus is heavily reliant on imports of goods and services. There are opportunities for UK companies across a broad range of industries. Our trade advisers in Cyprus have identified particular opportunities for UK businesses in the following sectors.

Check for trade barriers

Trade barriers, such as tariffs or taxes, can raise costs, cause delays, or even stop you from exporting. Check for any issues that may impact your business when exporting.

See current trade barriers

See resolved trade barriers

Check duties and customs

Find information on how to export goods from the UK. View the duties, rules, restrictions, and the documents you need for your products.

See current duties and customs procedures

Doing business in Cyprus

Preparing to Export

VAT

The standard VAT rate is 19%. There are reduced rates of 9%, 5% and 0% on specific goods and services.

Import duties

Check with the Cyprus Customs and Excise Department and with HM Revenue and Customs for details.

Corporate tax

All companies are subject to a uniform tax rate of 12.5%.

Income tax

The UK and Cyprus have signed a Double Taxation Agreement ensuring the same income is not taxed in more than one country.

Operating in Cyprus

Routes to market

A local partner will provide useful market knowledge, especially if you're bidding for government tenders as these are normally issued in Greek.

Business may be carried out:

  • directly from the UK
  • by appointing a local agent or distributor
  • by setting up a local branch or office
  • through franchising
  • through a joint venture or consortium
  • by electronic commerce

Intellectual property

Intellectual property (IP) rights are territorial and rights granted in the UK do not provide protection elsewhere. You should consider getting IP protection abroad if you want to trade overseas or sell to overseas customers via the internet.

The Intellectual Property Office provides practical information to help you protect, manage and enforce your IP abroad. Further support for British businesses can be found through a network of IP attachés, based in key UK export markets.

Legal considerations

The legal system is based on English common law principles. Cyprus has adopted all EU law and regulations known as the acquis communautaire.

Contact the DIT team in Cyprus to help find tax and legal advisers before entering into agreements.

The Cyprus Bar Association can also provide lists of local lawyers.

Challenges

When operating in Cyprus you must take into account:

  • slow bureaucratic procedures
  • most tender procedures for government projects are carried out exclusively in the Greek language
  • local importers usually require exclusivity of representation and coverage of the entire territory

Next steps

DIT can advise you on doing business abroad, and help put you in touch with other people who can help such as lawyers and distributors.