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Imports and Exports in Cyprus

Imports and Exports in Cyprus

Cyprus’ geographical position enabled it to become a very important trading channel between three continents: Europe, Africa, and Asia. Cyprus’ economy was cataloged by the World Bank as a high-income economy and it is considered one of the world’s most advanced economies.

Cyprus relies on the trading industry which keeps a balance between imports and exports in the country.

Below, our lawyers in Cyprus explain the import and export procedures applicable in this country. In order to complete import and export activities in Cyprus, one must first register a company. Our lawyers can also help investors interested in setting up trading companies in Cyprus.

Licensing requirements for import and export activities in Cyprus

As a country which relies on the trading industry, Cyprus has strict regulations when it comes to importing and exporting goods. Trading activities in Cyprus must undergo specific licensing procedures which imply obtaining import and export licenses for bringing, respectively taking goods outside the country. As an EU member state, Cyprus benefits from various advantages when it comes to trading activities within the boundaries of the European Union.

There are several categories of products which need to be obtained import and export licenses for, otherwise Cypriot companies will be banned for bringing or taking them out.

The following licenses need to be obtained when importing and exporting goods in/from Cyprus:

  • for agricultural products and pesticides, a license from the Department of Agriculture must be obtained;
  • for agricultural products, phytosanitary licenses are also necessary from the country of origin;
  • for animal and animal products, an import license from the Veterinary Authority is required;
  • for live animals, such as pets, a health certificate must be obtained, additionally, they must be microchipped;
  • for other goods for human consumption, other health certificates are necessary;
  • for cosmetic products, an import license must be obtained, however, no other certificates are required.

Special requirements apply when importing or exporting firearms in/from Cyprus. Our Cypriot lawyers can offer more information on the licenses which need to be obtained in the case of special categories of products.

Imports in Cyprus

Cyprus’ imports rely on oil-based products the most, but also on agricultural products. A ranking of all products imported by Cyprus would put refined petroleum on the first place occupying 26% of the country’s total imports. On the following places in similar percentages, we find passenger and cargo ships that represent about 6% of Cyprus’ imports and vehicles, cars parts, pharmaceuticals and copper wire that represent about 2% each. On a smaller scale, Cyprus imports crude petroleum, computers, broadcasting equipment, and textiles. Cyprus’ partner countries when it comes to imports are Greece, Turkey, and Israel. Cyprus imports almost 15% of its goods from Greece, and then Turkey and Israel supply about 8% of Cyprus’ total imported goods. Within the EU Cyprus imports from Italy, Germany, The United Kingdom and France close to 5% from each country, on smaller scale countries like Spain, Russia, The Netherlands, and China supplying about 3 or 4% of its imported goods.

When it comes to importing goods into Cyprus, the following documents need to be provided to the Customs Authorities:

  • the import document which must be prepared by the Customs Authorities of Cyprus or the agent of the company importing the products;
  • the import license and the insurance certificate which must accompany any type of imported product;
  • the certificate of inspection, where applicable or when the buyer requests such document;
  • the customs bod and legal undertaking which two documents accompanying products for which various customs duties exemptions apply.

There are also other documents to accompany imported products, among then the ATA Certificate is the most important one. This document is required when the imported goods are being brought by sea. It must contain the certificate of origin, information about the name and quantity of product, the commercial invoice, a certificate of free sale.

There also products which require special import licenses, among them being the electronic export certificate which is required when importing electronics into Cyprus

Exports in Cyprus

As with imports, Cyprus’ most exported product is refined petroleum that represents about 35% of the country’s total exports. Packaged pharmaceuticals represent the second most exported products by Cyprus with 7%. Passenger and cargo ships are the third on Cyprus’ export list and represent about 3%. In smaller percentages Cyprus exports gold, broadcasting equipment, and dairy products. Electrical devices are also added to Cyprus’ export list. As with imports, Greece is one of Cyprus’ main trading partners, as 15% of the country’s products are exported in Greece, but the first place on Cyprus’ exports is occupied by South Korea which imports about 20% of its goods from Cyprus. Other countries that import from Cyprus are The United Kingdom that imports about 6% of Cyprus’ products, Poland, Belgium and Germany that represent about 3% on Cyprus’ export list.

Export requirements in Cyprus

Just like in the case of imports, the export of goods from Cyprus will be subject to specific requirements. This time the documents will need to be prepared by the Cypriot companies sending the goods to other destinations.

The same documents which need to be issued when importing goods into Cyprus will be required by importers from other countries. However, most of the times the goods exported from Cyprus are destined for re-export purposes, meaning they are sent from Cyprus to other EU countries from where they are further exported. Depending on the country of origin, the company importing the goods from Cyprus could require additional documentation or certificates.

Customs procedures for imports in Cyprus

Cyprus follows the same protocol as other EU member states when it comes to customs procedures for imports. Cypriot customs procedures are relatively simple only few products requiring licenses or permissions from the authorities. For products imported from non-EU member states, companies delivering those products must register with the Customs Register by applying an electronic customs declaration. Imported products are subject to the Cypriot standard VAT rate of 17%, but certain categories of foods, medicines or printed materials are subject to a reduced rate of 5%.

All companies in the trading sector are required to register for EORI in Cyprus.

Why open a trading company in Cyprus?

For centuries, Cyprus has been seen as the gateway to Europe and from Europe to Asian countries. This is why starting a trading business here will be to the advantage of the business owner, no matter if he or she decides for a business which will act as an importer or exporter into and from Cyprus.

The Cypriot trading industry has several branches and those interested in starting businesses here can operate as FMCG companies, as freight forwarders or as storage and shipping companies and thus obtain various benefits. Also, trading in Cyprus implies having access to road, railway, airway but also seawater transportation means.

If you want to set up a company and need legal advice on the type of business that suits you better you can contact our law firm in Cyprus for details about the incorporation process. If you are a foreign investor and plan on opening a company in the trading sector in Cyprus, you can rely on our local law firm for complete assistance in registering your business.