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Forging closer ties with Germany: Interview with the German ambassador to Cyprus Nikolai von Schoepff

German Ambassador Nikolai von Schoepff addressing a reception attended by President Nicos Anastasiades

By Andrestinos Papadopoulos

As one of your objectives is to increase economic co-operation between the two countries do you have any specific plans on achieving this?
I maintain excellent and personal contacts with a considerable number of major private sectors players in Cyprus and in Germany.
One of my aims is to revitalise our Cyprus-Germany Business Association with an active Cypriot businessman as president and a number of active Cypriot and German companies. In the longer term, this could possibly result in the founding of a bilateral chamber of commerce.

A large proportion of Cyprus imports are from Germany, do you see any opportunities for Cyprus to increase its exports to Germany? In what type of Cypriot products might there be interest in Germany?
By the end of November 2015 the imports from Germany to Cyprus represented 7.1 per cent of all imports while exports to Germany were 3.3 per cent of all exports. Chemical products, especially pharmaceuticals, constitute the major proportion of Cyprus’ exports. Germany could have an interest in this sector. We would assume there is also an interest in more agricultural products.

I am sure you were impressed to see the large number of German cars on Cyprus´ roads. Apart from Germany of course what other countries have such a large proportion of German cars?
Beside Japan, Germany is generally the leading producer of cars. Germany’s main exports are machinery and cars, accounting for around 17 per cent of all shipments. Most German cars are exported elsewhere in Europe. There is also high demand in North America and in Asia. We find a large proportion of German cars in China. Just as in other EU member states and the USA, there is considerable on the spot production of German cars in China.

Germany is renowned for its sound management of the economy. What should the Cyprus government be doing to ensure the long-term health and soundness of its economy? Do you have any suggestions that you think could make a difference?
It is essential to pursue the reform and adjustment path Cyprus has been following with the help of its international lenders for almost three years now. Here, I completely agree with Finance Minister Harris Georgiades and the IMF. Besides this, an investor friendly environment should actively be created with a view to the wider region of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Near East.

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