Overseas Business Risk – Cyprus

Information on key security and political risks which UK businesses may face when operating in Cyprus.

Political and Economic

More information on political risk, including political demonstrations, is available in FCO Travel Advice.

Business and Human Rights

All workers in the Republic of Cyprus, except members of the police and military forces, have the legal right to form and join independent unions of their own choosing without prior authorization.  The law allows unions to conduct their activities without interference and although authorities have the power to curtail strikes in “essential services,” but this power is rarely used in practice. Antiunion discrimination is illegal. Although collective bargaining agreements (which cover approximately 60 % of workers) are not legally binding, their terms are generally observed by employers and employees. Workers covered by such agreements are predominantly in the larger sectors of the economy, including construction, tourism, the health industry, and manufacturing.

A number of domestic and international human rights groups operate without government restriction, investigating and publishing their findings on human rights cases. There is a government ombudsman, whose portfolio includes human rights, and a legislative committee on human rights:

Those seeking advice on the Human Rights and legal situation in north Cyprus should refer to the British High Commission Nicosia website.

Bribery and Corruption

Bribery is illegal. It is an offence for British nationals or someone who is ordinarily resident in the UK, a body incorporated in the UK or a Scottish partnership, to bribe anywhere in the world.

In addition, a commercial organisation carrying on a business in the UK can be liable for the conduct of a person who is neither a UK national or resident in the UK or a body incorporated or formed in the UK. In this case it does not matter whether the acts or omissions which form part of the offence take place in the UK or elsewhere.

In Cyprus, corruption in its various forms (active, and passive, public and private) constitutes a criminal offence punishable with imprisonment and pecuniary penalty. In addition to the Government’s efforts to combat corruption there is also a "Coordinating Body Against Corruption" chaired by the Attorney General and composed by private and public sector individuals.

According to the NGO Transparency International Corruption Perception Index (CPI) for 2013, Cyprus ranked 31 out of 177 countries. Cyprus scored 6.3 on a scale from 10 (Highly Clean) to 0 (Highly Corrupt)

According to the 2013 Index of Economic Freedom of the Heritage foundation Cyprus’s economic freedom score is 69, making its economy the 41st freest in the 2013 Index. Its overall score is down by 2.8 points from last year, with significant declines in seven of the 10 economic freedoms including financial freedom, labour freedom, and control of public spending. Cyprus is ranked 19th out of 43 countries in the Europe region. Cyprus registered the fourth largest score drop in the 2013 Index and fell from its previous status as one of the 20 freest economies primarily because of its worsening fiscal situation and declines in financial freedom.

The overall freedom to start, operate, and close a business is relatively well maintained within the regulatory framework. With no minimum capital requirement, it takes only seven days to launch a company.

However the report states that "Corruption is perceived as present”. Some foreign companies complain of a lack of transparency and possible bias in government consideration of competing bids. Hard statistics are unavailable however anecdotal evidence indicates that corruption and patronage appear to continue in the area of Cyprus not controlled by the Republic of Cyprus".

Research carried out locally among the Cypriot population indicates that the population believes the “corruption and patronage are present in the political sphere”

Read the information provided on our Bribery and corruption page.

Terrorism Threat

The Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure also provides protective security advice to businesses

There is an underlying threat from terrorism. Attacks, although unlikely, could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers.

Read the information provided on our Terrorism threat page.

Protective Security Advice

Read the information provided on our Protective security advice page.

Intellectual Property

Cyprus is a signatory to a number of Treaties and follows the latest Intellectual Property laws, bringing the country into line with the ‘acquis communautaire’ and the international Intellectual Property laws. The courts and authorities in Cyprus adhere strictly to the relevant provisions of the law so as to ensure the protection of intellectual property rights against piracy and infringement.

Protection for Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) may be obtained via independent registration in the Republic of Cyprus. For information on registering your Trademark in Cyprus, you should contact the Department of Registrar of Companies and Official Receiver – The Intellectual and Industrial Property Section.

Department of Registrar of Companies and Official Receiver

Xenios Building – Corner of Makarios Av. & Karpenisiou St

1427 Nicosia

Tel: 00357 22404367 / 00357 22404422

Fax: 00357 22304887

Email: deptcomp@drcor.mcit.gov.cy

Receiver, Intellectual and Industrial Property Section.

Read the information provided on our Intellectual Property page.

Organised Crime

As in many other major European countries, international organised criminal activity takes place in Cyprus, in particular linked to drugs and people trafficking. There has been government action to tackle these issues and the UK and Cyprus work closely together in this area.

Read the information provided on our Organised crime page.

More information is available on overseas business risk in a range of markets.

UK Trade & Investment Contact:

Elena.Orphanidou@fco.gov.uk

Countries: Cyprus
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