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Greek shipowners urge closer ties with Cyprus shipping community

Greek shipowners urge closer ties with Cyprus shipping community
Union of Greek Shipowners president, Theodore Veniamis has called for closer co-operation and the further development of synergies between the Greek and Cypriot shipping communities.

The call comes as Greek owners mull relocating the seat of their operations from Greece as the European Commission continues to mumble about certain aspects of Greek tax law and their incompatibility with EU competition law.

It is well know Cyprus is among the top locations Greeks are considering, with the USG president said to be among those with a Plan B should the EC gets it way and force a part re-write of the Greek constitution and its protection of the tax regime.

Speaking at the Cyprus Shipping Industry Conference last week, Veniamis noted Cyprus and Greece, “two relatively small European countries” have “an age-old tradition in shipping”.

“Although we may be keen business competitors in the international arena, we see eye-to-eye on most shipping policy issues. The combination of our knowledge and common approach on shipping matters of high importance can yield further valuable political and economic results for both nations at European and international level,” he said.

He said both countries have a rich maritime heritage and continue to be forerunners in the international maritime arena, thus, contributing to the welfare of our two nations.

“Our dynamic presence is a guarantee for the future. In this context, we should pursue our co-operation both at governmental and commercial level in order to achieve our common goals and mainly the competitiveness of our shipping industries which are closely connected with the welfare of our nations.

“We also look forward to a united front regarding the ongoing examination by the European Commission of various tonnage tax regimes vis-à-vis the Guidelines on State Aid to Maritime Transport.

“Traditionally, the Greek shipping community has kept its options open concerning the issue of flag and centre of activities. All the more so, in difficult times like the present ones. Cyprus has always been a major such option for Greek shipowners. Apart from its well-functioning maritime legislation and cluster, it offers the vicinity to Greece in geographical terms and mentality.

“The figures are impressive: 290 vessels, representing about 35% of the Cypriot registry in terms of number of vessels or about 59% in terms of dwt belong to Greek-owned interests.”

He said because of this the Greek shipping community follows with great interest the achievements of the Cyprus shipping industry.

“The approval of the Cyprus tonnage tax by the European Commission and the recent tax initiatives offered to non-national investors, create a positive climate for entrepreneurship in Cyprus and give new impetus to the competitiveness of your shipping sector,” said Veniamis.

The UGS president went on: “We also understand there are positive developments in the ongoing dialogue between the two communities in Cyprus. A solution of the maritime embargo would give a major boosting to trade by sea in the Eastern Mediterranean and Black Sea as well as to the prospects of the Cypriot flag.”