Cyprus has a strong bilateral relationship with the UK, reflecting the two countries’ long historical ties, which date back to the 19th century. Today, the two countries maintain close links in the political, economic and cultural fields. These are enhanced further through the relationship between Cyprus and the UK, as members of the European Union and the Commonwealth.
Furthermore, Britain, one of the guarantor powers of Cyprus’ independence and territorial integrity, is committed to a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement in Cyprus.
The two countries maintain strong person-to-person contacts. It is estimated that there are around 270,000 Cypriots living in the UK and that approximately 12,000 Cypriot students are currently enrolled in British universities. At the same time, there are between 60,000 and 70,000 Britons living in Cyprus. Also more than a million British tourists visit the island every year, representing more than half of the overall number of tourist arrivals to Cyprus.
The UK is Cyprus’s third most significant trading partner. In 2011, the exports of Cyprus to the UK reached almost €56m whereas the UK exports to Cyprus were around €552m.
The main products exported to the UK were Halloumi cheese (€19m.), potatoes, (€7.3m.), other fresh or chilled vegetables (€5.5m.), citrus fruit, (€4.3m.), bentonite (€3.6m.), pharmaceutical products (€2m.) and aluminium bars, rods (€1.7m.). These exports represent a 9% share of the worldwide exports of Cyprus.
The UK exports to Cyprus consisted of petroleum products (€138m.), motor vehicles and parts (€127m.), clothing (€38m.), electrical machinery and devices (€29m.), other machinery and mechanical appliances (€26m.), beverages and spirits (€21m.), pharmaceutical products (€17m.) and tobacco products (€12m.).
Over the years, the UK has been a close trading partner to Cyprus, not just in goods but also in services, with the UK being in 2011 the most important partner in services for Cyprus.
Also, in 2011, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) flows from the UK into Cyprus amounted to €102m whereas Cyprus’ FDI into the UK was €18m. The major sectors, by economic activity, that attracted foreign investments were financial and insurance activities, real estate activities as well as various professional, scientific and technical activities.