Buying and Selling

flag Cyprus Cyprus: Buying and Selling

In this page: Market Access Procedures | Reaching the Consumers | Distributing a Product | E-commerce | Organizing Goods Transport | Identifying a Supplier


Market Access Procedures

International Conventions
Member of the World Trade Organization (WTO)
Party to the Kyoto Protocol
Party to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal
Party to the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer
Party to the International Coffee Agreement
International Economic Cooperation
Cyprus is a member of the European Union, the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the World Trade Organization, the World Bank, the Commonwealth and the International Monetary Fund. It is also well represented by diplomatic missions in foreign countries.
Non Tariff Barriers
In accordance with its European Union membership since May, 1st of 2004, Cyprus applies the European Union trade policy like antidumping or anti-subsidy measures. The European Union import regime applies to Cyprus. If Cyprus has adopted the main part of the EU regulations on May, 1st of 2004, some transitional measures have been granted to the country regarding some EU rules like the freedom of movement for workers or cabotage inside some countries.
While the European Union has a rather liberal foreign trade policy, some products need import licenses. There are some restrictions, especially on farm products, following the implementation of the CAP (Common Agricultural Policy): the application of compensations on import and export of farm products, aimed at favouring the development of agriculture within the EU, implies a certain number of control and regulation systems for the goods entering the EU territory.
Some products entering Cyprus must be "CE" marked in respect of the European Directives adopted on the basis of the New Approach and the Global Approach. For further information, please consult the Guide to the Implementation of Directives based on New Approach and Global Approach.
Customs Duties and Taxes on Imports
Trade with Cyprus is totally free from customs duties, provided that the country of origin of the goods is one of the other 25 EU Member States. For the non-European countries, the applicable rate should be checked at the following website about EU Customs. You can also consult the Cyprus Integrated Tariff System.
The duties for non-European countries are relatively low, especially for manufactured goods (4.2% on average for the general rate), however textile, clothing items (high duties and quota system) and food-processing industry sectors (average duties of a 17.3% and numerous tariff quotas, PAC) still have protective measures.

Customs Classification
Since its accession to the European Union on May, 1st of 2004, Cyprus has adopted the EU Common External Tariff.
When the country of origin of the goods exported to Cyprus is not part of the European Union, customs duties are calculated Ad valorem on the CIF value of the goods, in accordance with the Common Customs Tariff (CCT). In order to get exhaustive regulations and customs tariffs regarding their products, exporters shall refer to the TARIC code and its database, which includes all applicable customs duties and all customs trade policy measures for all the goods. For further information, please consult the information document published by the European Commission about the impact of EU enlargement on customs policy.
Import Procedures
No customs duties are levied when industrial goods and agricultural products originating from one of the 27 EU Member States arrive on the Cyprus market. Trade between the EU and Cyprus consist of inter-community exchanges (acquisitions and deliveries). Only the VAT needs to be paid in the country of consumption of the product. Systematic controls of the goods at the borders are removed and carried outside the border if the country is concerned, subject to the rules applicable to certain sensitive goods. It is important to remember that the application of the European legal framework (acquis communautaire) is suspended in the north part of the country.

However, when intra-Community goods enter the Cyprus market, the exporter must necessarily fill a Trade of Goods Statement (DEB) or Intrastat declaration. As part of the "SAFE" standards set forth by the World Customs Organisation (WCO), the European Union has set up a new system of import controls, the "Import Control System" (ICS), which aims to secure the flow of goods at the time of their entry into the customs territory of the EU. This control system, part of the Community eCustoms Programme, has been in effect since 1 January 2011. Since then, operators are required to file an Entry Summary Declaration (ENS) with the customs of the country of entry, prior to the introduction of goods into the customs territory of the European Union.

Cypriot Customs requires the following documents for clearing products originating from non-EU countries: delivery order for the goods; an invoice; and a packing list. Various other documents according to the nature of each import will be required; please visit the Cyprus Customs and Excise Department's website for more information.

Importing Samples
Goods transiting Cyprus are not subject to duties. It is possible to obtain a  temporary duty exemption for items such as commercial samples and for goods intended for public displays at exhibitions or trade fairs.
For Further Information
Customs of Cyprus

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Reaching the Consumers

Marketing opportunities

Consumer Profile
Cyprus has a population of around 1.2 million people, with a GDP per capita estimated at USD 29,550 in 2021 by the IMF (around USD 6,000 lower than pre-crisis and the “Troika” economic bailout program levels).
Even though the whole of the island is part of the EU, the implementation of the European legislation has been suspended in the area administered by Turkish Cypriots, known locally as the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus" (TRNC), until political conditions permit the reunification of the island. The economy of the TRNC is market-based and it represents roughly one-fifth the size of Cyprus’. In this part of the island, consumer habits are more similar to those of Turkey.
Consumer Behaviour
Consumers’ behaviour has changed following the economic crisis. In fact, in recent years consumers have become more discerning, with people making more cautious and practical decisions about their purchases.
Nowadays, price is the main factor driving consumers buying process. In general, many companies are family-owned and Cypriots are attached to locally based products, although international brand names have successfully entered the market. Foreign brand names are particularly appealing to young generations.
Advertising methods for the local market have become sophisticated and the choice of available media is closer to that of other developed countries.
Consumers Associations
Cyprus Consumers Association
Consumer Protection Service
Main Advertising Agencies
INC Ideas
Aditude Advertising

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Distributing a Product

Evolution of the Sector
The retail sector is one of the most important clusters of the Cypriot economy, representing 27.4% of Cyprus’s GDP. While the retail market in Cyprus was growing slowly but surely over the years, this incremental growth was sharply halted when the economy of Cyprus found itself in a recession in 2009. Actually, the Cypriot retail market’s shrinking was partly the result of the economic crisis in Greece and the significant economic ties that Cyprus has with Greece. The Cypriot retail sector has also experienced a decline due to the Cypriot bailout agreement which led to the ‘haircut’ on bank savings in March of 2013. All clusters of the retail sector were affected: the retail of textiles and clothing experienced a decrease of 6.4%; the retail of electrical goods a 15% decrease; the retail of computer equipment and books a decrease of 6.3%. The fashion retail sector has also experienced dramatic consequences.

Most imported products and services are handled through agents and distributors.  While most agent agreements may not be exclusive, most distributor agreements are.  In some cases, a distributor may obtain an agreement to represent a company in both Cyprus and Greece and sometimes in countries of Eastern Europe as well.  There are several major local and European supermarket chains and a few department stores.  Most companies in Cyprus are relatively small, family-owned and operated firms, although there are some notable exceptions.  Big companies representing several brands have their own distribution centers based out of industrial areas of the major cities.  All products to Cyprus are shipped through Limassol port, which is operated by the Cyprus Ports Authority. 
Market share
According to one of the main Cypriot retailers, there are nearly 3,000 distribution points (ranging from grocery stores to hypermarkets) in Cyprus. Two types of distribution channels are booming in Cyprus:

  • chain stores like Metro or Marks & Spencers.
  • franchises, which have been very successful in recent years. Large American fast-food chains, international car rental companies, major clothing brands have established a presence in Cyprus through franchising. The same goes for mass retailers, especially the Carrefour Group.

The main players in the retail sector in Cyprus are AlphaMega, E&S, Metro, Kkolias and Lidl.

Retail Sector Organisations
Cyprus International Businesses Association
Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Cyprus Employers and Industrialists Federation
Cyprus Ministry of Finance

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Internet access
Cyprus has a relatively small population of around 1.17 million, of whom 79% use the internet. It is estimated that in 2017 69% of individuals in Cyprus accessed the internet daily or more frequently, with 74% connecting at least once a week (Statista). 88% of Cypriots connect through mobile phones, compared to 69% who use laptops and just 37% who use tablets (Cyprusnewsreport). Cyprus ranks 21st among the 28 EU nations on the European Commission’s latest digital scoreboard, the Digital Economy and Society Index (Desi) 2018.However, according to the EU Commission report only 43% of Cypriots possess at least basic levels of digital skills (a level which is lower than the EU average). The most popular web search engines in Cyprus are Google (96.5%), Bing and Yahoo (1.9% and 0.8% respectively).
E-commerce market
Data from Eurostat shows that only 24% of Cypriots aged between 16 and 74 made online purchases in 2017 (the EU 27 average is 48%). Web-based trade remains relatively small in Cyprus, but is growing steadily: most companies have their own websites, and online banking is becoming increasingly popular. However, according to the Desi report, only 34% of individuals in Cyprus are currently using e-banking services and 39% shop online. The main e-shops on the island are Amazon, eBay and BestBuyCyprus. Amazon remains the most popular cross-border webshop in Cyprus. Cypriot consumers buy online to find products that are not available in brick and mortar shops. Price convenience is also one of the main drivers when shopping online. Cyprus has one of the highest percentage of Facebook users in Europe, estimated at 94%. Instagram counts 610,000 users, with over 80% of them being between 18 and 44 years old. Mobile is the preferred platform for internet and social media users.

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Organizing Goods Transport

Main Useful Means of Transport
The main mean of transport used for the traffic of goods in the country is the sea.
The multi-purpose ports of Limassol and Larnaca are the country's main sea gateways for seaborne cargo and passenger traffic. Both ports have become important regional warehouse and distribution centres.
The Cyprus Ports Authority
Larnaca International Airport
Paphos International Airport
Sea Transport Organisations
Republic of Cyprus Maritime Centre
Air Transport Organisations
Department of Civil Aviation
Road Transport Organisations
Department of Road Transport

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Identifying a Supplier

Type of Production
The industry accounts for less than 20% of GDP. Cyprus has gradually moved from being an exporter of minerals and agricultural products in the seventies to an exporter of manufactured products in the eighties and finally to an international business centre nowadays.

Oil and gas exploration and all the energy sector is an interesting field of the economy where tenders are organized. The health sector is also developing as many projects are currently under way to modernize the system.

Business Directories

Multi-sector Directories
AngloInfo Cyprus - Cyprus business directory.
CCCI Members Directory - Directory of companies in Cyprus.
Cyprus IS - Business directory of Cypriot companies.
Cyprus Yellow Pages - Cyprus's business directory by category
Cyta - Cyprus's Yellow Pages

To search directories by industry in Cyprus, check out our service Business Directories.

Professional Associations by Sector
18 professional associations listed for Cyprus.
Trade Agencies and Their Representations Abroad
Chamber of Commerce and Industry
General Professional Associations
Cyprus Employers and Industrials Associations.

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Latest Update: April 2024