Wednesday, 27 Nov 2013
Defence and security sector in Cyprus
The Republic of Cyprus has been a full EU member since 2004 and in July 2012 Cyprus will take over the rotating Presidency of the EU for six months. The UK has had an excellent general trade relationship with the country with UK exports of goods to Cyprus in 2011 reaching £668m. Cyprus ranks 44th export market for the UK. However for the export of defence and security equipment it is important to understand the regional situation.
There are opportunities on Cyprus for UK security companies. However, in terms of potential defence exports it is important UK companies understand the need to get the necessary export licence clearances given the regional situation. Negotiations remain ongoing to bring about a political settlement to the division of the island following the Turkish military intervention of 1974.The UK Government strongly supports the UN led negotiation process. The north of the island which is not controlled by the Republic of Cyprus was self declared as “the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus” (“TRNC”) in 1983. Formal recognition is prohibited by UN resolution, so the only country that currently recognises the so called “TRNC” is Turkey. Trading of goods and services between the north and UK is kept under review.
Should a UK defence and security company want UKTI support in marketing their products to the Republic of Cyprus they should apply for an MOD Form 680 well in advance.
The defence and security sector in Cyprus is made up of the National Guard and the Cyprus Police. They face a number of challenges due to the islands position in the Eastern Mediterranean notably from illegal immigration. There may be opportunities for UK companies to assist Cyprus develop law enforcement and search and rescue capabilities in particular.
Defence and security equipment in service on Cyprus has traditionally been supplied by France and Russia. However UK companies may find opportunities in terms of providing spares and assisting in the delivery of niche security capabilities.
The Cyprus National Guard comprises the Army, Navy and Air Force of Cyprus:
The Land Force is formed of brigades of infantry and one of armoured vehicles.
The Navy is formed from fast patrol and assault boats, coastal surveillance, coastal batteries and underwater demolition units.
The Air Force is largely comprised of helicopters and anti-aircraft units.
The Cyprus Police is composed of 4,500 personnel and constitutes a range of capabilities:
Mobile Action Unit for tackling natural disasters and terrorism
Port and Marine Police focus on combating illegal immigration, drugs and arms smuggling and port security.
Police Air Wing (Search and rescue helicopters)
Fire Service (650 personnel)
There may also be broader opportunities for UK security companies in the marine sector in Cyprus. Cyprus operates the 3rd largest merchant fleet in the EU (10th in the World) and runs the biggest fleet management centre in the whole of Europe. The global threat from piracy in international waters has recently led to a new proposal to the Cyprus House of Representatives for ships crews to carry weapons to defence themselves.
There are a number of small opportunities for companies in Cyprus which are either ongoing or expected in the future. For example:
vehicle spare parts
search and rescue helicopter training
plans to develop a prison on a PPP basis (this project is currently on hold)
forensic work related to 1974 conflict
Other opportunities will be advertised by BHC Nicosia when known.
Getting into the market
Security companies can download the booklet “doing business in Cyprus” for general information. BHC Nicosia can assist with market reports, agent information and arranging meetings with key personnel in Cypriot Government. This would be chargeable under the Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS).
Market intelligence is critical when doing business overseas, and UKTI can provide bespoke market research and support during overseas visits though our chargeable Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS).
To commission research or for general advice about the market, get in touch with our specialists based overseas - or contact your local international trade team.
Elena Orphanidou Rhodes, Head of Trade and Investment, British High Commission Nicosia. Tel: 00 357 22861340.
UKTI runs a range of events for exporters, including seminars in the UK, trade missions to overseas markets and support for attendance at overseas trade shows.