At 69%, industrial products of manufacturing origin make up the largest share of the country’s total exports, and the largest revenue generator by far within this category are pharmaceutical products – accounting for 49%. Other products include cement at 14%, scrap paper and metal at 7%, and telecommunications equipment at 5%. The high proportion of small-to-medium-sized (SME) manufacturing enterprises means that companies have the flexibility both to respond quickly to changes in customer requirements and to adopt new production techniques. The highly educated Cypriot labour force – the island’s trump card – means that new technical skills can be rapidly assimilated, facilitating fast turn-around times.
The adoption of modern technologies has also brought with it quality improvements and longer product shelf-life, while the recent application of more targeted marketing techniques is opening up new customer bases. These factors all contribute to making Cyprus a highly attractive location for international companies seeking to use the island for both production and export purposes.
A growing area of export is in mineral fuels and oils, which jumped from zero in 2014 to €98 million in 2015, following the opening of the VTTV oil terminal in Vasilikos in late 2014. The company uses Cyprus as a terminal, blending its raw material and then exporting it to the rest of the world, but mainly to Lebanon (€28.8 million) and Israel (€16.6 million). Cyprus’ strategic location makes it the first terminal of its kind in the Eastern Mediterranean, connecting Europe and the Black Sea with markets in the Middle East and Asia. As a percentage of Cyprus’ GDP, petroleum is only worth 1%, but the industry has tremendous growth prospects with the country’s determination to establish itself as a key energy hub and a bastion of stability and security in the region.