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EU Accession-Taxation & Agriculture Pending

08/08/2001 09:21
Chief Negotiator for Cyprus' accession to the EU Georgos Vassiliou met with President Clerides yesterday, briefing him on the progress achieved by the country so far.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr. Vassiliou reported that out of the 29 chapters of the acquis Cyprus has provisionally closed 23 and 95% of the legislation already passed is being implemented.

Chapters which still require extensive work are those on taxation and agriculture. A team of experts will be visiting the island for discussions on tax issues, the findings of which will be examined in view of preparation of a package for submission to the House when it re-opens in October. Mr. Vassiliou stated that an increase of value added tax from 10% presently to 15% is necessary, as well as increase of indirect taxation and implementation of directives concerning offshore businesses.

In Cyprus, the contribution of Agriculture to the Gross Domestic Product is less than 4%, and the importance of this sector is no longer of economic nature, but rather of social one. There are, of course, segments of the population, like for example the potato producers in the Kokkinochoria area or the vine producers in the villages of the Troodos mountains area, for whom agriculture is of great importance. The future of the agricultural sector once Cyprus becomes a member of the EU is directly related to the promotion of biological cultivations and the specialisation in certain sectors mainly related to the production of early crops. A sector in which there is a relative delay is that of the creation of common organisations of the market and the paying agency. Additionally, it is mandatory that government monopolies that cover all or part of trading activity of potatoes, wheat , olive oil , vine and dairy products be abolished. It is hoped that all the relevant preparations can be carried out in 2001 and completed by the end of the year. In many other sectors, such as veterinary and phytosanitary, Cyprus has very high standards and has no serious problems in harmonising its legislation with EU directives.