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Import regulations and customs duties  - Distribution - Transportation of goods - Standards - Patents and brands

Import regulations and customs duties

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. Moreover, Cyprus has negotiated a transitional period up to 2005 during which marketing authorisations for medicinal products granted under national legislation not compliant with the EU law will continue to be valid in that country, but not in the rest of the EU. For further information about each candidate country’s compliance with the acquis, please consult the Enlargement of the EU Guide to the Negotiations published by the European Commission.

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.

When being introduced in Cyprus, some products 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
Since its accession to the European Union on May, 1st of 2004, Cyprus has adopted the EU Common External Tariff. Consequently, trade with Cyprus is totally free from customs duties, provided that the country of origin of the goods is one of the other 24 EU Member States. Nevertheless, when introducing goods into Cyprus, exporters shall fill in an intrastat declaration.

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).

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 know protective measures.

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 taxes
Excise duties are charged on the import of certain products like fuel, vehicles, cigarettes and alcohol. The exhaustive list of the products, on which the excise duties are charged, can be seen on the web site of the customs office of Cyprus.

An additional tax called "Temporary Refugee Levy" (TRL) is levied on some luxury products like whisky or cookies at a rate of 5 - 6%.

>> To get further information on VAT rates, please check the list of VAT rates applied within the European Union

>> More detailed information on excise duties is available concerning alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, energy products on the European Commission website.



With 685,000 inhabitants in the south zone of the island, Cyprus is a small market. The two main places of consumption are Nicosia and Limassol: 50% of the consumer demand is concentrated within these 2 cities.

The Business to Consumer (B to C) market
Large scale distribution distribution is still little developed in Cyprus, retail trade being more dominant. In 1999, the total turnover achieved by large scale distribution and retail trade represented 13% of the country's GDP and employed 15% of the active population. According to one of the principal distribution companies of Cyprus, CAP, there are 3,000 distribution outlets (from grocery shops to superstores) in Cyprus. 60% of these distribution outlets are retail shops and they achieve only 23% of the turnover. On the other hand, the 30 superstores of the island alone achieve more than 40% of the sales. 2 types of distribution channels seem to be developing in Cyprus :
- Chains of shops like Woolworth, Metro and Marks & Spencers.
- Franchise shops have been quite successful for the last few years: big fast food shops from America, international car rent companies and big brands of the clothing sector have all set up their franchises in Cyprus.
Finally, the government has lifted all prices control except on cement and petroleum. However, this ruling regarding cement and petroleum will not be applicable after Cyprus becomes a member of the European Union in May 2004.

The Business to Business (B to B) market


Transportation of goods

By road
Road transport is the most developed way of transport in the island. The modern roads connect the principal cities of Cyprus like Nicosia, Limassol, Larnaca and Paphos. The road infrastructure quality is comparable to the European Union. Left hand driving system exists in Cyprus. The network of secondary roads is poorly maintained and the roads are narrow. The road network of Cyprus comprises a 11,408 km of roads. For more information on the road network, you should consult the enquiry office of the road transport of goods of the Office of Statistics in Cyprus. This information is available in French with twice more information, and a lot more understandable.

By rail
There is no railway network in Cyprus.

By sea
The Port Authority of Cyprus is an organisation responsible for the administration of the ports in Cyprus. A whole lot of information and statistics on the ports of Cyprus is available on its website. During 2001, 5,251 boats unloaded 20.6 million tons of goods on the ports of Cyprus. 2,240 boats were listed in the shipping register of Cyprus. The principal trade port of Cyprus is in Limassol, located towards south of the island. The 2nd important trade port is in Larnaca, located towards south-east of Cyprus. There is also an industrial port in Vassiliko. The ports of Limassol and Larnaca alone register two-third of the shipping freight movements. 55 shipping lines cover Cyprus in their regular routes.

By air
Cyprus has 2 International airports: Larnaca et Paphos, situated at 50 and 150 km respectively from Nicosia. On average, these airports register a weekly traffic of 1,249 flights, shared between 36 international air companies and 81 charter services. Eurocypria is an affiliate of Cyprus Airways, and specialises in freight activities.


Due to its accession to the European Union in 2004, technical standards and specifications in Cyprus are showing increasing conformity with the European standards. The organisation defining technical standards is the Cyprus Organization for Standards and Control of Quality (CYS). CYS is linked to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Tourism. CYS is an affiliate member of the European Standardisation Committee and a member of the International Standardisation Organisation (ISO).

Patents and brands

The organisation responsible for the protection of brands and patents in Cyprus is the Department of Registrar of Companies and Official Receiver.

Cyprus is a member of the WIPO and the European Patent Bureau (EPO).

Cyprus is signatory to the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, to the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, to the Trademark Law Treaty and to the Patent Co-operation Treaty (PCT).

Texts currently applying to patents/brands

  Text Date entered into law Period of validity Comment
Patents Patents Law 1999
Formulation Rights Right of Intellectual Property Law 1976
Brands Trademark Law 1955 Initial period of 7 years Renewable period of 14 years


Last modified in 2006 - ongoing update
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