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Cyprus Internet Directory [ Proposal to increase goods allowed from north ]

Proposal to increase goods allowed from north

THE EUROPEAN Commission has proposed amendments to the Green Line Regulation that would raise the shopping ceiling from €135 to €260, it said yesterday.

The new amendment also provides for a general lifting of duties on agricultural products originating in the northern part of Cyprus when being traded across the Green Line.

“So far duties had to be paid for a variety of agricultural products causing financial and administrative burden for Turkish Cypriot traders,” the Commission said in a statement.

It said the amendment increasing the personal goods allowance to €260 was to encourage the economic development of the Turkish Cypriot community.

“If the proposal is adopted goods up to this amount could be introduced free of customs, excise duties and taxes into the government-controlled areas when introduced across the Green Line,” the Commission said.

“This is expected to particularly stimulate the business of small Turkish Cypriot shop keepers.”

The rule would not apply to cigarettes and alcohol. For these products the existing quantities remain unchanged at 40 cigarettes and one litre of spirits for personal consumption.

Both sides hopes to see an increase in shopping across the divide since the opening of the Ledra Street crossing point a week ago, which is being seen as a way to revive the heart of the old town.

The €135 ceiling has been in place since the Green Line Regulation was first adopted in April 2004. Last year there was uproar in the north when Turkish Cypriots were targeted by ‘customs officials’ in a clampdown on shopping on the Greek Cypriot side. Pressure had come from Turkish Cypriot traders who were losing business.

Now however with the opening of Ledra Street, Turkish Cypriot shops say they are enjoying a new lease of life.

The new EU amendments also propose the temporary introduction of goods for up to six months from the north to the south.

“This allows, for instance, that Turkish Cypriot service providers can bring their equipment across the line when providing on a temporary basis a service in the government-controlled areas,” said the Commission.

“It will also permit the repair of equipment there. Finally, it will encourage the participation of Turkish Cypriot companies in trade fairs in the government-controlled areas.”

The Green Line Regulation was amended once before in 2005 to facilitate trade in certain agricultural products such as citrus fruit, fish and honey. “The new amendment can be seen as a subsequent step,” the Commission said.

(Source: Cyprus Mail)

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