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AmCham Thanksgiving Gala: Ambassador Fisher's Keynote Remarks
7 MINUTE READ
November 29, 2023

As prepared for delivery

AmCham President Georgios Georgiou, AmCham team, President Christodoulides, distinguished guests:

In the spirit of the Thanksgiving holiday, I am thankful to be here tonight with such a dedicated group of government and business leaders and entrepreneurs: leaders representing America to Cyprus, and Cyprus to America.

The critical role that AmCham plays in attracting and welcoming new businesses reminds me that it is always a good bet to partner with American companies. Your presence represents the scale, strength, and leadership of American industry and commerce, making AmCham an invaluable partner for me and the Embassy team.

The United States is grateful for the dynamic and growing relationship we enjoy with the Republic of Cyprus. This relationship has never been stronger, largely due to the deep commercial and economic ties between our two countries – ties that all of you continue to forge – and ties we seek to develop further.

President Christodoulides, since taking office, we have followed closely your directives to strengthen banking and legal sector integrity, to combat corruption, and to fully align Cyprus with the transatlantic consensus countering Russia – all steps aimed at building a more robust, resilient economy and attracting high-quality investment both today and in the future. Your commitment to addressing lingering reputational issues, and bolstering economic growth is clear, and Mr. President, you can count on the United States to partner with Cyprus to meet these ambitious expectations.

There can be no doubt that Cyprus is an inviting market for American tech companies looking to commercialize research, nurture innovation, and encourage entrepreneurship. Issues like advancing the digital transformation of the island, unleashing an information communication technology ecosystem, harnessing the power of AI technologies to drive growth, and tackling cybersecurity threats are of critical importance to American and Cypriot businesses alike.

And while we are celebrating Thanksgiving in Nicosia today, tomorrow, delegates from around the world will convene in Dubai for the UN Climate Change Conference, known as COP28, where crucial negotiations and global collaboration will bolster climate action, ambition, and opportunity in the green economy. Against this backdrop, U.S. firms are leading the development of offshore hydrocarbon resources around the island and in the Eastern Mediterranean. If done right, these investments will contribute to both Europe’s energy security and the green transition, counter Russia’s weaponization of energy, and create opportunities for Cyprus to partner with other nations in the region for economic growth.

This time last year I was testifying before the Senate, and I assured the members of the Foreign Relations Committee that strengthening our bilateral relationship and supporting American businesses would be among my highest priorities as Ambassador to the Republic of Cyprus. At the Embassy we have a team committed to ensuring that American enterprise and American products are what come to mind when Cypriots look for trusted business partners. Congress and the American people have high expectations in this regard – so the partnership with AmCham is at the very core of this effort.

If you will allow me, I’d like to turn back the clock a couple of decades, to a time in both Cyprus and in the United States, when our predecessors faced both extraordinary uncertainty and also extraordinary potential for growth. Many of the decisions made by governmental and corporate leaders formed the foundation and the backbone of the successful economies from which we benefit today.

Overcoming incredible odds, Cyprus has built one of the largest maritime fleets in the world, and developed multiple industries that fuel its burgeoning economy. Cyprus’ EU accession, and then its deliberate steps to recover from the financial crisis, shaped the Cypriot business environment of today. In these landmark moments, we saw how choices, many made with foresight and determination, paved the way for future prosperity. That same foresight, that ability to look down the road beyond the next quarter or the next ten quarters, is needed as Cyprus and the United States look to shape the business environment of the future.

The United States shares Cyprus’ vision of diversifying, growing, and strengthening the business climate. American investment brings more than simple financial gain; it forges stronger bonds of partnership, creating synergies, and increases economic resilience.

And as our two nations work together to ease human suffering in the midst of the Israel-Hamas conflict, we see all too clearly the uncertainty and volatility in the region. Our shared efforts shape geopolitical relationships and prospects for peaceful resolutions. Cyprus’ economic vitality is a stabilizing force in the Eastern Mediterranean.

As we consider the global context, let’s be clear – where American or European companies don’t fill a void, others will – including those who do not share our values. It’s in our strategic interest to partner in ways that promote security and prosperity and that deliver solutions reflective of our values to our fellow citizens.

Look around you here tonight – American investment brings with it a wealth of knowledge, expertise, and resources. It stimulates innovation, creates job opportunities, builds capacity, opens new markets, and drives economic growth.

The future strength of the Cypriot investment climate is derived from how successfully it attracts and retains foreign direct investment from responsible, accountable sources. In this room, I am certain we agree – now is not a time for closing doors on each other. Rather, we need to be opening more doors, paving the way for Cyprus to benefit more fully from the access to global markets that American business offers. I believe we share a goal to increase Cyprus’ competitiveness on the international investment climate stage.

So at this pivotal moment, our joint efforts will determine whether we all succeed in advancing a shared vision for Cyprus’ economy, and its standing in Europe as a trusted, secure place to do business that contributes to peace, security, and stability, both regionally and globally.

Wrapping up Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for the President’s commitment and this Chamber’s partnership to forge closer ties between our nations. By continuing strong business partnerships, we collectively send a powerful message that Cyprus is open for business today, tomorrow, and in the decades to come.

Thank you to the team at AmCham for organizing an incredible event. I am proud to join you all to celebrate the opportunities presented by American investment and the potential for a more prosperous future.