ECONOMY

Strange imports and exports

Common imports from Cyprus include halloumi cheese and potatoes, but suppliers in Greece have recently discovered that Cyprus also exports medical and orthopedic supplies and have rushed to place orders.

Official data concerning Greece?s trade transactions show that this country imported orthopedic and medical products to the tune of 66 million euros in 2010.

Market professionals suggest that most of these imports are in fact triangular transactions. For instance, a Greek company that wants to import something from abroad does not need to get an invoice directly from its supplier (which is more often than not based in Great Britain), but instead can set up an overseas company on Cyprus to acquire the products from the British company. This way the products come to Greece at a higher price than they would have if they had come directly from the supplier.

That is not the only paradox in the country?s trade transactions, however. Official data indicate that Greece?s third-biggest export to Turkey and the fourth-largest to the US is airplanes.

This is because old planes are exported either to go to the scrapyard or to smaller, low-cost airlines. In fact, the second-biggest commodity exported to the US is spare parts for aircraft produced in Greece by the Hellenic Defense Industry (EAB).