By Stelios Orphanides – Reuters NICOSIA – Cyprus will embark on a campaign to lure more offshore companies to the island and bolster foreign investment, Finance Minister Charilaos Stavrakis said yesterday. The main efforts will be directed toward Russia, Ukraine and India to renegotiate existing double-taxation treaties where businesses pay tax in just one jurisdiction, Stavrakis said. «It is a very important sector which is exposed to competition from many countries. This sector brings in a lot of foreign exchange to an economy… (and) we face strong competition,» he told reporters after a meeting with representatives of business associations. Attracting foreigners The island has 43 double taxation treaties with other jurisdictions and a 10 percent corporate tax rate. Thousands of foreign companies operate on the island. «The international service supply sector is the most important sector of the economy at this moment,» the finance minister said. «Cyprus can indeed become the Singapore of the Middle East and a financial center of international standards that will bring both foreign exchange and jobs to Cyprus,» he said. Stavrakis, a former banker appointed by communist President Dimitris Christofias, reaffirmed his government’s decision not to raise corporate taxes. «The commitment of the government is that corporate tax rates will not increase. «Cyprus will remain a state with low tax rates so that it can attract the best companies from Europe and the rest of the world,» he said.