Cyprus is very well placed as an international business and financial centre. Apart from its strategic geographical location, relaxed way of life and attractive climate, it offers an excellent commercial infrastructure, a highly educated English-speaking labour force, a business-friendly environment, particularly in the area of taxation, a high standard of living and a low rate of crime. Living costs are moderate, and good airline connections and telecommunications and increasing alignment with the European position in matters of culture and trade make it an effective bridge between West and East. Its time zone is 7 hours ahead of New York, 2 hours ahead of London, 1 hour behind Moscow and 5 hours behind Beijing. The official languages are Greek and Turkish, but English is the lingua franca of business.