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Malta seeks greater ties with GCC, India

By Saifur Rahman

Valletta, Malta: The Government of Malta is seeking greater ties with the Gulf countries and India, in order to accelerate its economic growth, highest among the European Union countries, a top official said.

The country is also expected to make the best use of the World Expo 2020 in which it is preparing a three-pronged strategy to promote its culture, economy and heritage through government-to-government, business-to-business and business-to-consumer engagement, Mr Carmelo Abela, Maltese Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion, told a visiting media delegation from the Gulf region.

“We are fully committed to the World Expo 2020 that will take place in Dubai and we see this as a great opportunity to promote our country and tourism,” Mr Carmelo Abela said. “As a country, we have so much to offer and we would utilise this opportunity to showcase our attractions through the Expo 2020.

“Our pavilion at the Expo 2020 will have a three-way engagement with the people – including government-to-government, business-to-business and business-to-consumer – in order to position ourselves as a major tourism destination.

“At the government level, we would use the Expo 2020 platform to attract foreign direct investment to Malta, while the business-to-business engagement will focus on promoting Maltese products market and the business-to-consumer engagement will be to promote tourism into Malta.

“We are working on a number of tourism products to attract visitors to Malta.

“As a peaceful country, we promote peaceful solution to any conflicts. We are concerned with the growing distrust in the Gulf and hope all parties could solve the differences through dialogue. We believe, sitting across the table and discussing issues is the best way to solve problems,” he said.

On the escalating global trade war, he said, “We are against trade wars. Trade could only grow through cross-border cooperation.”

Meanwhile, Malta is strengthening economic relations with India. Maltese Prime Minister Dr Joseph Muscat visited India in January this year and met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

He said, over the last two years, Malta and India strengthened bilateral ties. India has recently set up its high commission following a series of high-level bilateral visits and meetings.

“Over the last two years, we led a large business delegation to India to invite them to invest in our country while our business community also explored mutual business interests with Indian counterparts,” he said.

“This was followed by a visit by Indian President and the opening of Indian High Commission in Malta. In the coming years, we expect our relationship to grow in socio-economic areas.”

Malta is also expanding its diplomatic missions across the world, including Japan, Morocco, Ghana and some other countries.

Mr Abela said, his country is seeking greater foreign investment in Malta. “We are asking international companies with regional headquarters in the United Kingdom, to co-relocate their European base to Malta, in order to continue their operation across Europe,” he said.

“Being part of the British Commonwealth, we will lose an important partner. However, Maltese laws are based on English Common Law and English is widely spoken in Malta. Companies will shrink their operations in the UK, could relocate greater resources to Malta and continue to do business in the UK and EU – without having to go through much difficulty.”


Also published on Medium.