Trade in Malta


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Malta is internationally renowned as a tourist destination, with numerous recreational areas and historical monuments, including nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The capital city of Malta is Valletta; the largest town, Birkirkara. The main island comprises many towns, which together form one Larger Urban Zone with a population of 417,608 according to Eurostat. Malta is classified as an advanced economy together with 32 other countries, with an GDP estimated at $8.288 billion and a GDP per capita of $19,746 , according to the International Monetary Fund.

Currently, Malta’s major resources are limestone, a favourable geographic location and a productive labour force. Malta also does not have a property tax, and it produces only about 20% of its food needs, has limited freshwater supplies and has no domestic energy sources. The economy is dependent on foreign trade, manufacturing and tourism. Film production is a growing contributor to the Maltese economy, with several big-budget foreign films shooting in Malta each year. The country has increased the exports of many other types of services such as banking and finance. The government is investing heavily in education, including college. In preparation for Malta’s membership in the European Union, which it joined on 1 May 2004, it privatisedsome state-controlled firms and liberalised markets. In 2010, Malta has managed to privatize telecommunications, postal services, shipyards and shipbuilding.

According to the Qatar Financial Center Authority, Malta ranked as the 70th most important financial center. Malta is a popular tourist destination, with 1.2 million tourists every year, according to the Maltese government. Three times more tourists visit than there are residents. Tourism infrastructure has increased dramatically over the years and a number of good-quality hotels are present on the island, although overdevelopment and the destruction of traditional housing is of growing concern. In recent years, Malta has advertised itself as a medical tourism destination, according to the Malta Independent online, and a number of health tourism providers are developing the industry. However, no Maltese hospital has undergone independent international healthcare accreditation. There is a strong manufacturing base for high value-added products like electronics and pharmaceuticals, and the manufacturing sector has more than 250 foreign-owned, export-oriented enterprises. Tourism generates 35% of GDP.  The structure of the Maltese economy can be broken down as agriculture: 1.4%; industry: 18%; services: 80.6%.

Overall, Malta is micro market, meaning that there are cities in other countries that have larger markets than Malta.  While the market may be small it is also relatively rich. However, it is likely that businesses that come to this market are looking to service the foreigners that come there than the locals. Especially, since more than a million foreigners visit Malta on a annual basis, for a wide variety of things such as leisure and medical services, as well as financial services. So businesses likely to gain the most by doing business in Malta are likely to be businesses that are involved in the industries mentioned above.

-Jay Zadey

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