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T H E O F F I C I A L A N N UA L R E P O R T O F T H E M A L TA C H A M B E R OF COMMERCE, ENTERPRISE AND INDUSTRY

N E W S PA P E R P O S T

A Special Edition of T he Commercial Courier

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C O L L A B O R AT I N G P A R T N E R S


T H E M A L TA C H A M B E R O F CO M M E R C E , E N T E R P R I S E A N D I N D U S T R Y A N N UA L A D M I N I S T R AT I V E R E P O R T 201 8 / 1 9

Foreword by President Frank V. Farrugia Introduction by DG Kevin J. Borg Council of the Malta Chamber 2018-2019 Malta Chamber Staff The year in pictures – Events Highlights POLICY Policy Positions 2018-19 Policy Committees Energy and Environment Human Resources Marketing S E C T O R S Economic Groups Executive Committee Members

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Economic Groups Importers, Distributors and Retailers EG Healthcare Pharmacists and Pharmacy Owners Wines and Spirits, Beverages and Tobacco Manufacturers and Other Industries EG Electrical and Electronics Food and Beverage Processors Plastics and Rubber Manufacturers Services Providers EG Financial Services Information Technology Logistics Shipping and Bunkering Tourism Yachting Services Health Tourism

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Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) Relations with Diplomatic Corps International Scene BusinessEurope Eurochambres European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) Executive Committees – Business Sections, Policy Committees and Business Councils Malta Chamber Commissions set up by Statute Nominees on Boards and Committees Administration IELTS and Other Examination Services Surveys ISO:9001 Malta Business Bureau Public Relations Media Releases

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PUBLISHER

Content House Group Mallia Buildings 3, Level 2, Triq in-Negozju Mriehel BKR3000 T: +356 2132 0713 E: info@contenthouse.com.mt www.contenthouse.com.mt

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EDITOR:

Kevin J. Borg

EDITORIAL COORDINATOR:

Matthew Spiteri

CREATIVE COORDINATOR:

Jean Mark Meli

Edward Bonello

Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry The Exchange, Republic Street, Valletta VLT1117 T: +356 2123 3873 E: info@maltachamber.org.mt www.maltachamber.org.mt

DIRECTOR OF SALES & BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT:

Sarah Micallef

DESIGN:

Nicholas Cutajar – Design Studio at Content House Ltd

SENIOR BRAND SALES EXECUTIVE: CORPORATE SALES & BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT EXECUTIVE: Angele Buscemi Le Brun

ADVERTISING SALES COORDINATOR: Elena Dimech

BRONZE SPONSORS

The Annual Administrative Report of the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry is distributed to all the members of the Malta Chamber and to leading businesses. The cut-off date for information published in this Annual Administrative Report is 15th February 2019. Events occurring after this date will appear in the 2019-2020 report.

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B Y P R E S I D E N T F R A N K V . F A R R U G I A

A S P R E S I D E N T O F T H E M A L TA C H A M B E R O F COMMERCE, ENTERPRISE AND INDUSTRY, IT IS MY PLEASURE TO ADDRESS YOU THROUGH THE ANNUAL A D M I N I S T R AT I V E R E P O R T.

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Paolo Buffa. The event, which was moderated by my Deputy, Perit David Xuereb, was further addressed by Joseph Zammit Tabona, Denise Xuereb, Benjamin Tabone Grech, Dr Nadine Lia and Dr Christian Cardona.

Bringing my two-year term as President of the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry to a close, I am pleased to note the work that our Chamber has carried out during the last 24 months, focusing specifically for the purposes of this publication on the past year.

M A L T A’ S P R E S I D E N C Y O F T H E EUROPEAN UNION

Looking back on the first days of my Presidency, I remember how I took over the reins of the Chamber almost at the start of a general election campaign and mid-way through Malta’s Presidency of the European Union. To say that I had a ‘baptism of fire’ would be putting it mildly.

Coming back to the subject of the EU Presidency, I can certainly attest to how Malta’s status at the time propelled us – even as a national Chamber – to a highly-elevated position within the network of European economic policy formulation.

We can all recall the unprecedented crisis the country went through that precipitated that election, and cast a shadow on Malta’s economic stability. It was a challenging time for everyone to maintain the country’s attractiveness and make sure to come out of it safe and sound. With the benefit of hindsight, we can all breathe a sigh of relief and hope for a more mature debate in our country.

Even at the local level, our Chamber maintained its position at the forefront of the country’s economic and political discussion in relation to issues that affect our companies. This in our efforts to ensure that members enjoy the best competitive environment and regulatory conditions possible for the conduct of business.

AT T H E F O R E F R O N T F O R B U S I N E S S

During the past year, our Chamber has continued to hold a principal role in the country’s economic process. We have done this in a variety of ways, using all the tools at our disposal.

My term of office also fortunately coincided with the Chamber’s 170th anniversary which we celebrated fittingly. All these extraordinary events helped to make my experience at the helm of our leading organisation a most memorable one.

On numerous occasions I accompanied the President of the Republic, the Prime Minister and several Ministers on high-level institutional and business missions to potential as well as established partner countries such as Japan, Croatia, Bulgaria, Turkey and Poland.

THE CHAMBER’S 170TH ANNIVERSARY

I was honoured to serve the Chamber during this momentous year and we made sure to commemorate this historic milestone with a varied and impressive series of events. To start with, H.G. Mons. Charles J. Scicluna, the Archbishop of Malta, celebrated Mass at the Chamber on 24th April 2018.

At each of these we sought to serve as a bridging point between our ambitious entrepreneurs and the opportunities of the country in question. I also had the honour of leading our own business delegations organised under the auspices of the Enterprise Europe Network and which are elaborated upon in the section dedicated to internationalisation in this publication.

Subsequently, on 6th September, we held a grand anniversary reception at the Lower Barrakka Gardens and a few weeks later, on 1st October, organised a Conference dedicated to Family Business – which always constituted the backbone of our membership base throughout the history of our Chamber.

During the last year we also maintained a constructive debate with the country’s highest offices in order to advise and influence the decisions that would affect our businesses. Indeed, throughout my entire tenure, the Chamber maintained an open and constructive dialogue with the Prime Minister, Ministers and Leader of the Opposition, either on a one-to-one basis or through open meetings with Council or our general membership.

On this latter occasion, which was supported by the Family Business Office within the Ministry for the Economy, Investment and Small Business, we were fortunate to attract international speakers of the highest calibre in the sphere of family business – both local and international.

The eagerness of the authorities to consult regularly with our Chamber is perceived as

In fact, we welcomed Dr Briano Olivares who gave an inspiring talk on Ferrero, Eugenio Grimaldi and

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testament to their confidence in the objectiveness and credibility of our institution. This was underlined in a recent Parliamentary debate on the Free Zones Act which the Chamber piloted under my Presidency and attracted glowing praise for our work from both sides of the House.

I am honoured to have kicked off this ambitious and vital process.

M E M B E R S AT T H E C E N T R E OF THE CHAMBER

Looking back at the past two years I cannot overlook the contribution of the members, without whom the work of the Chamber would ring hollow.

C O N T R I B U T I N G T O T H E N AT I O N A L D E B AT E

Leading up to the most significant moments of the country’s economic year, our Chamber contributed directly to the debate, providing well-researched and fact-based proposals to Government, in order to pro-actively influence the decisions that would affect our businesses.

Indeed, throughout my tenure we have made it a point to maintain constant communication with our members to best understand where our sectors were coming from and where they were going.

The Chamber in fact published two documents during 2017, the first in the run-up to the country’s general election, and another as part of the consultation process prior to the national Budget. Both documents largely reflected the opinion and debate at our Council. In fact, the documents outlined our goals towards safeguarding and enhancing a climate of economic well-being that encourages competitiveness-based investment.

On my election two years ago, I invited all members who wished to improve on the great achievements of the past to come forward. I am pleased to note that this has been a resounding success, as together with the Board of Management we made sure to take as many voices on board, and keep our members at the centre of all our decisions.

On several occasions throughout the year we also reacted to legislation that was going to have an effect on businesses, providing Ministries and Authorities with our members’ feedback and positions on the proposed legislation at hand. Through our direct channels as well as forae such as the MCESD, MEUSAC and the Employment Relations Board, we were always vociferous in expressing our positions to the benefit of our members.

The apex of this philosophy is expected to materialise on 13th March, when the Chamber shall for the first time be organising the ‘Maltese Parliament for Enterprises’ where we are giving our leading entrepreneurs the opportunity to address the country’s highest institution and voice their concerns about their sectors and the economy. This event, which we are organising in collaboration with the Speaker of the House of Representatives and Eurochambres, shall continue to underline the importance of the contribution of the grass roots in our work and how our members are at the centre of the Chamber.

A case in point, with regards to the latter, was the instance where in collaboration with the other employer organisations, we led the initiative to halt the publication of four Legal Notices which had been published without consultation, and on the eve of Santa Marija. Thankfully our reasonable pleas did not fall on deaf ears and these four pieces of labour-relations legislation were brought to the ERB for regular discussion and subsequently published with our amendments included.

I wish to think of this as the legacy of my Presidency, a hallmark of the past two years. In conclusion, I wish to thank all those who contributed to the running of the Chamber in the last two years. Falling short of mentioning anyone by name, I cannot but single out our Council, Board of Management, Director General and his permanent team for the sterling work they have carried out.

A NEW ECONOMIC VISION

Taking on once again the macro-economic perspective, it is my pleasure to note that our Chamber has already set the ball rolling on the design of a new Economic Vision that builds on the previous one which we had published in 2014.

Looking ahead, I augur my successor the best of luck, while I wish the Chamber another 170 years of success.

The Chamber, once again, is being a leading force in Malta’s economy as, through its businessleader members, it will once again propose a blueprint to Government to sustain and assure a sustainable and competitiveness-based economy for the future.

Thank you.

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AS DIRECTOR GENERAL, IT IS MY PLEASURE TO S U M M A R I S E T H E M A L TA C H A M B E R ’ S MAJOR ACHIEVEMENTS THIS YEAR.

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website www.maltachamber.org.mt, to which it attracted traffic of upward of 4,000 hits.

The year under review was characterised by the realisation of ambitious projects within the Chamber Building, the consolidation of recently-launched initiatives and an active participation in Malta’s economic policy-setting mechanism.

Throughout the year under review, the Chamber organised a number of information seminars on several of the previouslymentioned subjects and more, including GDPR, sick-leave management, EU funding opportunities, blockchain and the compulsory system for online submission of FSS and VAT returns. Moreover, work also commenced on a new Economic Vision for Malta for the period 2021 and beyond, with the engagement of an external consultant and the preparation of a policy brief. Besides, the Chamber through the undersigned, actively participated in a newly formed National Productivity Board set up as part of Malta’s European Union obligations to keep track of the country’s competitiveness performance.

ECONOMIC POLICY INFLUENCE

During the period under review, I oversaw the formulation of a number of policy positions adopted by the Malta Chamber and its autonomous groupings. It is worth mentioning at the outset, the successful outcome of an enhanced internal mechanism for consultation involving policy committees and business sections with different interests. This took place through improved coordination resulting from the amalgamation of the Policy and Sector departments internally. Principal among the matters of policy tackled by our team and internal committees were the following:

At a European Level, the Chamber participated in the biennial European Parliament for Enterprises event organised by Eurochambres. A delegation of six MEPs led by Deputy President, Perit David Xuereb, participated in the event held in the hemicycle of the European Parliament in Brussels. At the time of writing, the Chamber was concluding its final preparations for the organisation of the firstever National Parliament for Enterprises on the model suggested by Eurochambres with the participation of around 45 local entrepreneurs, the President of Eurochambres, Members of Parliament and the Speaker of the House who made the Parliament Building available for this historic occasion for the Chamber.

• Staff/skills Shortages and Possible Solutions • Electricity Tariffs • ‘Renting as a Housing Alternative’, Rent Laws White Paper • EU Social Pillar – Work Life Balance • Compensatory measures for the private sector in lieu of proposal to grant additional vacation leave for public holidays that fall on a weekend • National Reform Programme • Electronic Payments Strategy • Set of four HR-related Legal Notices implemented without prior consultation in August 2018 • Introduction of a Beverage Container Refund System (BCRS) • Work-Based Learning in Malta • Equality Act • BREXIT • Public Consultation on Summertime Arrangements • New Building and Construction Authority

The Chamber has also continued to deliver on its direction from members to establish a third public private partnership with Government to promote business in determinate sectors. After Trade Malta and Education Malta, it is now the turn of TechMT to take off, through which the Chamber shall be working to promote Malta’s interests of all things tech including the rising industries of blockchain, AI and fintech. TechMT is expected to be formally launched in the coming weeks.

Besides the above list, the Chamber formulated a policy paper on the labour market which it was invited to present to the Cabinet of Ministers as well as to the Shadow Cabinet. Moreover, as it is duty bound to do, the Chamber played an active part in the consultation process preceding the 2018 Budget with the submission of a paper containing 30 key recommendations which included 62 practical measures. Once again, on Budget night, the Chamber contributed to the debate taking place all across the media but it also provided a real-time commentary of the annual Budget speech by means of its

I N T E R N AT I O N A L I S AT I O N

On the subject of outgoing delegations, on the internationalisation front, the Chamber organised successful outgoing business delegations to Warsaw, Turin, Liverpool and Istanbul. Conversely, special events were organised around the visits of high-level

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C O M P L I A N C E A N D A D M I N I S T R AT I O N

dignitaries to the Chamber including the Indian Vice-President, the Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the President of Tunisia and three members from the House of Lords.

The Chamber became fully compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which came into effect for all companies and organisations in all European Union member states on the 25th May 2018. The Chamber also successfully completed an external surveillance audit as part of its Quality Management, ISO (9001:2015) Standard.

At the same time, the Chamber continued to operate Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) services within a local consortium. Through EEN, the Chamber successfully partnered Maltese franchisors with overseas franchisees and launched a guide book to support companies to expand their business online. EEN has the aim to bring together around 600 business support organisations from more than 50 countries, with the principal goal of helping small companies seize the unparalleled business opportunities in the EU single market.

Moreover, in 2018, the Chamber achieved International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Accreditation for the issuing of its Certificates of Origin. In terms of implementing further risk-mitigating measures in this area, such accreditation entailed the introduction of certain procedures stipulated in the ICC Guidelines. As part of its continuous improvement initiatives in this regard, the Chamber is now working to introduce Electronic Certificates of Origin to members during 2019. During the previous 11-month period, the Chamber issued 2,165 Certificates of Origin and 53 ATA Carnets for temporary exports.

The Chamber’s Internationalisation Desk mission is based on trade consultation, supporting the activities of Business Councils and the delivery of value-added services such as partnering activities, tangible contacts and information and events that promote trade cooperation which raise awareness of business opportunities that exist in markets overseas. We also support in the necessary follow-up by facilitating the pursuit of collaboration through our international counterparts.

All this whilst within the Chamber a total of 390 internal meetings were held within the various Economic Groups, Business Sections, Business Councils and Policy Committees besides 31 Board of Management meetings and 12 Council meetings. 68 functions were held at the Chamber by third parties including Malta’s leading private companies and public institutions. As part of its functions, the Chamber hosted a total of 85 examinations for British Council, IELTS and the UK Visa and Administration.

This year, the European Agency EASME confirmed a strong performance by the Maltese consortium in terms of customer satisfaction and efficient application of resources when compared to other countries. Furthermore, in 2018, after being appointed Chairman of the EEN Retail Sector Group, the Head of Internationalisation at the Chamber, Lino Mintoff, was shortlisted for an award for Best Practice.

Besides weekly editions of Chamberlink and seven editions of The Commercial Courier, the Chamber issued 35 press releases and expressed its opinion regularly in newspaper and media articles. Latest traffic figures show that www.maltachamber.org.mt is the top business portal in Malta – and the businessrelated website with the most daily visitors.

THE EXCHANGE

During 2018, the Exchange Building welcomed back the offices of the Malta Business Bureau after a temporary absence of almost 10 years. In September, the MBB moved into an open-plan office on the second floor which was completely refurbished to the new requirements.

All this work could not have been done without the support of the Chamber’s gold sponsors, namely Bank of Valletta, HSBC Malta and RSM Malta, who last June were joined by Malta’s national airline Air Malta.

Besides, a new lift was installed to replace the old one in August. This project required some civil works in terms of an extension of the lift shaft as the new lift now serves all floors of the Building.

In conclusion, I thank all of my colleagues at the Malta Chamber for their dedication and team-work. Under the guidance of the Board of Management, Council, Economic Groups and Committees, I look forward to another active year of service to the business community.

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COUNCIL OF THE MALTA CHAMBER 2018-2019

Mr Frank V. Farrugia, President Mr David Xuereb, Deputy President Mr Andrew W.J. Mamo, Vice-President Ms Marisa Xuereb, Vice-President Mr Hugh Arrigo, Member of the Board of Management Mr Matthias Fauser, Member of the Board of Management Mr Charles A. Zahra, Member of the Board of Management Mr Norman Aquilina Ms Liz Barbaro Sant Mr Charles Borg Mr Patrick Cachia Dr David Grech Mr Reginald Fava Mr Joseph Pace Mr Mario Spiteri Mr Matthew Sullivan Mr Anthony Tabone Mr Chris Vassallo Cesareo Mr Nicholas Xuereb

PAST PRESIDENTS

Mr Louis Apap-Bologna Mr Anton Borg Mr Joe Caruana Curran Mr Tony Cassar Mr David G. Curmi Mr Joseph R. Darmanin Mr Anthony S. Diacono Ms Helga Ellul Mr Carm L. Farrugia Mr Louis A. Farrugia Mr Martin Galea Mr Victor A. Galea Mr Francis T. Gera Mr Joe Grioli Mr Stefano Mallia Mr Franco Masini Mr John E. Sullivan Mr Joseph N. Tabone Mr Tancred Tabone Mr Joe Zammit Tabona

MALTA CHAMBER STAFF

Mr Kevin J. Borg, Director General Mr Andre Fenech, Head – Policy Development Mr Lino Mintoff, Head – Projects and Internationalisation

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Mr John B. Scicluna, Head – Quality and Administration Ms Johanna Calleja, Manager – Statutory Affairs and Administration Mr Edward Bonello, Manager – Communications Mr Stefan Bajada, Executive – Sectors Ms Rachel Micallef, Executive – Projects and Internationalisation Mr Nigel Mifsud, Executive – Policy Mr Kevin Mizzi, Executive – Projects and Internationalisation Ms Elena Scicluna, Executive – Education Mr Anthony Tanti, Examinations Clerk Ms Bernice Chircop, Accounts Administrator Ms Roberta Pisani, Office Administrator Ms Cheryl Cardona, Coordinator – Front Office Mr Joseph Fenech, Support Staff Mr Charles Maione, Support Staff


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EVENTS HIGHLIGHTS

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February 2018: 1-2. Courtesy Visit by Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó 3. Signing of MOU with Croatian Chamber of Commerce March 2018: 4-5. Malta Chamber committed to sustaining excellent business relations with Tunisia 6-8. Wines from six regions sampled at the Malta Chamber’s wine tasting evening

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EVENTS HIGHLIGHTS

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April 2018: 9-10. Archbishop celebrates Holy Mass at the Malta Chamber 11-14. The future of the world economy will depend directly on what China does or does not do 15. Seminar zooms in on sick leave issues May 2018: 16. Business Breakfast discusses challenges of family business transfer 17-18. Company mission of Albanian SMEs to Malta 19. Information session on the proposed Beverage Container Refund System

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EVENTS HIGHLIGHTS

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May 2018: 20. Malta Chamber launches corporate video 21-22. Marketing Committee holds event on importance of Innovative Digital Marketing June 2018: 23-25. Chamber makes presentation to Opposition on labour market 26-27. Event on EU funding opportunities 28-29. Maltese companies participate in Malta Chamber trade mission to Poland 30. GO4Industry Teacher Internship Programme launched

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EVENTS HIGHLIGHTS

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July 2018: 31-32. Event on blockchain – the new regulatory framework 33-34. Malta Motorways of the Sea and the Malta Chamber renew Partnership Agreement 35-37. Prime Minister answers Malta Chamber members’ questions August 2018: 38. Gold Partnership Agreement between Malta Chamber and HSBC Bank Malta renewed 39. Chamber business portal wins prestigious national award 40. Spring COPRES discusses business issues in the EU

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EVENTS HIGHLIGHTS

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September 2018: 41-49. Chamber holds 170th anniversary summer drinks

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EVENTS HIGHLIGHTS

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September 2018: 50-52. Leading businesses welcome 42 students in day-long job-shadowing exercise 53-55. Strengthening institutional links leading to trade growth between Malta and India October 2018: 56-57. Deputy President David Xuereb addresses the European Parliament of Enterprises 58. Event on how to instigate a culture change in occupational health and safety 59-60. Household international names participate in extraordinary event dedicated to family businesses

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EVENTS HIGHLIGHTS

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October 2018: 61-62. Malta Chamber and Indonesia Embassy explore trade opportunities 63-65. Malta Chamber and MBB delegation makes number of institutional visits in Brussels 66. President Frank V. Farrugia addresses annual EY Conference November 2018: 67. Chamber teams up with MCAST and leading Sicilian company to help businesses recruit personnel 68. Chamber urges Minister Christian Cardona to promote manufacturing industry’s competitiveness 69-71. Malta Chamber and US Embassy in Malta promote trade opportunities

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EVENTS HIGHLIGHTS

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November 2018: 72. Malta Chamber organises information session on VAT and FSS end-of-year online submissions 73. Malta Chamber signs MOU with China Council for the promotion of international trade 74. Start-up event provides information on access to finance December 2018: 75-81. Chamber hosts annual Christmas drinks

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January 2019: 82. Chamber focuses on employee attendance in HR workshop February 2019: 83-84. A commitment to consolidate the relationship between Malta and Tunisia 85-89. Chamber hosts annual dinner with the Prime Minister 90-92. WES Trade, a Malta Chamber member, partners with global players to provide solutions to the aviation industry

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POLICY POSITIONS 2018-19 THE LABOUR MARKET IN 2018 AND BEYOND

required to tackle the different factors that are contributing to the situation in order to safeguard the quality of life and sustainable growth in Malta.

In 2018, the Chamber took a pro-active approach to a problem which is affecting the day-to-day operation of thousands of businesses in Malta, which are finding it increasingly difficult to identify and employ the necessary human resources for their growing operations.

In recent years, the country has enjoyed a cycle of notable year-on-year economic growth. This has brought about a situation of excess demand for labour which cannot be satisfied with Maltese workers. The labour market has now become reliant on consistent attraction of additional foreign workers. This cycle has benefitted the country significantly from an output perspective, but it is also cause for substantial stress on the country’s infrastructure and most notably, on the housing market. The current situation is characterised mainly by the fact that the shortage of workers is being matched by a shortage of affordable accommodation. However, the Chamber firmly believes that due to the irreversible nature of construction, it would be detrimental to the country to flood the market with new residential property that may remain vacant when the economic cycle eventually turns.

‘The Labour Market in 2018 and Beyond – Demographics and Trends Characterising Malta’s Labour Market and Workable Proposals To Alleviate Labour Gap Pressures’ was compiled by the Policy Unit within the Malta Chamber, with the aim of proposing solutions to the country’s policy-makers on the subject matter. The report provides policy-makers with a blueprint of effective policies designed to ensure that the most fundamental resource required for continued and sustainable economic growth is readily available and well-equipped with the many diverse skillsets required by Malta’s economy.

Despite the scale and significance of the issues being faced by all parties involved in Malta’s PRS, the Malta Chamber noted that the White Paper fell short of expectations in providing concrete, long-lasting solutions that effectively overcome the issues causing the current situation.

The report was presented to the Cabinet in May 2018 and to the Leader of the Opposition in June 2018. A number of the proposals put forward in the report have since been implemented, while others continue to be studied by Government.

FEEDBACK AND PROPOSALS ON GOVERNMENT WHITE PAPER ‘RENTING AS A H O U S I N G A L T E R N AT I V E ’

Therefore, as a responsible organisation with an overarching aim to safeguard and enhance the country’s long-term sustainability and competitiveness in the global market, the Malta Chamber has designed a set of measures intended to collectively relieve major pressures being exerted on the PRS by increasing the supply of affordable accommodation in Malta.

In light of the Government White Paper titled ‘Renting as a Housing Alternative’, published in Autumn 2018, the Malta Chamber embarked on a comprehensive internal and external consultation process with an aim to contribute a set of recommendations that effectively tackle the numerous issues characterising the Private Rental Sector (PRS) in Malta at present, with a view to alleviate the resulting societal and economic pressures being felt throughout.

The Chamber’s proposals include: • a clear and directional role for the Planning Authority in ensuring supply of affordable permanent housing that addresses the needs of today and those planned for the future whilst preventing overdevelopment for speculative purposes; • re-assessment of the IIP programme’s property investment eligibility criteria; • a thorough audit of all private and public vacant property followed by efforts and

The Malta Chamber firmly believes that the status quo in the PRS is not a sustainable option for Malta. The country, its society and economy cannot afford the current rate of increase in accommodation costs to persist. Therefore, strong and timely action is

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January 2019, the Board agreed to implement the recommendations put forward by the report into the Council’s strategy and workplan. The proposals include: • Establishment of a WBL Education-Industry Hub • Implementation of a robust Quality and Standards Framework • Course Modularisation and Flexible Modes of WBL • Formal Recognition of Prior (Work-Based) Learning • Quality Education and Training of VET Educators • Linking Education provision to Industry • Enhancing WBL quality by Training the Mentors

incentives to place said resources to good use and form part of the rental property market; • implementation of the reforms proposed by the Malta Chamber and GRTU regarding PreJune 1995 leased residential properties; • feasible, effective and reversible housing solutions that create immediate supply of affordable, comfortable yet reversible accommodation.

A S E T O F R E C O M M E N D AT I O N S F O R W O R K BASED LEARNING IN MALTA In 2018, the National Skills Council tasked the Malta Chamber to lead research and draft a set of recommendations to improve Work-Based Learning (WBL) in Malta. A WBL Committee was set up and comprised of representatives from the Malta Chamber’s Policy Unit, University of Malta, MCAST, the Institute for Tourism Studies, Malta Enterprise, a past apprentice and an expert in the field of vocational education.

F E E D B A C K O N N AT I O N A L E L E C T R O N I C P AY M E N T S S T R AT E G Y

In response to the request for feedback issued by the Steering Committee for a National Electronics Payment Strategy, the Malta Chamber submitted detailed reactions and recommendations based on thorough research and consultation.

Following analysis of existing WBL in Malta, the Chamber’s Policy Unit compiled a report containing a set of recommendations aimed at enhancing the overall quality of work-based learning in Malta and proliferating the practice throughout all spheres of education.

The Malta Chamber has been an advocate for the use of alternative means of payments for a number of years and has collaborated with several stakeholders, including banking institutions and others in promoting the usage among the business community.

The report was presented to the Board of the National Skills Council in December 2018. In

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Nevertheless, the Chamber’s feedback also highlighted numerous factors resulting from a cashless economy that concern business operators. These concerns include, but are not limited to, limitations on cash/cheque transactions, card processing fees and alienation of cash-preferring or unbanked customers.

The proposals document also included measures such as no additional product groups falling under the scope of excise duties, merging of public revenue collecting entities and the implementation of a fiscal off-setting system, strengthened incentives for voluntary occupational pensions, a more cautious approach towards social measures that harm productivity, use of the National Development and Social Fund to finance a holistic shift towards a multimodal transport system, as well as a suite of measures aimed at enhancing the labour market, both in terms of skills and availability of labour.

While appreciating the advantages of a cashless operation, businesses are also well aware of the new risks arising from cashless operations, such as privacy issues, data protection and cybersecurity. The Chamber recommendations stressed that the Steering Committee tasked with the drafting of a national strategy is cognisant of the realities and special characteristics of the Maltese market before embarking with implementation strategies based on foreign best practices and experiences from more developed economies.

Following the Annual Government Budget Speech held on 22nd October 2018, the Malta Chamber endeavoured to closely analyse each Budget measure and formulate its formal reactions to the Budget Speech. In the interest of safeguarding a level playing field for all operators across numerous economic sectors, the Chamber welcomed measures announced in the strengthening of national structures and administrative units responsible for border controls and market surveillance. The Chamber advocated for such measures for several years. Equally important were all the measures intended to strengthen the regulatory bodies including those tasked with ensuring fiscal responsibility.

P R E - B U D G E T P R O P O S A L S A N D P O S TBUDGET REACTIONS

As part of its annual efforts to propose to Government a number of Budget measures aimed at safeguarding and enhancing Malta’s overall competitiveness, the Chamber once again undertook a comprehensive analysis of the economic, social and environmental situation in the country. The research and consultation process resulted in 30 key recommendations, which included more than 60 workable measures.

The Chamber also noted that its calls for Government not to introduce any surprise measures and new taxes were largely heeded, noting that this is largely to the advantage of businesses’ momentum.

The Chamber firmly reiterated its belief that despite the positive economic results achieved in recent years, there exist intrinsic weaknesses and threats to the country’s continued sustainable development and these must be addressed without further delay. In the current positive economic climate, the Chamber proposes that more resources should be set aside in order to compensate for inevitable future slowdowns and decreasing levels of European funds for investment.

The Chamber welcomed announced schemes to be launched under the Malta Development Bank including a new financial instrument for Family Businesses as first announced during the Malta Chamber’s national conference ‘A Family Affair’ held on 1st October 2018. Numerous Budget measures resulting from Chamber’s proposals for an active labour market and enhanced availability of skills in the economy were also positively observed.

The Chamber also called for a thorough impact assessment of the country’s ongoing growth with a view to set sustainable targets for maximum carrying capacity. Such a study would guide the way forward towards reaching sustainable output levels while also maximising growth due to the efficient application of the country’s resources.

Furthermore, with regards to issues such as compensation for public holidays falling on a weekend, the Chamber reiterated its position that discussions with employer bodies must remain ongoing with a view to ensure a costneutral effect for employers.

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EMPLOYER BODIES STOP I M P L E M E N T AT I O N O F F O U R E M P L O Y M E N T A N D I N D U S T R I A L R E L AT I O N S L E G A L NOTICES

ciders, water, carbonated and non-carbonated soft drinks, flavoured alcoholic beverages, readyto-drink coffee and juices and nectars. At a later stage, other beverages would be included in the system. Consumers will be able to return their empty containers to reverse vending machines and redeem a deposit which would have been paid at point of sale.

During the month of August, Government introduced four Legal Notices related to industrial and employment relations without the knowledge or any form of consultation with employers commonly associated with the introduction of such legislation. The four Legal Notices which dealt with amendments to the protection of employment in the case of business transfers, temporary agency workers and new regulations on itemised payslips and annual leave could have had serious implications on the business community if implemented without the necessary consultation.

For this reason, the entire private sector joined forces over the last year to devise an operational system at the least possible cost. The system would be rolled out towards the end of 2019. The Malta Chamber was involved in technical discussions with other stakeholders including representatives of beverage producers, importers and retailers, waste management schemes and suppliers of technical equipment aimed at preparing a workable solution. The discussions also included visits to other markets in Europe in order to assess how the system was implemented in these countries.

The Malta Chamber, in collaboration with the country’s other three employer organisations, namely the GRTU, The Malta Employers Association and the Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association immediately took action and stated publicly that unless the Legal Notices were revoked or suspended, the four bodies would stop attending any future Employer Relations Board (ERB). The manner in which this legislation was introduced would have set a dangerous precedent and was of great concern to all social partners.

The private sector’s proposal was presented to Government and the Opposition during a consultation process launched by Government. The proposed system was welcomed by all stakeholders and work immediately initiated to implement the system by the end of 2019. Following this initial stage, the Chamber worked tirelessly through the Importers Distributors Economic Group to bring together most of the importers, wholesalers and distributors in order to establish a separate association representing their interests. Following a number of meetings and information sessions to explain the proposal by the private sector consortium in detail, a statute was drafted to establish this association. The association is being formed to assist companies in this segment and to provide them with solutions during the implementation of the new BCRS system. All beverage importers, distributors and wholesalers will be obliged by law to form part of this system and contribute directly.

The authorities immediately reacted by suspending the Legal Notices until such time as proper consultation was carried out. The four bodies subsequently prepared and submitted extensive feedback to the relevant authorities, and a number of amendments were proposed which effectively diffused the impact of the original documents.

FEEDBACK ON THE BEVERAGE CONTAINER DEPOSIT AND REFUND SYSTEM

In 2018 the Malta Chamber was actively involved in formulating and participating in discussions on the introduction of a BCRS system in Malta. Indeed, during 2018, Government imposed the introduction and implementation of a new system which would entail that all producers, importers and retailers of certain beverages would have to take responsibility of beverage containers that are being put on the market.

At the time of writing of this report, the Importers Association was being established.

During the initial part of the project, the BCRS will affect producers and importers of beer and

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EVENTS to family businesses to serve as a platform for constant communication between policymakers and relevant stakeholders. Hosted by David Xuereb, Deputy President of the Malta Chamber, the conference also featured the participation of Dr Christian Cardona, Minister of the Economy, Investment and Small Businesses; Elena Grech, Head of the European Commission Representation in Malta; Etienne Borg Cardona, Capital Advisory; Albert Frendo, Chief Business Development Officer (Credit), BOV; Maria Micallef, Managing Partner RSM Malta; David Galea, CEO, Beat Consulting; Ariadne Massa, Media Insiders and Sam Borg, Director, Bortex Group.

S U C C E S S F U L S U C C E S S I O N S T R AT E G I E S

The challenges faced by family businesses and their difficulties to survive across generations were discussed during a business breakfast organised by the Malta Chamber in collaboration with Bank of Valletta on 8th May 2018.

A FA M I LY A F FA I R – S T R E N G T H E N I N G M A L T A A N D E U R O P E ’ S B E AT I N G H E A R T

In a tribute to the families that have given Malta some of its foremost entrepreneurs and the country’s leading business names, the Malta Chamber celebrated what it considers the beating heart of the economy – family businesses.

‘Successful Succession Strategies’ brought together key players and experts in the field, as well as members of prominent family businesses who managed to make the succession process a success.

Titled ‘A Family Affair – Safeguarding Malta and Europe’s Beating Heart’, the national conference held on 1st October 2018 was headlined by world-class international speakers as well as some of Malta’s leading household names.

For this purpose, the Malta Chamber teamed up once again with Bank of Valletta, drawing on each other’s experience and expertise in the area.

International names Ferrero R&D Chief Briano Olivares, Buffa Founder Paolo Buffa, and Grimaldi Lines Director Eugenio Grimaldi addressed the conference, and were joined by Joseph Zammit Tabona from Infinitely Xara, Denise Xuereb from AX Group and Benjamin Tabone Grech from Engel & Völkers Sara Grech.

Addressing the business breakfast, Malta Chamber President Frank V. Farrugia said that family businesses were a central backbone of Malta’s economy, so it was in the country’s best interest to foster a favourable environment for family-run enterprises.

The speakers shared their experiences of running some of the world’s most recognisable business brands, and divulged how they managed to reinvent themselves to maintain and consolidate their market share. The President of the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry, Frank V. Farrugia, announced the establishment of a new Chamber committee dedicated specifically

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Mr Farrugia said that several challenges and uncertainties must be overcome throughout the lifetime of a family business, particularly when transferring from second to third generation and beyond.

Dr Nadine Lia from the Family Business Office provided a presentation on the instruments available to assist family business transfer.

S T A R T- U P S T R O N G – A C C E S S T O F I N A N C E

For Albert Frendo – Chief Credit Business Development Officer at Bank of Valletta, the resilience of family businesses is what sets them apart, while managing the interests of the family and the business concurrently is no easy feat. Moderated by Etienne Borg Cardona, a panel discussion featuring three well-established entrepreneurs discussed the strategies behind the success of their business’ transition across generations. Malta Chamber Council member Liz Barbaro Sant – Director, Alberta Group, underlined the importance of starting early in the day to plan the succession from one generation to the next. She said it is important to surround oneself with valid people at Board and Management level, while it is crucial for emotions to be addressed and well-managed, for the successful succession of the business. She also noted that patience is key in the entire process.

Numerous young entrepreneurs attended an event on the availability of funds for start-ups titled ‘Start-Up Strong: Access to Finance’ at the Malta Chamber on 13th November 2018. The event organised in collaboration with BOV, formed part of SME Week.

Coming from one of the most iconic family businesses of the country, Louis Farrugia – Chairman, Farsons Group of Companies, said that succession is not the end. He stressed the importance of family members to further their studies, as well as for their talents to be nurtured well ahead. The Chamber former President spoke about the importance of getting expert hands on deck from outside the family circle, which according to him, made all the difference.

Welcoming a packed hall of new and aspiring entrepreneurs, Malta Chamber President Frank V. Farrugia urged the audience to persevere through the inevitable hardships that one will face during the initial stages of a business’ lifetime, as the result will always make one proud. The President also urged those present to maintain strong ties with the Chamber as it strives to offer services of relevance to the new breed of entrepreneurs.

Malta Chamber former President Anton Borg – Managing Director, Eurosupplies Ltd said that businesses ought to identify who the leaders in the family are from early on. He emphasised the importance of keeping the best interest of the business a priority during the process and avoiding the pitfalls of getting too emotional. Mr Borg warned against underestimating the future generations, as he said that it is vital for them to be rewarded handsomely in order to keep them interested in the family business. A good governance structure is also important for Mr Borg, as this provides transparency and an arena for healthy discussion between generations.

Albert Frendo, Chief Business Development Officer (Credit), BOV, explained why established banks tend to tread cautiously when requested to finance start-ups, noting that high risk profiles do not usually fit within the risk appetite of established banks. Mr Frendo presented BOV’s Risk Sharing Instrument ‘JAIME’ which allows start-ups to access bank financing with lower collateral requirements and lower costs. He also stressed BOV’s commitment to support the (new) business community within the bank’s risk parameters in a sustainable way.

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M O V I N G T O WA R D S A C A S H L E S S E C O N O M Y

Maria Micallef, Managing Partner, RSM Malta, provided expert insight on how to build a business plan that guides one’s start-up to growth and success, while also providing the necessary information to potential investors. Moira Attard, Director General, Measures and Support Division, presented the Business Enhance Grant Scheme of relevance to start-ups, namely the SME Consultancy Services Scheme, the Start-up Investment Scheme, the e-Commerce Scheme, the SME Internationalisation Scheme, as well as the RD&I Scheme.

The Malta Chamber, in collaboration with HSBC Bank Malta plc and EY Malta, organised a seminar on developments leading towards a cashless economy. The session was moderated by Dr David Zahra, Chairman of the Malta Chamber’s Financial Services Business Section.

Karl Herrera, Chief Officer Incentive Management, Malta Enterprise, presented ‘Business Start’, ‘Start-up Advance’, ‘Start-up Finance’ and ‘Micro Invest’; four unique support mechanisms offered by Malta Enterprise to start-ups at different stages of development.

The event, held on 20th March, was welcomed by the President of the Malta Chamber Frank V. Farrugia, who stated that the Chamber recognises the numerous opportunities and benefits at hand for both businesses and consumers in Malta, benefits based on increased convenience, safety and traceability.

The presentations were followed by a panel discussion dedicated to alternative forms of finance and support. Adrian Galea, Head of Finance and Deals at GoBeyond urged stakeholders, particularly investors, to consolidate current fragmented practices efforts and to foster a strong business angel investor mentality and network within the local scene. Matthew Caruana, Manager, ZAAR, noted that crowdfunding is a viable alternative form of financing the initial stages of a business, but as a practice it is still in relative infancy locally. He explained that crowdfunding will be bolstered by the forthcoming introduction of the MFSA’s crowdfunding regulations.

He also concluded that Malta must develop its own strategy in this respect, as what worked well in other jurisdictions might not necessarily work well within the realities of our local market. The attendees were also welcomed by Andrew Beane, CEO at HSBC Bank Malta plc, who spoke at length on the initiatives being taken by the bank. He stated that Malta remains one of the most cash intensive economies in Europe. He further contended that banks’ compliance and regulatory costs are bringing about a change and will make the use of cash and cheque payments less prevalent in the long term. He insisted that international business counterparts expect electronic payments, as these are signs of reliability and transparency. He also concluded that if Malta embarks on this initiative, he believes that it will help the country’s competitive edge and attract more foreign business operators to the country.

Julian Azzopardi, CEO, JAYE, stressed the invaluable importance of mentoring, education and exposure related to entrepreneurship even at an early age. He explained JAYE’s role in guiding many teenagers in possession of raw entrepreneurial talent and ambitions to succeed through practical experience. Concluding the event, Aaron Farrugia, Parliamentary Secretary for EU Funds and Social Dialogue, noted Government’s ambition to have an agile and growing economy supported by both EU grants and various other financial instruments. He noted positive developments in the fact that the EU Commission should be boosting the EU funds budget for SMEs in the next Budget.

In a keynote speech, Emanuele Vignoli – Regional Head of Global Liquidity and Cash Management at HSBC spoke about the fact that processing cash and cheque payments can cost an economy between 0.5 to 1 per cent of its GDP. He argued that the economies

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that still depend on cash transactions will require a cultural change similar to the ones seen in other economic models such as the Nordic ones. He specified that Sweden in particular was becoming the first cashless economy mainly because of four main factors, namely the cost of cash transactions, payments through electronic means are faster, there is a transparent audit trail of the transactions and the risks of handling cash when compared to e-payments.

The event, which was supported by the European Commission Representation in Malta and Enterprise Europe Network Malta, focused on the new Multi-Annual Financial Framework for the period 2020-2027, the European Fund for Strategic Investments and, most notably, the newly-established Malta Development Bank.

He also argued that banks, in particular HSBC through the developments of new applications, are moving in that direction. The new generations are demanding for this change to happen fast and that smartphone transactions and contactless payment systems are made easier. He concluded by saying that the business community should be the first to embrace change and to make sure to collaborate closely with business partners and suppliers. Malta has a strong opportunity in making this transition, not least because it is a service-oriented open economy which depends largely on foreign investment and a tourist industry which originates from strong digital payment usage countries.

In his opening address, Malta Chamber VicePresident Andrew Mamo noted how EU Budget discussions “generate significant interest and serve to mobilise all stakeholders to play a part in leveraging EU funds, even more so now that as a small but growing island economy, Malta really does recognise the direct and indirect benefits of the millions of euro derived from European Union funding in recent years.”

In the other keynote speech, Grace Camilleri, Associate Partner, Banking Advisory Services at EY Malta, spoke about the current status of payments in Malta, initiatives undertaken in other countries to move towards a cashless society and the ongoing national discussions on a strategy for electronic payments.

He warned that it would be unwise of Malta to simply expect similar or higher levels of European funds allocated to the island and stressed the importance of a carefully-designed portfolio of blended financing streams that allows the country and its business community to invest in projects and initiatives.

Michel Cordina, Head of Commercial Banking at HSBC Bank Malta plc and Ronald Attard, Managing Partner at EY Malta, concluded the event by saying that this was only the start of a national debate which required the input of all stakeholders. They said that as with any change the impact of any downside and advantage needed to be considered in terms of all stakeholders. However, there are numerous benefits to moving towards a cashless society.

Albert Frendo, Chief Business Development Officer (Credit), BOV, spoke about market gaps that are dynamic realities which need to be addressed to ensure higher economic and research and development activities that will contribute towards sustainable growth. Financial instruments are an effective way to address such gaps and BOV is proud to take a leading role in making these instruments available to the business community.

LEVERAGING EU FUNDS – A DEVELOPMENT BANK PERSPECTIVE

Parliamentary Secretary Dr Aaron Farrugia stated that leverage will be crucial and that across the EU, it is likely that the traditional mix of ESIF and Government own funds to finance projects will not be enough to sustain the growth momentum, especially as most governments remain fiscally constrained.

Both businesses and institutions gained insight into the expected updates to the businessfinancing landscape in Malta during an event titled ‘Leveraging EU Funds: A Development Bank Perspective’ organised by the Malta Chamber and BOV plc on 1st June 2018.

Dr Farrugia noted that the Government is working to address the funding gap through

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addressed by S.I.A. Imprese, a Sicilian company with a vast network of Sicilian and Italian skilled human resources looking for opportunities in Malta. The aim of the three-way collaboration is to link members of the Chamber with a vast database of potential employees and fill in any skills gaps through tailor-made short courses delivered by MCAST.

the establishment of the Malta Development Bank which will function to leverage scarce resources through better blending of financing instruments for the benefit of the private sector and to maintain Malta’s growth momentum. Estelle Göger, representing the European Commission’s DG ECFIN, provided a detailed overview of the European Fund for Strategic Investment and the funding possibilities that the instrument provides. She noted that Malta ranks last in terms of EIB funding for projects and stressed that the Commission urges and welcomes more projects from Malta.

The session was held on Wednesday 12th December 2018 at the Malta Chamber’s Exchange Buildings. Opening the session, Malta Chamber Director General Kevin J. Borg elaborated on the Chamber’s efforts to seek effective solutions for members facing acute labour shortages as a result of the thriving performances being experienced across the economy. He noted how numerous companies have gone to great lengths and costs in order to recruit workers from third countries, sometimes even outside of the European continent, but few have considered the potential of Malta’s closest neighbouring region.

Mark Mawhinney, from the European Investment Advisory Hub, stressed the importance of the role played by the hub and its partners as translators of the policy and regulation tied to funding. Malta Development Bank Chairman Prof. Josef Bonnici explained how the bank will serve to complement and supplement the products and services that local commercial banks offer on the market, with an aim to close the significant gap in financing by blending funds from various streams such as EU funds, private investor funds, public funds and others.

Marco Savarino, International Relationship Manager, S.I.A. Imprese, explained that, at present, southern Italians and Sicilians are not as fortunate as the Maltese in terms of the career opportunities available to them, and hence, many are open to move to Malta to work and live. The frequent connections between the regions, together with the similar cultures, lifestyles and languages, make Malta a very attractive place for Italian and Sicilian workers of all skill levels.

Csaba Harsanyi, from the Brussels Representative Office of the Hungarian Development Bank provided invaluable insight into the structure and inner working of a successful development bank, explaining how through numerous best practices the Hungarian Development Bank adds up to 1.5 per cent GDP to the national economy every year.

Fredrick Schembri, Chairman of the MCAST Board of Governors and Managing Director of Aurobindo Pharma (Malta), explained how MCAST is actively seeking to enhance the quality of its education and training in order to offer better-equipped graduates. Mr Schembri reflected on positive experiences when recruiting skilled Sicilian workers in the area of pharmacology and recognised an opportunity for MCAST to contribute to the plethora of initiatives aimed at mitigating labour shortages in Malta by teaming up with the Malta Chamber and S.I.A. Imprese.

In her closing address, Head of the European Commission Representation in Malta, Dr Elena Grech, stressed that in a European context of shrinking financial resources and in view of the significant investment needed to tackle society’s current and future challenges, the case for ‘doing more with less’ becomes even more compelling, noting that blending of grants with financial instruments like guarantees, loans and equities has the potential of increasing the leverage effect of EU funds.

Following the information session, the Malta Chamber issued a survey among members for more information on the number and type of skilled workers required, and to gauge interest regarding participation in recruitment drives in Sicily.

HANDS ON EFFORTS TO HELP RECRUIT HR

As part of its efforts to mitigate the growing labour shortages and skills gap being experienced in the Maltese economy, the Malta Chamber, in collaboration with MCAST Gateway to Industry, organised an information session

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Dr Sapiano highlighted that the framework shall set out the various requirements which operators in the field must adhere to; replicate the high-level principles of EU market abuse; and impose requirements which extend beyond the fifth anti-money laundering directive. Silvan Mifsud, Senior Manager – Advisory Services, EMCS, delivered an overview of the Virtual Financial Assets Act. In a technical presentation he explained the definitions of DLT assets under the Act, the licensing process of ICOs and of VFA service providers, the Financial instrument test and the anti-money laundering requirements.

B L O C K C H A I N – T H E N E W R E G U L AT O R Y FRAMEWORK

“Blockchain has the potential to create new foundations for global economic and social systems, rather than be a disruptive force towards traditional business models,” said Frank V. Farrugia, President of the Malta Chamber, as he was addressing ‘Blockchain – The New Regulatory Framework’, an event organised by the Chamber in collaboration with EMCS on 26th July 2018.

Gordon Micallef, Partner, RSM Malta, spoke about the Innovative Arrangement and Services Act, and the Malta Digital Innovation Authority Act. Mr Micallef explained that primarily, the purpose of the ITAS Act is to lay grounds on which authorisation of an arrangement or service shall be granted by the MDIA. “The MDIA Act, on the other hand, outlines guiding principles for the Authority in supporting the development of innovative technology arrangements and services in Malta,” Mr Micallef explained. Kenneth Farrugia, Chief Business Development Officer at Bank of Valletta, said that from an industry perspective, banks and financial services organisations are following progress in the space of DLT and fintech more closely. “Banks are conscious of the potential presented by the innovative technology, and are looking at ways and means of how they may tap into the benefits that these solutions offer.”

The President welcomed the recently-approved regulatory framework which he called a first step in the right direction, noting also that Malta is among the first countries to implement regulatory frameworks to attract new investments as it has done in the past in financial services, aviation, pharmaceutical companies and remote gaming. Addressing the seminar, Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services, Digital Economy and Innovation Silvio Schembri said that Malta became the first world jurisdiction to offer a holistic approach to regulate Distributed Ledger Technology.

Mr Farrugia made reference to specific case studies, and the benefits DLT solutions provided, primarily in terms of customer experience, operational efficiency through automation and cost savings. Mr Farrugia went on to highlight challenges that this space presents. “Banks will always tread carefully as these are new technologies which have to be tried and tested,” Mr Farrugia concluded.

“The highly anticipated bills are now enacted into law,” Mr Schembri said. “The establishment of the Malta Digital Innovation Authority will focus on innovative technology arrangements and their use cases. At initial stage, the Authority will only focus on DLT and related smart contracts. At the moment, the Authority is working on the rules and procedures to be issued for public consultation and gather the feedback of the industry. This new technology is expected to impact various industries and thus it is important that there is a framework for cooperation between the MDIA and other authorities.”

In his concluding remarks, Stefano Mallia, EESC Vice-President – Employers, said that this is a very important step, as with it Malta gained the first mover’s advantage on the international stage. He argued that it was important to find the right balance of regulation in the sector. Under-regulation or over-regulation could both be detrimental to a potentially important sector.

Dr Gerd Sapiano, Analyst, Securities and Markets Supervision Unit, MFSA, explained that the regulatory framework being proposed seeks to ensure investor protection, promote market integrity and safeguard financial stability.

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better understand the Regulation and how to prepare to meet its requirements.

sector in blockchain, Mr Mallia said that in the long run, he believed they would also see the immense possibilities.

The Commissioner of Information and Data Protection Saviour Cachia, together with Ian Deguara, Director Technical Affairs, explained the Regulation and its provisions, and how these need to be addressed. The presentation concluded with a series of Take Home Messages to help businesses identify and prioritise the actions needed to ensure adequate readiness.

ARE YOU GDPR READY?

The Malta Chamber, together with the Office of the Information and Data Protection Commissioner and RSM Malta, organised an information session to discuss the General Data Protection Regulation which came into effect on 25th May 2018.

The IDPC reiterated the Commissioner’s willingness to assist with advice and guidance.

In 2012 the Commission came up with a proposal for a single set of rules meant to bring the existing Data Protection Regulation up to speed for the digital age, while also reducing some unnecessary burdens on businesses.

Gordon Micallef, RSM Malta Partner for Business and Technology Consulting Services, explained some of the main concepts and went over the obligations from a business perspective while giving some pointers on best compliance practices. Mr Micallef also provided the audience with the main points of an Action Plan for businesses to follow in order to come up to speed with the new regulation.

Chamber Director General, Kevin J. Borg, welcomed the participants to the very wellattended event, on behalf of the Chamber President, and thanked the Office of the IDPC and RSM Malta for collaborating to provide the business community with an opportunity to

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POLICY COMMITTEES ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE

Chamber as part of a consultation process currently underway for the ‘2030 National Energy and Climate Plan’.

The Energy and Environment Committee continued to meet during 2018 and successfully furthered its efforts to advocate policy that benefits both business and environment. Dialogue with Government and Opposition on Long-term Vision for Transport With an aim to share its views on the country’s long-term vision in the areas of transport and infrastructure, the Committee reached out to Government and the Opposition.

In a letter signed by Energy and Environment Committee Chair Perit David Xuereb, the Chamber argued that tax credits were no longer an attractive instrument to drive private sector investment, especially in areas such as energy efficiency, where the return on investment tends to exceed a medium-term period of three to five years.

In April 2018, the Committee met with Dr Ian Borg, Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, together with James Piscopo, CEO Transport Malta, Ing. Fredrick Schembri, CEO Infrastructure Malta, Perit Johann Buttigieg, Chairman Planning Authority and Dr Lino Farrugia Sacco, Chairman Lands Authority.

The letter, addressed to the Energy and Water Agency, clarified “the Malta Chamber firmly believes that in order to have more notable and effective take-up of support schemes for energy efficiency investment projects in the private sector, support measures and/or incentives must be given in grant form.”

The discussions focused on the effective application of master plans for a more holistic assessment of the impact and the advantages/ disadvantages of a project, the future of transport in Malta, green transport plans, future policy regarding electric and diesel vehicles, as well as plans for collective transport schemes.

“Increased investment in energy efficiency by the private sector has played, and will continue to play, a vital role in the attainment of the national energy efficiency and other climaterelated targets so it is of primary importance that the private sector is offered support measures that are attractive and in line with their present and future needs,” the letter concluded.

In June 2018, a similar meeting was held with Opposition spokespersons for the Environment and Transport, Dr Marthese Portelli and Perit Toni Bezzina respectively. The Committee sought to assess whether Government and Opposition views on such issues of national strategic importance are aligned in the interest of certainty.

Green Public Procurement Opening an Information and Consultation Session on the Second National Action Plan for Green Public Procurement in Malta, held on 17th January 2019, Energy and Environment Chairperson Perit David Xuereb noted that public procurement was no longer simply an administrative process to purchase goods and services, but could be seen as an important tool to help reach strategic goals, including resource efficiency objectives.

On Minister Borg’s recommendation, the Committee shall continue to play a role as an independent platform for cross-party discussions on such subjects where a single united long-term vision is of benefit for all. Grants Should Replace Energy Efficiency Tax Credits The Malta Chamber proposed that support measures to help businesses carry out investment in energy efficiency ought to be given in grant form rather than as tax credits, as is the current practice.

Perit Xuereb said that in recent years, Malta had experienced significant efforts through numerous projects and various incentives aimed at enhancing the country’s efficiency and sustainability when it came to public procurement. Some of these projects have even changed the way we live and the way we do business.

The proposal was made by the Energy and Environment Committee within the Malta

The information session proceeded with a presentation by Ministry for Sustainable

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Sick Leave Management in Today’s Working Environment In the present labour market context, it is vital to tackle known loopholes that exist in the country’s healthcare system which allow for systematic, unauthorised and unnecessary use of one’s sick leave entitlement. This was one of the main messages by employers and doctors during a seminar discussing Sick Leave Management in Today’s Working Environment, organised by the Human Resources Committee within the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry.

Development, the Environment and Climate Change (MSDEC) officials Ruth Debrincat and Branica Xuereb, who informed members present about the overarching aims of the Second National Action Plan for GPP in Malta for the seven-year period 2019 to 2025. The MSDEC officials noted how in 2017, 63 per cent of public tenders falling under GPP product groups were greened. They said that the aim was to achieve 90 per cent by 2025, while also increasing the number of product groups by an additional six groups.

The seminar, held on Thursday 15th March 2018, brought together numerous stakeholders including public and private sector employers, company doctors, family doctors, trade unions and employment lawyers to explore whether traditional practices in sick leave management remain relevant and effective in today’s rapidly changing society and work environment.

The Ministry officials added that nine measures were being enacted to improve uptake of GPP. They also informed members present that the GPP Office within MSDEC will be organising training for economic operators in every specific product group throughout 2019. “GPP Office is welcoming feedback on the specific GPP criteria for each and every product group. Detailed criteria can be accessed from the attached National Action Plan document,” the officials said.

Tackling loopholes such as open-ended sickness certificates, often produced by primary health centre doctors, as well as questionable certification practices by certain family doctors is of primary importance. Dr David Attard, an occupational health specialist and practising company physician noted that doctors do not receive formal training on how to certify fitness for work and rarely consider a patient’s job and work environment when certifying a period of sick leave.

During the consultation session, members stressed that contracting authorities must keep up-to-date with constant developments in technology in order to issue tenders with up-to-date technical specifications. Updated technology tends to be more efficient in itself, hence greener. GPP Office noted that since the seven-year horizon was rather lengthy, the second GPP national action plan was being treated as a live document and would be constantly updated to be kept up-todate, following necessary consultation on any amendments.

Dr Zammit Montebello, Vice-President of the Association of Family Doctors, explained that a doctor’s role is not to police employees and control sick leave, but to assess fitness for work and respect doctor-patient confidentiality.

Thematic Sub-Committees Focusing on Critical Areas In 2017, the Committee established four thematic sub-committees in the areas of Renewable Energy, Water, Transport and Waste. The sub-committees continued to meet throughout 2018 and provided the Committee with researched views and proposals to improve the issues in each respective area. The subcommittee’s research and recommendations have also fed into the feedback and proposals advocated by the Chamber on numerous occasions and on many inter-related matters.

Dr Zammit Montebello and Dr Attard agreed that the management of sick leave and efforts to eliminate abuse remain the responsibility of a company’s HR function. HR Committee Chairperson Catherine Calleja and BOV HR Executive Ray Debattista also agreed. Mr Debattista proceeded to elaborate numerous initiatives to improve workplace environments, job engagement and job satisfaction – all of which played a significant role in reducing instances of employee sick leave. Furthermore, Mr Debattista together with Yakob Zahra, Director for People Support and Well-being within the Office of the Prime Minister, described modern tools and practices to monitor sick leave patterns, tackle suspicions of abuse and incentivise presenteeism.

HUMAN RESOURCES

Throughout the year under review, the HR Committee met frequently and discussed numerous issues of priority for the present labour market.

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Dr Lara Pace, Associate, Ganado Advocates, noted the changing landscape with regards to confidentiality and data protection, in view of the new EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance deadline of 25th May 2018. Dr Pace informed HR managers that a data policy should be attached to employees’ contract of employment. Dr Pace stressed that GDPR’s core principles of lawfulness, purpose limitation, data minimisation, data accuracy, data integrity, storage limitation and accountability all apply to employee health data.

the size and sector of the respondent, company policy regarding submission of medical certificates and company doctor visits and other relevant data. Focus on Employee Attendance in HR Workshop Managing employee attendance by maximising engagement and productivity is a priority for all employers, more so in the present labour market characterised by significant shortages. To this end, on 29th January 2019, the Committee held a workshop aimed at equipping managers with the skills to carry out return to work interviews, as this has proven to be an effective practice that helps to increase employee attendance and engagement. Such interviews demonstrate to employees that the employer notices their absences and gives the manager an opportunity to identify possibly underlying causes of frequent non-attendance.

Employment lawyer Dr Matthew Brincat, Partner, Ganado Advocates, stressed that sick leave and fitness for work is a medical issue and must be left in the hands of trustworthy doctors. He called for a culture change among certain HR managers who occasionally attempt to substitute the medical profession and assess employees’ fitness for work.

The workshop commenced with an introduction of the Committee’s role by Catherine Calleja, Chairperson of the HR Committee, who also explained why the Committee agreed to organise training on return to work interviews and how it seeks to continue enhancing the skills of member HR managers.

GWU Secretary General Josef Bugeja proposed to employers across all industries to adapt to Malta’s evolving society wherein family responsibilities are increasing but family time is decreasing by allowing their employees more flexibility where possible. UHM Voice of the Workers Secretary General Josef Vella noted his Union’s efforts to educate members on the impact of an employee’s recurring sick leave on fellow colleagues, who have to bear the workload instead.

The workshop, led by Dr Paul Daniel Micallef, Mindworks Malta, focused on the attitudes that ensure holistic well-being for all at the workplace as a way to enhance employee engagement and proceeded to equip the managers present with the necessary skills to perform effective return to work interviews. Dr Micallef also stressed the importance of factual documentation and how to lead an effective shift from a victim mentality to a growth mindset.

As a viable way forward, the participants agreed that a wider discussion with other stakeholders playing a substantial role in tackling absenteeism is required. Discussions shall be driven by the Malta Chamber’s HR Committee and will include public healthcare services, as significant contributors to unnecessary absenteeism, as well as the National Statistics Office, since useful data is lacking.

Dr Lara Pace, Associate, Ganado Advocates, provided attendees with important context on how to apply such practices within the spirit of the General Data Protection Regulation.

Benchmarking Members’ Sick Leave Statistics Following the March 2018 workshop, the HR Committee recognised the lack of accurate data pertaining to sick leave in the private sector as an issue. In order to hold more balanced discussions on the subject, the Committee decided to carry out a survey among Chamber members to establish some benchmark statistics pertaining to sick leave in the present work environment.

Malta Chamber Policy Executive, Nigel Mifsud, presented the main findings of the sick leave statistics survey carried out among members of the Malta Chamber. HR Warrant In late 2018, the Committee was consulted by the Foundation for Human Resources Development regarding a proposal to introduce a professional warrant for HR personnel.

The survey was carried out during October 2018 and gathered data relating to the average number of sick leave days per worker per year,

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Welcoming guests to the wellattended event, President Frank V. Farrugia said that the Chamber took pride in providing its members with the necessary tools to help them venture into new projects, as well as hand-hold new and budding businesses.

The Committee is currently engaged in close analysis of the proposal and shall continue to consult closely with FHRD, Government and other stakeholders on the matter as it is expected to have notable repercussions on many professionals and companies.

MARKETING

The objectives of the Marketing Committee within the Malta Chamber are predominantly to contribute to the development and recognition of the marketing profession, to help businesses to embrace the marketing function, to set standards in the same profession, offer guidance on marketing matters to the Malta Chamber, and to promote an ethical approach and best practices in marketing. The Marketing Committee also collaborates with other entities which share common objectives.

Mr Farrugia noted that the event was providing members with access to assistance available from Government and relevant authorities for businesses to set up their e-commerce ventures. Marketing Committee Chairperson Louis Olivieri said that the marketing needs of businesses were changing, as they reflected the changing needs of today’s society. E-commerce was in fact a natural progression of a society that was increasingly moving its activities online.

During the period under review, the Malta Chamber Marketing Committee has grown to include two new members within its team, namely Anika Gatt Seretny and Christian Peregin, while Morgan Parnis tendered his resignation in early 2019.

The event also featured presentations on available funds and tools for businesses to set up their online e-commerce operations.

Building on its strong rapport with the Malta Communications Authority (MCA), the Marketing Committee organised an event titled ‘E-Commerce in Practice – Taking Your Business to the Next Level’.

Aldo Formosa from the Measures and Support Division within the Ministry for European Affairs and Equality explained the parameters of the e-Commerce Grant Scheme which is supported through the European Regional Development Fund. The e-Commerce Grant Scheme is aimed at encouraging and supporting enterprises to increase their competitiveness by adopting e-commerce through online sales in their daily operations.

The event, which took place on 30th May 2018, aimed at helping businesses learn more about the help available to set up and run an e-commerce venture, as well as get inspired by businesses who have been innovative in their use of digital media.

Denise Borda spoke about the Malta Communications Authority’s work to oversee as well as support the development of e-Commerce in Malta. She gave an outline of the different initiatives that the Authority is currently offering with the aim to assist businesses and individuals take their business online.

Addressing the event, Mr Peregin, from Lovin Malta, said “change can either be resisted or turned into a business opportunity.” He explained how in an ever-changing environment, especially in the realm of news and information, Lovin Malta’s overnight success was down to correctly reading the audience’s appetite for quality and diversity of content, while capitalising on new commercial opportunities that arose.

Apart from the organisation of events, the Marketing Committee is currently designing an action plan to address issues that affect the day-to-day running of businesses that are involved in the sector.

Matthew Bezzina, who also provided an inspirational account of his experience as founder of eCabs, said that the use of technology gave his business the required edge to establish itself as the country’s largest player in the sector. Understanding the market and assuring efficiency in the running of the cab service was key for the business to grow.

Mr Olivieri also contributes regularly to the blogs within the Malta Chamber’s Business portal on marketing-related subjects.

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ECONOMIC GROUPS EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEMBERS IMPORTERS, DISTRIBUTORS AND RETAILERS ECONOMIC GROUP

SERVICES PROVIDERS ECONOMIC GROUP Mr Matthew E. Sullivan – Chairman Ms Liz Barbaro Sant – Deputy Chairman Dr David Grech – Vice-Chairman Mr Hugh Arrigo Mr Mario Spiteri Mr David Xuereb

Mr Christopher Vassallo Cesareo – Chairman Mr Anthony Tabone – Deputy Chairman Mr Charles Borg – Vice-Chairman Mr Reginald Fava Mr Andrew W.J. Mamo Mr Charles A. Zahra

M A N U FA C T U R E R S A N D O T H E R I N D U S T R I E S ECONOMIC GROUP Mr Patrick Cachia – Chairman Mr Nicholas Xuereb – Deputy Chairman Mr Joseph Pace – Vice-Chairman Mr Norman Aquilina Mr Matthias Fauser Ms Marisa Xuereb Mr Reuben Cuschieri, Co-opted Mr Brian Muscat, Co-opted

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ECONOMIC GROUPS

IMPORTERS, DISTRIBUTORS AND RETAILERS ECONOMIC GROUP

up meeting to previous meetings in which similar issues were raised.

During the year under review, the Importers, Distributors and Retailers Economic Group (IDREG), under the Chairmanship of Chris Vassallo Cesareo, met eight times, during which the following issues were discussed: • Abuse in free movement of goods • Parking spaces in Valletta • Excise duties on toiletries and fragrances • Electronic payments and cashless economy • MCCAA Laboratory tests • Beverage containers deposit and refund system • Simplification of work and residence permits of third country nationals • New emerging segments

During the same meeting, issues related to the services offered by the Authority’s Laboratory Services Directorate to provide testing services for the Maltese industry which currently had to resort to laboratory testing abroad, was raised. The MCCAA officials confirmed that they were in the phase of providing new testing facilities and services to incorporate the food and beverage industry. Meeting with Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects The Executive Committee held a meeting with Minister Ian Borg to discuss potential changes to the current parking system in Valletta and the lack of loading/unloading facilities in the main commercial areas on the island.

Follow-up Meeting with the Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority (MCCAA) At the beginning of the year, the IDREG Committee met with MCCAA Chairperson, Ing. Helga Pizzuto, to discuss a number of concerns raised by importers in terms of labelling, market surveillance and difficulties being faced by importers and distributors of food supplements and the authorisation of relative health claims and the listing of ingredients. This was a follow-

The issues stemmed from discussions with operators based in the capital city who were asking for more parking availability and operators whose delivery vehicles operate in all other commercial areas. Following this initial meeting, discussions ensued with Transport Malta, the Valletta Local Council and Ministry officials to find solutions to this problem, with Ministry officials informing Malta Chamber

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officials that a holistic parking plan in Valletta was being planned in the forthcoming months.

and the VAT Department known as the Joint Enforcement Taskforce (JET). On another occasion, the IDREG discussed the possibility of amending the current system of excise duties on toiletries and fragrances. Customs officials confirmed that they were open to ideas and the IDREG organised a workshop during which a number of importers and distributors of the products affected by this duty met to discuss potential amendments. When different scenarios were assessed, it was concluded that the current system would be the least cumbersome administratively.

Consultation on a new Electronic Payments Strategy The Chairman of the Economic Group, Chris Vassallo Cesareo, was directly involved in discussions with the authorities during the consultation on the drafting of an electronic payments strategy for Malta. During these discussions, the Malta Chamber representatives raised the following issues: 1) that a phased-in approach with clear timelines should be adopted rather than a bigbang approach; 2) that the Malta Chamber is against a one-sizefits-all cash payment limit; 3) the importance of education and training as a key enabler to shift the cash culture in Malta; 4) Government should enter discussions with the main commercial banks to make electronic payments more attractive to the business community; and 5) Government should incentivise and invest more in new technological solutions.

HEALTHCARE

The HealthCare Executive Committee maintained an excellent channel of communication with the CPSU and held four meetings in 2018. The Committee also held a meeting for all its members to update them and gather feedback about the New Tender Conditions and challenges with regard to supply, stock and deliveries. The Committee is working closely with CPSU in the revision of their supply chain management ways of working, in an effort to ensure that this is implemented in a manner that is compatible with best industry practice. This ongoing communication and collaboration with the CPSU is very important for both sides and enhances the Committee’s standing with what is, in effect, the largest single client for Section members.

Following a broader consultation with Chamber members, extensive feedback was also submitted to the relevant authorities. Malta Beverage Importers Association As part of the developments in relation to the Beverage Container Deposit and Refund System (BCRS), the IDREG was instrumental in bringing together the majority of beverage importers and distributors in forming an association which will represent their interests during the set-up of the new system. A number of meetings led by the Chamber’s President and IDREG Chairman were called to form this new association. For more details on the BCRS, see the Policy section.

Besides maintaining close contact with CPSU with regards to further changes to be implemented, the Committee’s agenda also includes pro-active collaboration with the MCCAA and the MA on the forthcoming implementation of the new Medical Devices Directive in 2020. To this end, Committee members have already commenced discussions aimed at influencing a local implementation which is suitable to our small market.

Meetings with Director of Customs on Abuse in Free Movement of Goods and Excise Duty The Executive Committee held a number of meetings with the Director of Customs, Joseph Chetcuti, and other Customs officials in order to discuss developments within the agency, particularly in terms of excise duty on certain items and enforcement of products imported from the single market. During the meetings, Customs also reported on the investments the Department had undertaken to strengthen its enforcement capabilities including new scanning facilities at the Freeport, the strengthening of the canine section and the joint operations being undertaken by Customs

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PROFESSIONAL COMMUNITY LEAD PHARMACISTS

this regulation which came into effect on 9th February 2019.

Sunday Opening Hours During 2018 the Executive Committee discussed the possibility of pharmacies opening on a Sunday afternoon. It was agreed to recommend to the Medicines Authority that in order to be able to provide a better service to patients, a roster should be established whereby pharmacies are open on a Sunday afternoon. The proposal was based on the following points: • The pharmacy on duty on Sunday morning must close at 12.30pm; • The roster will be separate from the Sunday morning roster; • The roster will be based on the 13 electoral districts with one pharmacy open per district; • The opening hours on a Sunday afternoon would be 2pm to 6pm throughout the year.

The Delegated Regulation on Safety Features represented a significant achievement in the efforts of the European Community to put in place the necessary infrastructure, safety features and verification systems that will improve vigilance throughout the pharmaceutical supply chain to protect patients from falsified medicinal products. Pharmacists were required to adopt an even more active role to ensure that these measures gave the desired results. Proper understanding of the Delegated Regulations and the instruments that had been put in place was essential. The talk addressed the presence of safety features on medicinal products, the setup and functioning of a European Medicines Verification System, and how pharmacists would be called upon to take the next steps in the implementation of this legislation.

The proposals were forwarded to the Chairman of the Medicines Authority for consideration, however a reply had not been received.

The second meeting was held on 24th January 2019 and dealt with the software required to help pharmacies and pharmaceutical businesses to install the necessary equipment to be in a position to adhere to the new Falsified Medicines Directive.

Internet Pharmacy Members had also discussed a new service being offered via the internet. An internet advert offered patients the possibility to upload their prescription for medicines to be dispensed and subsequently delivered to their home.

WINES AND SPIRITS, BEVERAGES AND TOBACCO

The Wines, Spirits, Beverages and Tobacco Executive Committee’s main focus was the proposed Beverage Containers Recycling System (BCRS). The Executive Committee attended a focus group meeting to provide the Chamber with additional feedback from the import stakeholders. An Executive Committee member was nominated to represent the importers in the consultation stages. The Committee also continued to work on its agenda, which includes the lack of unloading facilities, the development by Customs of a real time online payment system and VAT on excisable products.

It was the opinion of the Executive Committee that this was a flagrant breach of the Code of Ethics regulating the pharmacy profession and action should be taken by the Medicines Authority to stop this advertising. These adverts and the service being offered were diametrically against the conditions of the Memorandum of Understanding on the issue of licences to operate a pharmacy due to the fact that this was much more than a pharmacy, as it was providing a mobile delivery service all over the island. A letter had been sent to the Chairman of the Medicines Authority requesting that immediate action be taken to stop these irregularities which were causing great concern within the profession.

M A N U FA C T U R I N G E C O N O M I C G R O U P The Manufacturing Economic Group (MEG) met on numerous occasions throughout the year under review.

Delegated Regulation on Safety Features The Lead Professional Pharmacists Business Section organised two information meetings on the Delegated Regulation on Safety Features. At the first meeting on 26th November 2018, Prof. Claude Farrugia delivered a presentation on

Constant dialogue with Ministry for Energy, Ministry for the Economy and Malta Enterprise During 2018 the Manufacturing Economic Group maintained dialogue with the Ministry

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for Energy as commercial energy tariffs continue to be one of the costliest overheads for Malta’s industry, especially when compared to competing regions. In recent months, the Board has put forward a number of innovative proposals aimed at alleviating energy tariffs for Maltese industry and shall continue to explore potential developments closely.

rapidly, largely due to the nimble economic and political climate in Malta. It was also agreed that such dialogue meetings are held on a quarterly basis, as constant dialogue is the basis for continuous improvements. Manufacturing Campaign Throughout 2018 significant groundwork was carried out in order to launch a campaign aimed at promoting careers in Malta’s manufacturing industry. The campaign will run for a three-month period targeting young teenagers who are making initial career choices, as well as their parents, who often influence the choices made by their children. The campaign will showcase the numerous rewarding career paths in industry while also portraying the modern and advanced realities of manufacturing operations in Malta in order to reverse incorrect negative perceptions surrounding industry in general.

During a dialogue session with the Minister for the Economy and Malta Enterprise organised by the Manufacturing Economic Group on 7th November 2018, members were informed of the plans and measures for local industry following the annual Budget speech. “As the champion of competitiveness in industry, the Chamber quickly sought to reach out to the Ministry for the Economy and Malta Enterprise because we know that, despite the scarce mention of the manufacturing industry in the recent Budget speech, there is still significant support and plans for industry,” Frank V. Farrugia said when opening the dialogue session and appealing for reassurance of the sector’s continued importance for the country’s sustainable development.

Exposing Tomorrow’s Workforce to Careers in Manufacturing Throughout 2018, the members of the Manufacturing Group continued to offer workbased learning opportunities to numerous students in Malta. MEG collaborated closely with career guidance initiatives led by the Ministry of Education and Employment’s National School Support Services Department in order to offer several students in Forms Three and Four exposure to industry.

In his address, Patrick Cachia, Chairperson of the Manufacturing Economic Group, praised industry’s significant resilience and its continued vital importance to the economy but noted the worrying decline in performance during the first half of 2018 compared to previous periods. Opening the discussion, Mr Cachia highlighted some of the main challenges faced by industry, namely shortages of skilled labour and wage pressures, the rental market’s effect on attracting workers, increasing non-wage employment costs, as well as timely utilisation of investment tax credits.

Numerous classes of Form Three students had the opportunity to visit several manufacturing operations and witness the modern and diverse state of the industry in Malta, while an encouraging number of Form Four students opted for one-week career exposure experiences in the field of engineering among members of the Manufacturing Economic Group.

Minister Christian Cardona, together with William Wait and Mario Galea, Chairman and CEO of Malta Enterprise respectively, answered numerous concerns and issues raised by members.

To this end, the Chamber assisted the Department in securing work placements for each and every student while also offering guidance to the host company on how best to organise the one-week placement in order to maximise the student’s engagement and interest in the sector.

With regards to Chamber’s recommendation to incentivise night and off-peak operations, the Minister remarked that initial plans and studies are underway to determine the most suitable way forward and that Malta Enterprise is contemplating incentives for both employers and workers.

The feedback received from a majority of participants in both these initiatives has been overwhelmingly positive and hence leading to increasingly positive forecasts in the takeup of the career exposure experiences in manufacturing in the forthcoming scholastic year.

In conclusion, Minister Cardona re-affirmed Government’s strong belief that Malta’s manufacturing industry is developing rather

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GO4Industry – Teacher Internship Programme In 2018 the Malta Chamber Manufacturing Economic Group, in collaboration with the Ministry for Education and Employment, launched the GO4Industry Teacher Internship Programme.

employee retention by investing in employee upskilling.

FOOD AND BEVERAGE PROCESSORS

The Food and Beverage Processors Committee continued to work on its agenda which included the lack of unloading facilities, the Household Eating Habits Survey, staff/ skills shortages, sick leave management, the issue of acrylamide in food and the Beverage Container Refund Scheme. The Committee also collaborated with the Department for Health Regulation in its initiatives to continuously improve the population’s health.

The programme is aimed at exposing teachers of science subjects in secondary schools to the realities, opportunities and cutting-edge technologies in Malta’s industry, in order for them to be more knowledgeable and better positioned to guide their teaching and their students towards their future careers. During the project launch held on 26th June 2018, Patrick Cachia, Chairman of the Manufacturing Economic Group Executive Board, said that GO4Industry was one of a number of ongoing projects aimed at increasing exposure to the many interesting career opportunities that exist in industry. “We are certain that, moving forward, all the parties involved will strive to make a success of this year’s pilot project and this success will contribute to an even more notable take-up in the coming years,” he said.

On 18th May 2018 an information session for local bread producers was held to discuss strategies to reduce salt and other select nutrients for food product improvement.

PLASTICS AND RUBBER M A N U FA C T U R E R S

The Plastics and Rubber Manufacturers Committee continued to discuss with MCAST the organisation of a part-time Polymer Processing Course to be offered to members’ employees in order to upskill them. The Committee’s agenda also included better transport links for employees to the industrial estates, shortage of staff and cross company training visits intended to look at best practices and discuss solutions to common problems.

Ministry of Education and Employment Permanent Secretary, Dr Francis Fabri, said that this project bridges the gap that exists between the world of education and that of employment. He said that educators know education well but may not necessarily be sufficiently aware of the realities of the economy at present. “Therefore the GO4Industry Teacher Internship Programme allows teachers to walk the talk and take a leading role in the crucial process of exposing students to the realities of industry,” he said.

SERVICES PROVIDERS ECONOMIC GROUP

During the year under review, the Services Providers Economic Group (IDREG), under the Chairmanship of Matthew Sullivan, met six times during which the following issues were discussed: • Establishment of new Medical Tourism Business Section • National Maritime-Logistics Strategy • Human resources shortages and skills • Malta Chamber restructuring plan • BREXIT • Electronic payments

ELECTRICAL AND ELECTRONICS

The main focus of the Electrical and Electronics Manufacturers Committee remained training provision. As part of this drive, the Chamber organised and coordinated an IPC (the international Association Connecting Electronic Industries) Certification course on design aspects, delivered by Italian IPC specialists in the field. In October the same IPC trainers delivered a one-day seminar/workshop on signal and power integrity at the Chamber. The Committee was also active in providing opportunities for company visits to career advisors from the Education Department. The Committee held two meetings with MCAST to discuss and propose courses that would best suit the private sector in gaining more

Attraction of New Segments of the Economy to the Malta Chamber During 2018 the Economic Group worked actively on attracting new segments from the services industry. Following extensive discussions with a number of operators, a new Medical Tourism Business Section was formed in the last quarter of 2018. The Committee elected Dr David Grech to Chair the first

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cost an economy between 0.5 to 1 per cent of its GDP. Economies that still depend on cash transactions will require a cultural change similar to the ones seen in other economic models such as the Nordic ones. Mr Sullivan and other operators in the field provided extensive feedback in the formulation of the Chamber’s feedback during the consultation.

BUSINESS SECTIONS ISSUES

The Economic Group continued to invite the respective Chairmen of the Business Sections falling under the Group in order to keep updated with any sectoral issues and if need be raised during the Chamber’s Council meetings. A number of issues were in fact raised by the Logistics, Yachting, Tourism, Shipping and Bunkering, and ICT Business Sections in which the Economic Group directly intervened or assisted. All the specific issues tackled by the respective Business Sections can be referred to in the Business Section of this Annual Report.

Executive Committee. The economic group also discussed the possibility of attracting other emerging segments to the Malta Chamber. Human Resources Shortages During the year under review, the Executive Committee discussed the issue of labour shortages in the services sector both in terms of numbers and qualifications, and skills required. A number of ideas emanated from the Executive Committee on how to fill this gap, particularly temporary gaps, in the market. This included offering temporary accommodation to foreign workers in order to solve the issues related to rental costs in Malta. Other ideas included the simplification of work and residence permits processes for third country nationals.

FINANCIAL SERVICES

During the year under review, the Business Section chaired by Dr David Zahra took an active role on the issue of electronic payments and cashless economy. During the month of March the Malta Chamber’s Financial Services Business Section, in collaboration with HSBC Bank Malta plc and EY Malta, organised an event on a cashless economy. The event’s details can be found in the Events Section. Dr Zahra, who chaired the conference, said that in today’s ever-changing economy, in which the digital aspects in life are becoming more prevalent, Malta remained one of the most cash-intensive markets in Europe. According to data published by the Central Bank of Malta, 88 per cent of transactions in Malta remain cash-based. It is for this reason that the Business Section was collaborating with a number of stakeholders to organise this information session in order to stimulate a discussion on moving towards a cashless economy.

A report with a number of recommendations was presented to Cabinet, the Opposition and other stakeholders. For more information on this report, view the Policy section. Consultation on a National Electronic Payments Strategy The Chairman of the Economic Group, Mr Sullivan, was involved in the consultation process of the National Electronics Payment Strategy. EY had been commissioned to draft the strategy and had also participated in a seminar organised by the Chamber in collaboration with HSBC Bank on developments leading towards a cashless economy. The session had been moderated by Dr David Zahra, Chairman of the Malta Chamber’s Financial Services Business Section. In the seminar it was emphasised that processing cash and cheque payments can

I N F O R M AT I O N T E C H N O L O G Y

During 2018, the Information Technology Executive Committee concentrated its efforts on working with Government to finalise the ICT Malta initiative and pursue its defined objectives. The Committee held various meetings with Government during which a repositioning and re-branding of the foundation was proposed to handle a more holistic view of promotion of technology in view of Malta’s Digital Strategy. Government took the

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Jammed Twistlocks In mid-January Malta Freeport Terminals issued a notification stating that as from 1st February 2018 any work linked to twistlocks, jammed twistlocks and lashing-relating material had to be performed by licensed foremen and not through third-party contractors. A meeting was held with Malta Freeport during which it was explained that shore foremen insisted that twistlocks and jammed twistlocks fell under their responsibility.

Committee’s proposal on board and the ICT Malta initiative has been repositioned as Tech. MT. The formation of the Tech.MT Foundation was confirmed in the Budget 2019 and its allocation of funds. The Committee was also involved in the eSkills Foundation by participating in its regular meetings and providing the industry perspective on initiatives that need to be implemented in the coming periods. In addition, the Committee was involved with the Malta Cloud Forum, spearheaded by the Malta Communications Authority, whereby it has assisted in the definition of specific initiatives undertaken by this forum to stimulate uptake of cloud technologies among SMEs. With a focus on public procurement within technology, the Committee was in communication with MITA to provide feedback from the industry on MITA’s strategy, procurement outlook and initiatives.

Malta Freeport obtained legal advice and confirmed that shore foremen and port workers were correct. Members had received a different interpretation, namely that jammed twistlocks could not be considered as normal lashing of containers and that agents were asked to intervene whenever there was a problem with a twistlock. The situation was contained through the intervention of Transport Malta when it was confirmed that the work of shore foremen was regulated and specific, and that jammed twistlocks did not fall within their responsibility.

LOGISTICS

The Logistics Executive Committee continued to work on its agenda by lobbying with Government for the creation of a Logistics Hub. In collaboration with HSBC Bank Malta, a paper exploring the prospects of Malta becoming a hub for logistics and effectively becoming a first port of call for companies transporting goods to Europe, was drafted and presented to Government. The Committee was also active in providing Government feedback to draft the Free Zone Act which was announced in the 2019 Budget Speech. On 19th April the Committee organised a seminar for its members on blockchain to highlight how the new technology can be adopted by local industry stakeholders. The Executive Committee also focused on the completion of the Draft Standard Trading Conditions and will be hosting a launch at the beginning of 2019.

Government’s Plans for Valletta Port The Section was informed of Government plans to develop the Marsa Power Station and its surroundings into a financial centre. Berths in Valletta were already in short supply and it was important that any plans for its development should not impinge on berthing spaces or negatively affect the shipping industry. At the same time it was agreed that a hotel in the area would be advantageous.

SHIPPING AND BUNKERING

During 2018 the Shipping and Bunkering Section dealt with a number of topics, foremost amongst which were jammed twistlocks and Government’s plans for Valletta Port. The Chairman participated in regular meetings of the Executive Board of the Services Providers Economic Group. The Chairman represented the Business Section by contributing to meetings of the Services Providers Economic Group.

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impact of the Commission’s actions on Malta’s yachting industry and to manage it in the best possible way. The Committee is also active in assisting and supporting Government in its diplomatic efforts at Commission level in the holding of technical and bilateral meetings to address the way forward so as to seek a speedy and satisfactory resolution to the matter. The Committee also held four information sessions on the latest developments as they arose to ensure that the industry is kept fully abreast.

HEALTH TOURISM

The Health Tourism Business Section was set up in November 2018 as the latest addition to the list of Business Sections of the Malta Chamber. The initiative was spearheaded by Council member Dr David Grech in view of the growing importance of the sector in the economy. Early in the year the Malta Chamber held a number of meetings with member stakeholders to establish whether operators would be interested to form part of this organisation and be represented by it. The feedback was positive. A number of meetings ensued to discuss and draw up the relevant objectives and terms of reference. The main aim of the Business Section is to represent the interests and promote medical tourism as an important segment of the overall tourism sector in Malta. The terms of reference of the Committee include: 1) lobby with local, European and international institutions for support and recognition; 2) analyse and study other successful wellness and health hubs across the Mediterranean area and beyond; 3) identify specialisations in the sector in order to offer a competitive edge to the segment in Malta; 4) learn how to market the segment effectively and coherently; 5) represent local interest in trans-national entities.

TOURISM

The Tourism Executive Committee’s main focus remained the growing challenges that the Maltese tourism industry is currently facing. The Executive Committee held meetings with the Malta Tourism Authority and the Ministry for Tourism to build bridges between the authorities and the Chamber, in order to offer the diverse skillset that the Tourism Business Section possesses to collaborate, assist and support. The Committee lobbied on various topics such as Insolvency Fund, Conventions Malta, cleanliness, enforcement, transport, tourist guides and the Tourism Act.

YA C H T I N G S E R V I C E S

These were duly approved by Council and by the Services Providers Executive Board following which the firms involved met in November to set up the Health Tourism Business Section and elect its Executive Committee members who are to serve until the next biannual Council elections which are due in March 2019. At its first meeting the Executive Committee elected Dr David Grech as its chairperson and started discussion about the Business Section’s plan of action for the forthcoming months.

The Yachting Services Executive Committee has, over the past year, been extremely active in its presence and contribution at Industry Stakeholders consultation meetings to provide Government with its expertise and support in the preparation of the response to the Letter of Formal Notice issued by the European Commission in March, relating to the manner in which VAT is charged on the supply of yachts in Malta. The Committee held various meetings with Government officials and MEPs with the aim of collectively working together to limit the

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thanks to the strong ties the Chamber holds with international business organisations, proving how valuable Chamber affiliations are in achieving concrete business achievements for our members.

The Malta Chamber, through its Internationalisation Desk, supports its global vision by providing initiatives and events, raising awareness and facilitating the pursuit of collaboration with other international organisations to foster business growth for its members, to achieve the four following goals of: 1) assisting members to participate in partnering activities that develop and foster business growth through internationalisation; 2) promoting and providing business opportunities in markets that give tangible economic growth to members; 3) fostering the development of international trade cooperation through appropriate institutions; 4) maintaining excellent relations with international institutions that share similar aspirations for business growth through international cooperation.

The Malta Chamber was also well-positioned to address dozens of general queries and provide advisory services through individual client support, in particular towards tapping EU funding, innovative business practices and accessing international procurement. Moreover, during the past two years, the Malta Chamber assumed the communication role of the Maltese consortium, launching a portal which today serves as the gateway for Maltese ambitious businesses to grow internationally. A communication campaign launched towards the end of 2018 visually explains the portfolio of the Network’s services, exposing Maltese client testimonials success stories and showing Network impact outcomes. Finally, the Malta Chamber ensured that the Enterprise Europe Network has a steady digital presence through constant updates and sharing of information on its online platforms, keeping present and future clients abreast of numerous activities, business news and commercial profiles.

ENTERPRISE EUROPE NETWORK (EEN)

The Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) is the world’s largest support network for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) with international ambitions. It has 3,000 experts across 600 member organisations in more than 60 countries. Member organisations include chambers of commerce and industry, technology centres and research institutes. In 2015 the Malta Chamber entered into a consortium with Malta Enterprise, Malta Business Bureau and Malta Council for Science and Technology to manage the local Enterprise Europe Network.

Currently, Malta Chamber is working towards the submission of its workplan during the next programming period of the project covering 2020-2021. The services are earmarked to focus on supporting the smart growth of Maltese SMEs by increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of investments in research, development and innovation, and to contribute to a better and more efficient connection of stakeholders and players along the innovation chain.

As the Maltese consortium closed the programming period of the project covering 2017-2018, impacts and outcomes registered with the European Commission show that the Malta Chamber was instrumental for a number of business agreements reached by Maltese entrepreneurs with foreign business partners through the services rendered. Over the span of two years, the Malta Chamber co-organised no less than 18 brokerage events and/or company missions through the Enterprise Europe Network. Through these events, over 320 companies had more than 1,351 pre-scheduled business-tobusiness meetings with potential partners.

It is envisaged that the growth-oriented business support services, with the help of the Malta Chamber within the Network consortium, will result in improved competitiveness and access to markets for Malta-based enterprises. EEN Sector Group – Retail The Malta Chamber, as part of the Enterprise Europe Network, actively participated in two Retail Sector Group meetings that were held in Milan and Liverpool on 24-26th January 2018 and 27-28th June 2018 respectively. The Sector Group is a delegation of business experts from various countries that come together to offer tailored support for services and retail companies, with the aim to help them innovate and grow internationally.

A number of business fora were also organised by the Malta Chamber, supporting visits under the patronage of H.E. Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, President of the Republic of Malta, during which business delegations were brought in contact together over B2B meetings. These took place

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Office in Malta. The purpose of the workshop was to promote the e-commerce guide that was produced by the Sector Group and to encourage participants, primarily entrepreneurs in the retail sector, to go online. 29 October 2018 Doing Business With: Indonesia The Malta Chamber’s Internationalisation Desk, in collaboration with Enterprise Europe Network partner EU-Indonesia Business Network and the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia, organised an information seminar on business and investment opportunities in Indonesia. During the event H.E. Esti Andayani, Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia in Rome, underlined her intention to strengthen common business interest with Malta. This intention follows in the ambit of the sixth round of negotiations between the EU and Indonesia towards a Trade Agreement, which took place in Indonesia earlier in October. Once established, the Trade Agreement will provide a legal framework towards the creation of longterm business on various aspects of trade. Such a scenario provided participants with an opportunity to receive greater technical detail and information regarding the current economic development and trade opportunities in Indonesia with speakers from the Indonesia Central Bank Representative Office for Europe and the EU-Indonesia Business Network. Indonesia’s 73rd Independence Day anniversary was also celebrated during a commemorative reception courtesy of the Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia, with the participation of the Acting President of Malta Dolores Cristina.

The two-day meetings discussed the workplan and strategic initiatives that are being organised in Malta and on a pan-European level to maximise partnering opportunities for select companies. As evidenced in its mission statement, the EEN Sector Group – Retail aims at helping local SMEs that sell to other businesses or consumers from a physical or online outlet to develop their presence overseas – be it via e-commerce, distributors or franchise. As the way of retailing products and services changes around the world, the Sector Group also helps these SMEs establish a sustainable supply chain, partner with the right expertise and utilise the right technology. Through joint activities, the Sector Groups support creative companies to find partners for joint projects, exploring new markets as well as sharing knowledge, ideas, innovation and inspiration. Moreover, Lino Mintoff, as Chairman of the Retail Sector Group, coordinated the Sector Group’s internal meetings and activities during the past year, including the coordination of the said group at EU level during additional meetings of the Chairpersons of all Sector Groups. In May 2018, the Malta Chamber hosted the Sector Groups’ Chairpersons meeting for an important encounter prior to the Network’s annual conference in Vienna, during which the Best Practice Awards took place. These awards recognise good practices that help improve the work and raise the quality of the services provided by the Network. Among the 15 nominations for a Best Practice Award, Mr Mintoff was a finalist in the Sector Groups category, recognising the most efficient, innovative and transferable initiatives implemented by Sector Groups in the previous year.

Brokerage Events 26-27 January 2018 Lifestyle Industry Business Meetings at HOMI 2018 On the occasion of HOMI, the key trade fair focused on lifestyles, multi-cultural themes and the wellbeing of the people and their environment, the Malta Chamber co-organised the matchmaking event Lifestyle Industry Business Meetings at HOMI organised by Enterprise Europe Network partner Finlombarda S.p.a., offering producers, distributors, designers and retailers the opportunity to find new potential commercial and technological partners.

Workshops/Seminars 19 April 2018 Cross Your Border – Improve Your Opportunities in the Single Market In an initiative of collaboration between members of the Sector Group – Retail, the Malta Chamber organised a workshop with the support of Network partner Chamberlink Ltd, as part of the Single Market Forum, which was organised by the European Commission Representation

19-20 April 2018 Fuorisalone2018 at Milan Design Week Every year, in April, Salone and Fuorisalone define the Milan Design Week. CNA Lombardia, with Finlombarda, Unioncamere Lombardia and FAST organised a brokerage event during the Milan Design Week, one of the most important design

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events globally. Fuorisalone is a set of events distributed in different areas of Milan during the Salone Internazionale del Mobile, staged in the halls of Rho Fiera. The sector focus of the event was the design world: from the idea to the production of innovative solutions for everyday life and new lifestyles. The Malta Chamber promoted the event and assisted Maltese enterprises (manufacturers, distributors, agents, buyers and retailers alike) working on design, furniture, home textile, decorations, materials and smart manufacturing to participate in pre-scheduled B2B meetings with potential partners for collaboration.

such as retail, healthcare, manufacturing, education, creative industries and tourism, among others. Eight Maltese businesses participated in 45 B2B meetings during an exclusive matchmaking event aiming at helping companies to identify technology partners to develop new services and products using VR/AR/AI and become more competitive; collaborate with commercial partners to sell existing VR/AR/AI; exchange knowledge and expertise; secure potential investment and network with public and private experts in investment, Intellectual Property and marketing. 28 June 2018 Torino FashionMatch at Torino Fashion Week 2018 Unioncamere Piemonte, in collaboration with the Enterprise Europe Network, organised the third edition of the Torino FashionMatch, which was held alongside the Torino Fashion Week. The organisation of the brokerage event was also supported by the EEN Sector Groups Textile and Fashion, Retail, Creative Industries and Women Entrepreneurship. Four Maltese fashion designers participated in the matchmaking event with a total of 21 pre-scheduled B2B meetings. Indeed, the matchmaking event, focusing on the textile and fashion industry, allowed companies, fashion designers, agents, manufacturers and distributors to meet potential partners to help establish longlasting international collaborations for innovation and growth. Apart from the B2B meetings, participants also had the possibility to enjoy seven days of catwalks, workshops and events.

24-26 April 2018 Technology and Business Cooperation Days at HANNOVER MESSE The Malta Chamber co-organised yet another EEN brokerage event titled ‘Technology and Business Cooperation Days’ which took place during the Hannover Messe fair, the world’s leading showcase for new industrial technologies, materials and product ideas. The matchmaking event was organised by EEN partners Niedersachsen (NBank). The trade fair focused on integrated industry, industry 4.0, integrated energy, smart materials and coatings, predictive maintenance, energy efficiency and digital twin. 26 June 2018 The Healthy Future Partnering Event Running for the third year, the International Business Festival (IBF) took place in Liverpool between 12th and 28th June. The Malta Chamber co-organised a matchmaking event taking place on the International Health and Life Sciences Day of the festival, providing delegates with the opportunity to meet potential collaborative partners through facilitated B2B meetings. Four Maltese companies participated in the event which hosted over 140 participants from around the world active in biomedical sectors such as biotech and pharmaceutical; Contract Research Organisation (CRO); Contract Manufacturing Organisation (CMO); diagnostics; analytical; medical technology; healthcare; precision medicine; and digital health.

31 October 2018 Match4Industry at SANTEK Industry and Technology Fair Three Maltese businesses participated in the seventh edition of the Match4Industry matchmaking event that was held within the SANTEK Industry and Technology Fair. The matchmaking event was organised by Enterprise Europe Network partner, ABiGEM East Marmara in Kocaeli, with the support of the Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Turkey and the Kocaeli Chamber of Industry. The Match4Industry matchmaking event included a dedicated space within the fair where one-to-one meetings took place over the course of two days. The delegation also participated in the pre-organised optional visits to ‘Our Village Foundation Production Centre for the Disabled’ (Bizimköy) operating in garment production, mushroom production, greenhouse cultivation, vegetable- and fruit-growing and bee-keeping; or the Hyundai or Ford Otosan manufacturing plants as leading automotive companies in Kocaeli.

27 June 2018 Digital Transformation: How Can Your Business Embrace Artificial Intelligence, Virtual and Augmented Reality? The Malta Chamber co-organised the ‘Digital Transformation’ event which took place during the IBF and consisted of a series of inspiring and informative seminars from leading experts to present opportunities that Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies can offer SMEs across sectors

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12-14 November 2018 MEDICA 2018 The MEDICA 2018 International Matchmaking event was organised by Enterprise Europe Network partner, ZENIT GmbH in Dusseldorf, Germany. Two Maltese companies participated and held a total of 14 B2B meetings. The aim of this event was to assist enterprises, universities and research institutions in finding partners in Europe for product development, manufacturing and licensing agreements, joint ventures or other types of partnership. This international Healthcare Matchmaking event at the MEDICA fair has been taking place for more than 15 years.

100 bilateral meetings between the private sector representatives from both countries. 22 May 2018 Company Mission of Albanian SMEs to Malta The Malta Chamber, in collaboration with the Tirana Chamber of Commerce and Industry, hosted an incoming delegation of Albanian SMEs to Malta on 22nd May 2018. The two Chambers of Commerce entered into a Memorandum of Understanding during the Albania-Malta Business Forum which was held under the patronage of the President of Malta H.E. Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca. The agreement outlines a series of opportunities of collaboration that can take place between the two Chambers, in view of increased commercial collaboration between the two countries. The agreement was signed by Andrew J. Mamo for the Malta Chamber and Nikolin Jaka, President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Tirana.

Company Missions 11-14 March 2018 Company Mission of Tunisian SMEs to Malta Upon hosting a trade delegation of Tunisian SMEs to Malta between 11th and 14th March, the Malta Chamber organised a second ‘Malta-Tunisia Business Forum’. The forum was marked by the organisation of conferences on the business environment in Tunisia and Malta, as well as visits to Maltese project and business sites. The Business Forum was addressed by Malta Chamber President Frank V. Farrugia, the President of Malta H.E. Dr Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, Secretary of State of Foreign Trade of the Republic of Tunisia Hichem ben Ahmed, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion Dr Carmelo Abela, the President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Tunis Mounir Mouakhar and the Vice-President of the Tunisian Union of Agriculture and Fishing Mr Aljani.

Following the signing of the MoU, a businessto-business networking session, which was organised as part of the Enterprise Europe Network, ensued, bringing together Maltese and Albanian businesses with a view to commercial collaboration. The B2B session saw the participation of over 60 companies from a variety of economic sectors that took part in over 130 meetings. 4-6 June 2018 Company Mission to Poland Thirty Maltese business representatives from Malta-based companies participated in a successful two-day trade mission organised by the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry with the assistance of the Polish National Chamber of Commerce (Krajowa Izba Gospodarcza) together with the Polish Agency for Enterprise Development (Polska Agencja Rozwoju Przedsiebiorczosci).

As part of the same forum, Memoranda of Understanding were signed between the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Tunis; the Tunisian Union of Liberal Professions and the Malta Federation of Professional Associations; as well as the Tunisian General Union of Veterinarians and the Malta Veterinary Association. Bilateral meetings between 45 Maltese and Tunisian business representatives in various sectors, such as agrifood, building materials, transport, logistics, ICT, services and tourism, among others, were organised. The B2B session, which was supported by the EEN, registered over

The programme included a well-attended highlevel Poland-Malta Business Forum which was also addressed by Maltese Minister for the Economy, Investment and Small Business Christian Cardona and Marcin Ociepa on behalf of the Ministry of Entrepreneurship and Technology of Poland. Malta Chamber President Frank V. Farrugia and Adrzej Arendarski on behalf of the Polish Chamber of Commerce also addressed the forum and signed a Memorandum of Understanding to strengthen

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Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry in collaboration with Trade Malta, Malta Enterprise and Property Malta.

business ties between the two Chambers in the interests of their respective members. The Business Forum was followed by businessto-business meetings between the Maltese and Polish entrepreneurs. This event, which registered over 160 B2B meetings, was facilitated through Enterprise Europe Network, within which both the Malta Chamber and the Polish Agency for Enterprise Development operate.

An estimated 130 business-to-business meetings were held, providing opportunities for local entrepreneurs to expand into this market and grow existing business relationships. A number of Maltese ministers accompanied the President of Malta during institutional talks covering a multi-sectorial policy spectrum which, among others, included tourism, infrastructure and energy.

I N C O M I N G A N D O U T G O I N G D E L E G AT I O N S

The following are other incoming and/or outgoing delegations organised by the Internationalisation Desk during 2018:

5 February 2019 Malta-Tunisia Business Forum

17 September 2018 Malta-India Business Forum The Malta Chamber organised the Malta-India Business Forum on 17th September on the occasion of a visit by H.E. Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu, the Vice-President of the Republic of India, and Shri Shiv Pratap Shukla, Minister of State of Finance, who addressed the forum. The forum was also addressed by H.E. Dr Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, President of Malta and Dr Carmelo Abela, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion. The event was a backdrop to the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Malta Chamber and its Indian counterpart, the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India. Frank V. Farrugia signed on behalf of the Malta Chamber while Pavan Abraham, Chair ASSOCHAM North America Chapter, countersigned the MOU which sets out grounds for further collaboration between the two organisations. The Business Forum was attended by 30 Maltese business and institutional organisations that held meetings with 15 Indian business representatives in a fruitful networking session at the Malta Chamber.

Over 50 business representatives from Malta and Tunisia from various sectors participated in a successful Malta-Tunisia Business Forum hosted by the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry on 5th February 2019, the third of its kind in a span of 14 months, as part of a State Visit to Malta by the President of Tunisia H.E. Beji Caid Essebsi. Welcoming the President of Tunisia to the Chamber, Malta Chamber President Frank V. Farrugia said that the Business Forum was another clear testimony of the commitment to consolidate the healthy relationship between Malta and Tunisia, and to provide tangible opportunities for the respective business communities.

23 January 2019 Presidential State Visit to Turkey Sixty business representatives from 48 Malta-based companies participated in a Business Forum which took place in Istanbul on 23rd January 2019, during a State Visit to Turkey led by H.E MarieLouise Coleiro Preca, President of Malta.

The Business Forum was also addressed by the President of Malta H.E. Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, the President of Tunisia H.E. Beji Caid Essebsi and the President of the Tunisian Union of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts Samir Majoul. The programme included an overview of the business and economic environment in Malta and Tunisia, presented by Klaus Pedersen from Trade Malta and Dr Thouraya Khayati from the Foreign Investment Promotion Agency in Milan respectively. The forum closed with a successful networking lunch among Maltese and Tunisian entrepreneurs.

This business mission was organised by the Malta

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• 5 June 2018 Polish Chamber of Commerce, signed in Warsaw, Poland • 20 June 2018 Federation of Palestinian Chambers of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture, signed in Ramallah, Palestine • 17 September 2018 Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), signed in Valletta, Malta • 13 December 2018 Taiwan External Trade Development Council, signed in Milan, Italy • 14 December 2018 China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, signed in Valletta, Malta

The following are other activities organised by the Internationalisation Desk in 2018: • 5-6 February 2018 State Visit with H.E. President of Malta to Bulgaria • 23 February 2018 Courtesy Visit by Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó • 26 February 2018 State Visit with H.E. President of Malta to Croatia • 14 March 2018 ‘Identifying Mutual Opportunities for Engagement’ Roundtable Discussion Coorganised with the American Embassy • 29 May 2018 Information Session on Bulgarian Presidency • 17-18 September 2018 Incoming Visit • 13 November 2018 Participation in China-Malta Economic Trade Forum • 27 November 2018 Select USA – Seminar in Collaboration with American Embassy The following are other events/activities organised by third parties in which the Malta Chamber participated in/collaborated in the organisation of such during 2018: • 22 March 2018 Malta-Turkey Roundtable Meeting • 26 March 2018 EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement Conference • 22-25 October 2018 Enterprise Europe Network Annual Conference • 19-21 November 2018 SME Assembly 2018

BUSINESS COUNCILS

These are horizontal committees within the Malta Chamber that focus on promoting business exchanges between Malta and specific countries or regions. The concept was developed as an internal policy by the Internationalisation Committee as a way of creating entities within the Chamber, so that the secretariat can ensure greater coordination, control, continuity and integrity. To this end, the Internationalisation Desk has worked towards developing a strategic policy to outline their establishment whilst ensuring a proper system of internal regulation and administrative support. These Business Councils have proven successful in activating members and even generating new membership, and they have become catalysts for the creation of events and activities which benefit the participating members as well as the Maltese business community as a whole. This is done through a systematic framework that achieves the targets set, approved by the Chamber’s Board of Management, and prescribed for the economic relations with these countries.

C O O P E R AT I O N A G R E E M E N T S S I G N E D

The Malta Chamber continuously cooperates with its counterparts and business organisations in other countries with the aim to strengthen its relations with them, collaborate in bilateral events and delegations, as well as keep its members up-to-date on internationalisation opportunities received by the respective Chambers and organisations. A Cooperation Agreement is usually signed with other Chambers and organisations to formalise this collaboration. In 2018, the Malta Chamber had the opportunity to sign Cooperation Agreements with the following Chambers: • 3 February 2018 Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, signed in Sofia, Bulgaria • 26 February 2018 Croatian Chamber of Economy, signed in Zagreb, Croatia • 12 March 2018 Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Tunis, signed in Valletta, Malta • 22 May 2018 Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Tirana, signed in Attard, Malta

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Business Councils: Highlights • 6 February 2018 ‘Supply Chain Challenges – The German and Maltese Perspectives’ The German-Maltese Business Council works at enhancing and fostering business ties between the two countries and at times, addressing issues which are prevalent in both countries to assist companies perform better in their business activities. With this in mind, the event addressed different aspects within the supply chain.

Executive Officer at the Occupational Health and Safety Authority, delivered a presentation on the subject. This was followed by a keynote presentation delivered by Dr Ulrike Bollmann, Head of International Cooperation at the Institute for Work and Health within the German Social Accident Insurance. Dr Bollmann spoke about various models of organisational culture, as well as different aspects within the culture of prevention, such as leadership, communication and participation that should all be incorporated within companies’ strategies when implementing health and safety policies and procedures.

Armin Eckermann, Chairman of GMBC, moderated the event which delved into challenges being faced on a day-to-day basis by Maltese companies such as transportation, logistics and the labour supply, and how they are being solved, if at all.

Furthermore, the seminar featured a panel discussion which tackled various aspects such as the fast integration of new and foreign recruits with different cultures within a company; the importance of preventive measures and preventive checks to protect against eventual claims; the importance of having competent, certified health and safety supervisors overseeing projects; and the role of trade unions.

Furthermore, the seminar featured a case study of Seifert Systems Ltd and discussed its experience as a German company managing its supply chain in Malta. In view of the fact that Germany is considered to be one of the leading European countries when it comes to supply chain management, Armin Dullinger, Managing Director of Andreas Schmid Logistik AG was invited to illustrate the German experience, solutions and best practices.

The panel was composed of Ing. Ruben Cuschieri, General Manager at Seifert Systems Ltd; Dr Andrew Sciberras, Owner and Audiologist at Loud and Clear Professional Audiology Services; Victor Carachi, President of the General Workers’ Union; Dr Mark Gauci and Dr Ulrike Bollmann. The event closed with a networking reception following a Q&A session.

The other presentations were delivered by Emanuel Farrugia, Head of Supply Chain at ProMinent Fluid Controls Ltd; Ing. Ruben Cuschieri, General Manager of Seifert Systems Ltd and Clyde Caruana, Executive Chairman at Jobsplus.

The German-Maltese Business Council works at enhancing and fostering business ties between the two countries and, at times, addressing issues which are prevalent in both countries as a way to assist companies perform better in their business activities. The event was sponsored by the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, Farsons and Attard & Co.

The event which was sponsored by the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, Seifert Systems Ltd, Farsons and World Express Logistics, closed with a networking reception following a Q&A session and a factory tour of Seifert Systems Ltd. • 11 October 2018 ‘How to Instigate a Culture Change in Occupational Health and Safety: A German Perspective’ The German-Maltese Business Council within the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry organised an event titled ‘How to Instigate a Cultural Change in Occupational Health and Safety: a German Perspective’.

R E L AT I O N S W I T H D I P L O M AT I C C O R P S

One of the declared objectives of the Internationalisation Desk is to work closely with stakeholders, especially Trade Malta, Malta Enterprise, Finance Malta, Ministries and the diplomatic corps in Malta as well as that of Malta abroad.

Armin Eckermann, Chairman of GMBC, moderated the event which delved into the relevance of a culture of prevention within the local context. Following an opening speech by Olaf Rieck, Head of Economic Affairs within the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, Dr Mark Gauci, Chief

The Internationalisation Desk is also represented at the Joint Stakeholders Working Council of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs by Lino Mintoff, Head of the Projects and Internationalisation Desk of the

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Malta Chamber. Monthly meetings are held where stakeholders discuss market strategies, outgoing and incoming delegations, as well as events. Date Country Ambassador/ Honorary Consul 15 February 2018 Tunisia Ambassador of the Republic of Tunisia, Zyed Bouzouita and Deputy Head of Mission, Mounir Jomni 21 February 2018 Belgium Candidate for Honorary Consul in Liege, Belgium, Baron Ernest de Laminne de Bex 22 February 2018 Lithuania Ambassador of the Republic of Lithuania to Malta, H.E. Ričardas Šlepavičius 22 February 2018 Belgium Ambassador of the Kingdom of Belgium to Malta, H.E. Frank Carruet 23 February 2018 Hungary Courtesy Visit by Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Péter Szijjártó 14 March 2018 Yemen Meeting Ambassador of Yemen, H.E. Dr Al Hered and Ms Arfaoui (interpreter) 03 April 2018 Sudan Meeting Candidate for Honorary Consul in Khartoum, Sudan, Elsadig Mohamed Ahmed 17 April 2018 India Meeting High Commissioner of India, H.E. Rajesh Vaishnaw 03 May 2018 USA Meeting Candidate for Honorary Consul in Philadelphia - USA, Mr Giordano 18 May 2018 Nepal Meeting Ambassador of Nepal, H.E. Dr Durga Bahadur Subedi 23 May 2018 Belize Meeting with Candidate for Honorary Consul in Belize - Central America, Mr Avinash G Mukhi 12 June 2018 Jamaica Meeting with Candidate for Honorary Consul in Jamaica, Joseph Joe Issa 12 June 2018 Morocco Meeting with Ambassador of Malta to Morocco, H.E. Tarcisio Zammit 14 June 2018 Taiwan Meeting with Director of Taiwan Trade Centre, Milano, Christie Huang 27 June 2018 Dominican Republic Meeting with Candidate for Honorary Consul in Dominican Republic, Margarita de Los Santos Molten 03 July 2018 Japan Meeting with Candidate for Honorary Consul in Kyoto, Japan, Shigeru Abo 25 July 2018 Norway Meeting with Candidate for Honorary Consul in Norway, Bjørn Havnes 27 July 2018 Malaysia Meeting with Director/Consul (Investment), Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA), Consulate of Malaysia (Investment Section) Milan, Italy, Awangku Fiarulnazri Awang Tajudin

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11 September 2018 Malta Briefing Meeting with President of Malta regarding Chamber member issue with India 02 October 2018 France Meeting with Candidate for Honorary Consul in Bretagne, France, Christian de La Touche 04 October 2018 China Meeting with Counsellor Zhou and Qiutao Fan from Embassy of the People’s Republic of China 04 October 2018 Malta Meeting with Lord Marland, Commonwealth Business Council 25 October 2018 India Meeting with High Commissioner of India, Shri Rajesh Vaishnaw 25 October 2018 Hong Kong Meeting with Hong Kong Trade Development Office in Brussels 29 October 2018 Indonesia Meeting with Ambassdor of the Republic of Indonesia, H.E. Asti Andayani 30 October 2018 Germany Meeting with Germany Trade and Invest - Foreign Trade and Inward Investment Agency of the Federal Republic of Germany in Milan, Oliver Doehne 01 November 2018 Italy Meeting with Mayor of Messina, Dr Cateno De Luca 12 November 2018 Hong Kong Meeting with Candidate for Honorary Consul in Hong Kong, Sein M. Chew 28 November 2018 Slovenia Meeting with Candidate for Honorary Consul in Ljubljana, Slovenia, Franc Hoffmann 04 December 2018 Argentina Meeting with Commercial Attache’ of the Embassy of the Argentine Republic, Mariano Gaston Trisano 07 February 2019 San Marino Meeting with Candidate for Honorary Consul in San Marino, Maurizio De Biagi 19 February 2019 Tunisia Meeting with Ambassador of the Republic of Tunisia, H.E. Zyed Bouzouita


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I N T E R N AT I O N A L S C E N E

the President of Bulgaria, H.E. Rumen Radev. Separately, Mr Borg participated in a Group of Vice-Presidents meeting held on 17th May where the main items on the agenda reflected those of the COPRES.

BUSINESSEUROPE

As is customary, the Malta Chamber attended two BusinessEurope Council of Presidents Meetings (COPRES) in 2018, one in Bulgaria and one in Austria.

The Autumn COPRES was held in Vienna between 22nd and 23rd November. The meeting was hosted by the Federation of Austrian Industries and was attended by the President and the DG of the Chamber.

The Spring COPRES was held in Sofia between 16th and 17th May. The meeting was hosted by the Bulgarian Industrial Association (BIA) and was attended by Malta Chamber President Frank V. Farrugia, Malta Chamber Director General Kevin J. Borg and former Malta Chamber President Anton Borg.

On 22nd November the Heads of Delegation had an exchange of views with the Federal President of the Republic of Austria, H.E. Alexander Van der Bellen. The Council meeting held on the following day opened with an exchange of views with the Austrian Federal Chancellor, Sebastian Kurz. Mr Kurz explained that the Austrian Presidency of the European Union was actively working on:

At the outset of the COPRES meeting, President Emma Marcegaglia acknowledged the contribution of Mr Borg during his time in the COPRES and particularly during his two-year term in the Group of Vice-Presidents. The COPRES joined Ms Marcegaglia in thanking Mr Borg for his active participation, in particular during sensitive internal discussions on Brexit.

1) Brexit. He commented that he was very satisfied with the withdrawal agreement as well as with the political declaration about future relations between the UK and the EU which had been published over the past days. He acknowledged that the days ahead were crucial and difficult for the UK Prime Minister who, he said, deserved a lot of support. The Chancellor also acknowledged the input and support of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) giving the necessary support on behalf of business to ensure a hard Brexit was avoided.

The meeting immediately went on to ratify the election of Pierre Gattaz – President of the French Delegation (MEDEF) as incoming President for the forthcoming two-year period. The term of Mr Gattaz commenced on 1st July 2018. The remainder of the agenda for the Council meeting was characterised by a discussion on a number of prevailing issues in the European Union. These included the economic and political situation in a number of EU member states, international relations, the priorities for the forthcoming European Parliament elections and the next Commission, and Brexit.

2) Migration. The Austrian Chancellor said that the inflow of illegal migrants was reduced by 95 per cent since 2015 but commented that the numbers were still too high. He said that more focus and agreement were needed on the distribution of such migrants within member states as well as co-ordination of countries and work at the borders. He said that search and rescue operations performed by North African partners were pivotal in order to destroy the business model of human traffickers because in such cases the migrants would be legally required to be taken back to their country instead of to the EU.

Throughout the meeting various delegations spoke about skill shortages in their respective territories. At the same time various delegations lamented higher uncertainty among their business communities which arose from the looming Brexit and from increasing trade hostilities emerging with the US, Russia and China. There was a call for BusinessEurope to adopt a more pro-active approach in this regard, showing greater leadership whilst maintaining open communication with business counterparts in the US. The meeting called on Europe not to escalate matters with the US and other trade blocs but to defend itself intelligently.

3) Multi-Annual Financial Framework. Mr Kurz declared that budget negotiations were progressing much better than expected. He commented that he was in favour of a stronger focus on RTDI and security. He said that Austria’s position was that a 1 per cent contribution of GNI for RTDI purposes was enough, although he was aware that other member states were requesting higher proportions. Referring to the stand-off between the EU and Italy on the national budget,

On the eve of the meeting, the Heads of Delegation had an exchange of views with

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European Parliament for Enterprises Addressing the 2018 European Parliament for Enterprises (EPE), Malta Chamber Deputy President David Xuereb said that societies and markets were being transformed through demographic phenomena and technological advancements.

he said that each member state needed to respect the Masstricht criteria and said that he hoped for a change in position by the Italian government. 4) Western Balkans. Chancellor Kurz said that the region of the Western Balkans held strong economic links to Austria and under its Presidency, Austria was driving the EU to focus more on relations with this region. He said that stronger EU relations with Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo would bring more stability to the region to the benefit of all.

The event consists of a plenary session at the European Parliament in Brussels, where entrepreneurs from all over Europe take over Parliament for a day and run a simulated plenary session. The 2018 event consisted of three different sessions during which the themes of Skills, Trade and the Future of Europe were discussed. A number of distinguished guests including Chief EU negotiator on Brexit Michel Barnier and the President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani addressed those present.

EUROCHAMBRES Economic Survey 2018-2019 For the 19th consecutive year, the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry participated in the annual pan-European benchmarking exercise organised by Eurochambres – the Association of European Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

Mr Xuereb said that the European Union must collaborate to ensure that places of education and work adapt to such developments effectively in order to safeguard the continent’s competitiveness.

The Chamber’s participation in this initiative is of great significance for the local business community. The two-minute survey enables the Chamber to gauge members’ economic performance with that of companies throughout the rest of Europe. This is possible by means of a harmonised system of running this survey, the design of the questionnaire, its distribution, as well as the collating and interpretation of information received.

“At present, Europe’s main competitors are reaping the significant benefits of large preparations and investments in STEM-related fields, while we are falling behind due to brain-drain and misused resources. We have a significant opportunity to transform the priceless human resources that are being lost to youth unemployment or skills mismatches into a new-found resource through ambitious investment,” Mr Xuereb noted.

The survey was carried out throughout September 2018 and achieved the highest response rate in recent years. The biggest challenge for economic development for members in 2019 is expected to be the lack of skilled workers, while a majority of respondents expect increases in both national and export sales in 2018, as well as increased levels of investment.

In his address, Mr Xuereb also called for an effective strategy to marry STEM with children’s compulsory education. He argued that these two initiatives may notably improve the EU’s supply of the new skills required to meet the demands of an ever-evolving society and economy. The EPE is a biennial initiative co-organised by the European Parliament and Eurochambres.

Across Europe, more than 45,000 businesses in 26 countries also highlighted notable concerns on skills shortages. Other key findings on a European level include: • European businesses expect an even stronger increase in domestic sales; • A drop in the growth rate of export sales is forecast following the 2015-2018 period; • Investment and employment figures indicate a weaker growth after a 2013-2018 recovery; • Brexit is identified as the top challenge by almost two-thirds of Irish respondents.

EUROPEAN ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COMMITTEE (EESC)

The EESC is a consultative body that gives representatives of Europe’s socio-occupational interest groups and others a formal platform to express their points of view on EU issues. Its opinions are addressed to the Council, the European Commission and the European

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Parliament. It thus has a key role to play in the Union’s decision-making process. Malta has five representatives appointed to the EESC: two represent employers, two represent trade unions and one represents civil society and NGOs. 2018 – A Year Dominated by Brexit and Preparations for the New Programming Period 2018 was a year when European affairs were largely dominated by the negotiations with the UK for an orderly departure from the EU and the undertaking of all the preparatory work required for putting into place the required legislation for the new programming period 2021-2027. These two items also formed a significant part of the agenda of the Employers Group for the year 2018. In line with this, Stefano Mallia, who is one of Malta’s two representatives in the Employers Group and is also Vice-President of the Group took a very active role on both issues.

Stefano Mallia appointed President of the Brexit Group Towards the end of 2018, the Brexit Group, which was initially chaired by EESC President Luca Jahier, appointed Mr Mallia as its President for the period 2019-2021. This decision was approved by the EESC Bureau during its December meeting. Since then Mr Mallia has been involved in various meetings with Mr Barnier and has represented the EESC in various fora where the issue of Brexit was discussed.

Brexit The departure of the UK from the European Union continued to dominate European affairs right through 2018 and was also actively discussed within the Employers Group. In the initial phases a decision was taken by the Employers Group to monitor the developments of Brexit and to keep its members updated with all the latest developments as the negotiations progress. In line with this the Group Bureau appointed three Group rapporteurs to carry out this task and to keep a close liaison with the European Commission. Stefano Mallia was appointed as one of the three rapporteurs.

Meetings with the Malta Chamber and other Employer Bodies in Malta During 2018 a number of meetings were held between the Employers Group of the EESC and the Maltese employer bodies in Malta. The aim of these meetings was to keep an open channel of communication between the two sides and to ensure that Malta’s specific employer interests are taken into consideration by the Employers Group.

During 2018, the EESC Bureau also took a decision to appoint a Brexit Group within the Committee which would be made up of members from all three Groups (Employers, Trade Unions and Civil Society). Mr Mallia was also appointed to form part of this Group as one of the three representatives of the Employers Group. Whilst forming part of this Brexit Group, Mr Mallia was involved in various meetings with the Commission and with the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier in particular. During these meetings the Brexit Group was kept abreast of the latest developments and of how possible scenarios might unfold.

Through his role as Vice-President of the Employers Group, Mr Mallia has always taken an active role in organising such meetings and in ensuring that all employer bodies have the opportunity to exchange views and ideas with their counterparts in the EESC. With this in mind, during 2018 meetings were held with the Malta Chamber, the Malta Employers Association and the GRTU. The Presidents of the three employer bodies were also invited to address an Employers Group meeting in Brussels during which an exchange of views on key issues such as the completion of the single market, Brexit and industrial policy took place.

In view of his involvement and insight on the issue, the Malta Chamber also nominated Mr Mallia to represent the Chamber on the Malta-UK Business Promotion Task Force which was set up by the Government of Malta in view of Brexit.

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Meetings with the Maltese Authorities A number of meetings were also held with the Maltese authorities during the year 2018. Meetings with the Prime Minister, the Minister of Finance and the Parliamentary Secretary responsible for EU funds were held with the aim of promoting employers’ interests including a more competitive industrial policy, a more flexible labour market, the completion of the single market and embracing new technologies within the same single market. Throughout these meetings Mr Mallia played an active role in keeping an open channel of communication between the EESC and the Maltese authorities, as well as in identifying possible opportunities for pushing forward Maltaspecific interests at a European level.

during which the draft Opinion was discussed and over 100 organisations and authorities participated. In addition, Mr Mallia held several meetings in Malta with the main employer bodies and the Maltese authorities to ensure that all Malta-related concerns were included in the final Opinion. In the EESC Opinion, Mr Mallia called on the Commission to 1) not reduce the co-financing rate and 2) to give an even higher co-financing rate to those areas classified under Art 174 for which Malta too would classify. On this aspect Mr Mallia said “the Commission feels that the co-financing rate should now be reduced to allow for more projects to take place. This we feel is unfair especially on the smaller member states such as Malta as it will mean more national funds will be needed for EU projects to take place. In our view islands and other areas facing particular difficulties should be given a higher and not lower co-financing rate.” He also pointed out that a few member states which are currently enjoying a co-financing rate of 80 per cent could go down to 55 per cent in the next programming period. According to Mr Mallia, ad-hoc solutions needed to be found for such member states.

During 2018, Mr Mallia also kept in close contact with the Maltese Representative Office in Brussels. As has been done in previous years, Mr Mallia has often sought the views and positions of the Malta Government on a number of issues which are of particular importance to Malta and on which Mr Mallia took an active role. Some of the topics on which Mr Mallia exchanged views with the Representation in 2018 related to the next EU Budget, taxation, Cohesion Policy, Islands in the EU, Immigration and Gold Plating (over regulation).

The Mallia Opinion was adopted by the EESC during the October plenary session with an overwhelming majority.

Stefano Mallia Appointed as Rapporteur on the Next Round of Cohesion Funds 2018 saw the beginning of an active engagement by European institutions vis-à-vis the new round of Cohesion Funds that would start from 2021 right through to 2027. In this regard intensive work was carried out on the various regulations concerning the governing of the Structural Funds and to the regulations pertaining to the funds themselves (such as the ERDF and the ESF).

Stefano Mallia Elected to the Main Bureau of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) In October 2018 Mr Mallia was elected as a member of the main Bureau of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC). He was elected for the period 2018-2020 whilst also retaining his post as Vice-President of the Employers Group.

The EESC was the first EU institution to adopt a position on all the key legislation concerning the Cohesion Policy package.

As a member of the main Bureau, Mr Mallia is involved in the executive decisions of the Committee and is able to take on a more proactive role in promoting the interests of employers in Europe. Commenting on this appointment Mr Mallia said “I am pleased with this development which will allow me to take on a more proactive role within the EESC. It will also give me a greater opportunity to promote in a more effective manner the interests of Malta and more specifically of employers and business owners. I look forward with enthusiasm to working even harder for a more relevant and effective EU.”

In view of the importance of the Cohesion Funds for Malta, Mr Mallia played an active role in the process and was appointed as the Rapporteur for the Opinion on the Common Provisions Regulation. This is considered to be the main regulation that governs all the different funds that operate within Cohesion Policy. As part of the Opinion drafting process, Mr Mallia held a number of meetings with officials from the European Commission (DG Regio), European business bodies including Business Europe and SMEUnited, as well as various NGOs. Mr Mallia was also a key speaker in a public event organised by the EESC in Brussels

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EXECUTIVE COMMITTEES – BUSINESS SECTIONS ELECTRICAL AND ELECTRONICS

P L A S T I C S A N D R U B B E R M A N U FA C T U R E R S

Mr Conrad Pace – Chairperson Mr Simon Alden Mr Joseph Bugeja Mr Joseph Gingell

Mr Kenneth Micallef – Chairperson Mr Robert Borg – Deputy Chairperson Mr Kenneth Caruana Ms Doreen Cutrona Mr Olaf Zahra Mr Mark Borg (co-opted) Mr Ivan Gerada (co-opted) Mr Arthur Mallia (co-opted) Mr Luke Satariano (co-opted)

FINANCIAL SERVICES

Mr David Zahra – Chairperson Mr Kenneth Farrugia – Deputy Chairperson Dr Malcolm Mifsud Dr John Ellul Sullivan (co-opted)

FOOD AND BEVERAGE PROCESSORS

PROFESSIONAL COMMUNITY LEAD PHARMACISTS

Mr Alex Meilak – Chairperson Mr Stephen Bonnici Mr Benjamin Brincat Mr Joseph Pace Mr John Sammut

Mr Reginald Fava – Chairperson Ms Marisa Dalli – Deputy Chairperson Prof. Lilian Azzopardi Ms Eliza Vella Ms Pierina Zammit

HEALTHCARE

SHIPPING AND BUNKERING

Mr Peter Sullivan – Chairperson Mr Alfred Pace – Deputy Chairperson Mr Edward Houlton Mr Stephen Parnis-England Mr Thomas Sullivan

Mr Robert Magri – Chairperson Ms Vanessa Said Salomone – Deputy Chairperson Ms Giulia Attard-Montalto Mr Marcel K. Mifsud Mr David Stellini Mr Paul Apap Bologna (co-opted) Ms Joanna Gatt (co-opted)

TOURISM

Ms Genevieve Abela – Chairperson Mr Alan Arrigo – Deputy Chairperson Mr Jean Karl Farrugia Mr Ian Fitzpatrick Mr Ivan Mifsud Mr Iain Tonna Mr Joseph Attard (co-opted) Mr Louis Olivieri (co-opted)

I N F O R M AT I O N A N D C O M M U N I C AT I O N S TECHNOLOGY Mr Francois Grech – Chairperson Mr Joseph Sultana – Deputy Chairperson Mr Marcel Cutajar Mr Joseph Roland Scerri Mr John Wood Mr Gordon Micallef (co-opted)

WINES, SPIRITS, BEVERAGES AND TOBACCO

Mr Pierre Stafrace – Chairperson Mr Alexander Arrigo – Deputy Chairperson Mr Michael Darmanin Mr Tarcisio Piscopo Mr Stephen Rausi

LOGISTICS

Mr Robert Aquilina – Chairperson Mr David Fleri Soler – Deputy Chairperson Mr Pierre Attard Mr Shawn Falzon Mr George Amato

YA C H T I N G S E R V I C E S

Dr Alison Vassallo – Chairperson Mr Niki Travers Tauss – Deputy Chairperson Mr Peter Fiorini Lowell Dr Cornelia Zammit German Mr Anthony Galea Mr Matthew Gusman Mr Kurt Gutteridge

P H A R M A C E U T I C A L M A N U FA C T U R E R S Prof. Claude A. Farrugia – Chairperson Mr Dino Mangion – Deputy Chairperson Mr Jurgen Azzopardi Mr Franco Gatt

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POLICY COMMITTEES

C H A M B E R A D M I N I S T R AT I V E COMMITTEES

ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT

S T AT U T E R E V I S I O N C O M M I S S I O N Mr David G. Curmi – Chairperson Mr Matthias Fauser Mr Reginald Fava Mr Stefano Mallia Mr Kevin J. Borg Ms Johanna Calleja

Perit David Xuereb – Chairperson Mr Godwin C. Micallef – Vice-Chairperson Mr Mark Bajada Ing. Charles Cuschieri Mr Oliver Fenech Ms Mary Gaerty Mr George Gregory Mr Adrian Mallia Ing. Mario Schembri Mr Patrick Spiteri Staines Ing. Adrian Vigar Mr Nigel Mifsud

BUSINESS COUNCIL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEES GERMAN-MALTESE BUSINESS COUNCIL Mr Armin Eckermann – Chairperson

FA M I LY B U S I N E S S C O M M I T T E E

Mr Andrew W.J. Mamo – Chairperson Mr Hugh Arrigo Mr Sam Borg Mr Etienne Borg-Cardona Dr Nadine Lia Ms Maria Micallef Mr Ian Mizzi Mr Andre Fenech

MALTESE-TURKISH BUSINESS COUNCIL Chairperson – Vacant

MIDDLE EAST BUSINESS COUNCIL Mr Simon Alden – Chairperson

NORTH AFRICAN BUSINESS COUNCIL Mr Simon Alden – Chairperson

HUMAN RESOURCES

MALTA CHAMBER COMMISSIONS SET UP B Y S T AT U T E

Ms Catherine Calleja – Chairperson Mr Stephen Bonnici Dr Matthew Brincat Ms Antoinette Caruana Mr Ray Debattista Mr Jonathan Ferrito Ms Alexia Frendo Ms Ruth Farrugia Mr Michel Ganado Ms Monica Incorvaja Mr Ivan Refalo Ms Fabienne Ruggier Mr Nigel Mifsud

COMMERCIAL AGENTS COMMISSION ( S T AT U T E A R T 1 . 1 ) Mr Charles A. Zahra – Chairperson Mr Anthony T. Camilleri Mr Josie Ellul Mercer Mr Frank V. Farrugia

E L E C T O R A L C O M M I S S I O N ( S T AT U T E A R T 6 . 1 ) Mr Josie Ellul-Mercer – Chairperson Mr Louis Apap Bologna Mr Victor Camilleri Mr Michael Cutugno

I N T E R N AT I O N A L I S AT I O N Mr Frank V. Farrugia Mr Kevin J. Borg Mr Lino Mintoff

CONFLICTS RESOLUTION PANEL

MARKETING

( S T AT U T E A R T 1 0 . 1 ) Mr Victor A. Galea Mr Anton Borg Mr Joseph Pace Mr Michael Scerri

Mr Louis Olivieri – Chairperson Ms Anika Gatt Mr Christian Peregin Mr Chris Vassallo Cesareo Mr Edward Bonello

ETHICS AND DISCIPLINARY COMMISSION ( S T AT U T E A R T 8 . 2 ) Mr David G. Curmi – Chairperson Mr Joseph Bugeja Mr Martin Galea Mr Michael Scerri Mr Joseph F.X. Zahra 0108


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MALTA CHAMBER NOMINEES ON GOVERNMENT BOARDS AND OTHER COMMITTEES BEVERAGE CONTAINERS REFUND SCHEME – TECHNICAL GROUP Mr Andre Fenech

BUILDING INDUSTRY C O N S U L T AT I V E C O U N C I L (BICC) Mr Charles Zahra Mr David Xuereb

BICC – ADVISORY BOARD

E D U C AT I O N M A L T A Ms Marisa Xuereb Mr Kevin J. Borg

E M P L O Y M E N T R E L AT I O N S BOARD AND GUARANTEE FUND A D M I N I S T R AT I O N B O A R D Mr Frank V. Farrugia Dr Matthew Brincat

ESKILLS BOARD OF GOVERNORS

Mr David Xuereb

Mr Marcel Cutajar

B I C C – C O M P I L AT I O N O F A PROPERTY PRICE INDEX

E U C I E U R O P E A N C E R T I F I C AT E INSTITUTE LTD – IMPARTIALITY COMMITTEE

Mr David Xuereb

B U I L D I N G R E G U L AT I O N S A N D EU DIRECTIVES WORKING GROUP

Mr Patrick Cachia

MALTA COUNCIL FOR ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT (MCESD) Mr Frank V. Farrugia Mr Kevin J. Borg Mr David Xuereb (alternate) Ms Marisa Xuereb (alternate)

MCESD WORKING GROUPS: COMPETITIVENESS OF SMALL AND MICRO ENTERPRISES Mr Andrew W.J. Mamo EQUAL PAY FOR EQUAL WORK Mr Frank V. Farrugia PARENTAL LEAVE AND FAMILY FRIENDLY MEASURES Mr Frank V. Farrugia

INDUSTRIAL TRIBUNALS

Mr Adrian Mallia

Mr Reginald Fava Ms Mary Gaerty

TRAFFIC CONGESTION AND THE COST TO THE ECONOMY Mr Adrian Mallia

C L I M AT E A C T I O N F U N D

JOBS PLUS BOARD

Mr David Xuereb

Mr Frank V. Farrugia

CLOUD WORKING COMMITTEE

JUNIOR ACHIEVEMENT YOUNG ENTERPRISE

MALTA COUNCIL FOR SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY (MCST) E VA L U AT I O N C O M M I T T E E

Mr Francois Grech

COMPETITIVENESS BOARD

Mr Chris Vassallo Cesareo

L O W WA G E C O M M I S S I O N

Mr Kevin J. Borg

Mr Patrick Cachia

C O N S E R VAT O R I O V I N C E N Z O BUGEJA COMMITTEE

M A L T A A R B I T R AT I O N CENTRE

Mr Andrew W.J. Mamo Mr David Xuereb Ms Liz Barbaro Sant

Dr Matthew Brincat

CRUISE LINER NETWORK

Mr Frank V. Farrugia Mr Patrick Cachia Mr Charles Zahra Mr David Zahra

Mr Ivan Mifsud

DIGITAL MALTA GOVERNMENT BODY Mr Francois Grech

E . B U S I N E S S AWA R D S COMMITTEE

Ms Marisa Xuereb

E D U C AT I O N A N D T R A I N I N G WORKING GROUP Mr Charles Cuschieri

MALTA BUSINESS F O U N D AT I O N

MALTA COMMUNITY CHEST FUND Mr Anton Borg

MALTA COMPETITION AND C O N S U M E R A F FA I R S A U T H O R I T Y (MCCAA) Mr Reginald Fava

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Ms Marisa Xuereb

MALTA COUNCIL FOR SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY (MCST) STEERING COMMITTEE

Dr David Grech

MALTA ENTERPRISE BOARD OF DIRECTORS Mr Frank V. Farrugia Ms Marisa Xuereb

MALTA ENTERPRISE BOARD TO PROMOTE MALTESE PRODUCTS

Mr Joseph Pace

MALTA INDUSTRIAL PARKS Mr Reuben Cuschieri

M A L T A T R A D E FA I R S C O R P O R AT I O N Mr Gino Cutajar Mr Aldo Calleja Mr Mario Spiteri Mr Charles A. Zahra


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MALTA-EU STEERING ACTION COMMITTEE (MEUSAC)

Mr Charles A. Zahra Mr Andre Fenech

MCAST BOARD OF GOVERNORS

Mr Frank V. Farrugia

M I N I S T R Y O F F O R E I G N A F FA I R S – JOINT STAKEHOLDERS WORKING COUNCIL Mr Lino Mintoff

MONITORING COMMITTEE FOR O P E R AT I O N A L P R O G R A M M E I , COHESION POLICY 2014-2020 Mr Joe Tanti

MONITORING COMMITTEE FOR O P E R AT I O N A L P R O G R A M M E I I , COHESION POLICY 2014-2020 Mr Joe Tanti

MONITORING COMMITTEE FOR THE STRUCTURAL FUNDS

R E S E A R C H A N D I N N O VAT I O N WORKING GROUP Dr David Grech

RESPONSIBLE GAMING F O U N D AT I O N

Mr George Debrincat

RETAIL PRICE INDEX BOARD Mr John B. Scicluna

RETAIL PRICE INDEX C O N S U L T AT I V E C O M M I T T E E

Mr John B. Scicluna

SWISS-MALTESE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

Mr Reginald Fava

TECH MT

Mr Francois Grech Mr Frank V. Farrugia Mr Roland Scerri Mr Gordon Micallef

TRADE MALTA

Mr Frank V. Farrugia Mr Joe Pace

VA L L E T T A 2 0 1 8 F O U N D AT I O N

EUROPEAN COMMUNITY ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON FREE MOVEMENT OF WORKERS Mr Joseph Farrugia

EUROPEAN COMMUNITY ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON SAFETY AND HEALTH P R O T E C T I O N AT W O R K

Mr Joseph Farrugia

EUROPEAN COMMUNITY ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON SOCIAL SECURITY FOR MIGRANT WORKERS

Mr Joseph Farrugia

EUROPEAN ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COMMITTEE Mr Stefano Mallia

M A L T A S T AT I S T I C S A U T H O R I T Y (REPRESENTING ALL EMPLOYERS)

Dr Emanuel P. Delia

O C C U P AT I O N A L H E A L T H A N D SAFETY AUTHORITY BOARD

Mr Joe Tanti

Mr Frank V. Farrugia

Mr Joe Delia

N AT I O N A L A C C R E D I T AT I O N BOARD (MALTA)

VA L L E T T A A L I V E F O U N D AT I O N

BUSINESSEUROPE – THE C O N F E D E R AT I O N O F E U R O P E A N BUSINESS

Ing. Noel Micallef

Mr Charles Borg

N AT I O N A L A I S T R AT E G Y WORKING GROUP

WORKING COMMITTEE ON PRICING OF MEDICINE PRODUCTS

Mr Francois Grech

N AT I O N A L R & I S T R AT E G Y 2 0 2 0 STEERING GROUP Mr David Xuereb

N AT I O N A L S K I L L S C O U N C I L Mr David Xuereb

Healthcare Sector (IEG) Pharma Sector (MEG) Pharmacy Owners

YOUTH GUARANTEE COMMITTEE

Mr Chris Vassallo Cesareo

Mr David Xuereb Mr Ian Mizzi Mr Ian Casolani

EMPLOYERS’ NOMINEES ON BOARDS AND COMMITTEES OF THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITY ( R E P R E S E N T I N G A L L M A L T A’ S EMPLOYERS):

P R O P E R T Y M A R K E T VA L U E INDEX

EUROFOUND GOVERNING BOARD

PLANNING AUTHORITY USERS COMMITTEE

Mr Reginald Fava Mr Lino Mintoff

RENT INDEX BOARD

Mr Reginald Fava

R E G E N E R AT I O N O F P R O P E R T Y WORKING GROUP

Mr Joseph Farrugia

EUROPEAN CENTRE FOR THE D E V E L O P M E N T O F V O C AT I O N A L TRAINING (CEDEFOP) Mr Joseph Farrugia

Mr Godwin Micallef

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Mr Anton Borg

BUSINESSEUROPE ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND SMES COMMITTEE

Mr Lino Mintoff

BUSINESSEUROPE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

Mr Kevin J. Borg

EUROCHAMBRES BOARD OF DIRECTORS Mr Frank V. Farrugia

EUROCHAMBRES DG’S COMMITTEE

Mr Kevin J. Borg


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A D M I N I S T R AT I O N C E R T I F I C AT E S O F O R I G I N

with reduced formalities for eventual return to Malta. The client is required to issue a bank guarantee or pay the Chamber a deposit for a percentage of the value of the goods. This is refunded once the consignment returns and the documents, which have been stamped by Customs, are returned to the Malta Chamber. 53 Carnets were issued in 2018.

During 2018 the Malta Chamber achieved ICC Accreditation for the issuing of Certificates of Origin. This followed the introduction of procedures as stipulated in the ICC Guidelines. The Malta Chamber is now working towards the introduction of Electronic Certificates of Origin. As at 30th November 2018 the Malta Chamber had issued 2,377 Certificates of Origin. The processing of Certificates of Origin is carried out according to a procedure recommended by the International Chamber of Commerce and the Association of European Chambers of Commerce (Eurochambres).

MAINTENANCE

The maintenance of the Exchange Buildings is constant and ongoing. This is carried out by the Support Staff with the use of outside contractors as required. A new lift was purchased and installed during the month of August. Works were also carried out on the second floor in preparation for the Malta Business Bureau which moved in during the month of September.

AT A C A R N E T S

An ATA Carnet is required when a consignment is leaving Malta on a temporary basis. It enables the goods to enter the country of destination

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I E L T S ( I N T E R N AT I O N A L E N G L I S H LANGUAGE TESTING SYSTEM)

In today’s world it is becoming increasingly important not only to know the English language but also to demonstrate such knowledge through credible and trusted thirdparty certification, such as that provided by the International English Language Testing System – IELTS. Such requirements usually arise at the place of work, in education and in cases of emigration.

The Malta Chamber was appointed as the only official IELTS testing centre in Malta in 1998 and it has been offering this service ever since. There has been a constant growth in the demand for IELTS testing in Malta in the last few years and in 2018 IELTS Malta offered 18 test sessions for an ever-growing volume of candidates. Early in 2015 the UK government chose the Malta Chamber to be one of the 10 independent centres in Europe where IELTS for UKVI and IELTS Life Skills tests can be held. These tests, which in Malta are held by British Council Rome under enhanced security and stricter procedures, are the only Secure English Language Tests (SELT) approved by the UK Government for visa and immigration purposes.

Businesses that require client-facing employees to be proficient in the English language are increasingly requiring potential applicants to submit an IELTS test report form as part of the recruitment process. This will confirm their ability to communicate in English across all four language skills – listening, reading, writing and speaking.

Additional information pertaining to the IELTS test can be sourced at www.maltachamber.org.mt/ielts

Many students travel to Malta to study the English language, practise their skills within the community, and assess their proficiency by attaining an IELTS qualification. Such certification is usually a pre-requisite for students from non-English speaking countries who wish to further their education in English speaking universities and centres of higher education.

O T H E R E X A M I N AT I O N S E R V I C E S

The Malta Chamber is also an approved examination centre, and regularly conducts examinations for: Cambridge BMAT; Institute and Faculty of Actuaries; The Open University in the North; The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh; University of Dundee; and the University of Leicester. In 2018 the Malta Chamber held 58 examinations for these bodies.

Finally, proof of ability to communicate in English is usually demanded from persons who would like to emigrate, attain professional registration or seek employment opportunities in various countries such as Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. 0117


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THE MALTA CHAMBER’S SURVEY WORK

The Directorate General for Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN) conducts regular harmonised surveys for different sectors of the economies in the European Union (EU) and in the applicant countries.

won for the first time in 2007, the Construction survey in 2008, and the Retail survey in 2011. The Malta Chamber has been conducting these surveys uninterruptedly since the said dates. The last Framework Agreement tender, for a maximum duration of six years, was won in 2015.

The objective of these surveys is to gauge perceptions and expectations of operators in their respective sectors. Internationally, these surveys serve as a lead and timely indicator of actual performance and the data gathered is used to build composite indicators to track cyclical movements, both in specific sectors and also in the economy as a whole. However, they are not meant to substitute official data on the performance of the sector. Emphasis is on short-term performance rather than on structural issues which would require more in-depth study. The programme allows for comparisons among different countries’ business cycles and has become a recognised tool for monitoring the evolution of the EU and the euro area economies, and applicant countries.

From the very beginning of the process, the Malta Chamber had decided to partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers for the provision of bespoke survey software and this relationship still exists to date. In November 2018, Malta Chamber Head – Quality and Administration, John B. Scicluna attended the annual workshop on business and consumer surveys, which was organised in Brussels by the European Commission in conjunction with the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD). The workshop was attended by representatives from various institutes and organisations that undertake the surveys in their respective countries throughout the EU and in a number of non-EU OECD member countries. The workshop allowed participants to share their ongoing working experience and included various technical presentations on the quality of the survey data; what we can learn from sectoral survey data on productivity, labour market and price developments during and after the crisis; and on proposed changes concerning new survey-based indicators.

The European Commission does not conduct these surveys directly but does so through partner institutes established in the various surveyed countries and chosen through competitive tender. The tenders are usually for a number of years and the contracts always start in May. The Malta Chamber started conducting the Industry survey in 2002. The Services tender was 0119


ISO: 9001 Since December 2010, the Malta Chamber has been certified by the Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority (MCCAA) to be in compliance with the requirements of MSA ISO 9001. Initially the Malta Chamber was certified to comply with MSA ISO 9001:2008, but when this standard was revised in 2015 the Malta Chamber asked for recertification to the revised standard and this took place in December 2016. Changes introduced in the 2015 revision are intended to ensure that ISO 9001 continues to adapt to the changing environments in which organisations operate. Some of the key updates included the introduction of new terminology, restructuring of some of the information, an emphasis on risk-based thinking to enhance the application of the process approach, improved applicability for services and increased leadership requirements. The objective of the Malta Chamber Quality Management System (QMS) is to support, safeguard and promote the interests of members, influence the formation of policy at National and European levels and to ensure effective support services. The QMS is designed to provide documented procedures and a control mechanism to assure the quality of its service, provide controls for the prevention of non-conformities and assure consistent delivery. The Malta Chamber monitors the effectiveness of its QMS, and its compliance with the requirements of the standard, through regular Internal Audits and Management Review Meetings. On its part the MCCAA holds regular surveillance audits, with the last one held in September 2018.


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MALTA BUSINESS BUREAU Subsequently, in 2018, two business seminars were organised in collaboration with the European Commission Representation Office. At a business seminar on ‘The Future EU Budget’, stakeholders spoke of the private sector’s need to increase tapping into direct EU funds, so as to address the challenges in the areas of innovation, environment and labour market, among others. On the other hand, another business seminar was organised, focusing on ‘The Future of the Single Market’. During this event, a panel of experts explored the added value of the single market, the legislators’ commitment towards it, and whether it is moving in the right direction from a political perspective.

EU POLICY AND LOBBYING

Throughout the period under review, the EU agenda was earmarked with several key legislative proposals, particularly for the consolidation of the single and digital single markets, the completion of an Energy Union, placing the EU at the forefront of combatting climate change, building a fair and sustainable social market economy, and upgrading of the current tax regime.

As part of its efforts to consult businesses during its lobbying process, the MBB organised another event together with the European Parliament Liaison Office on the proposed Platform2Business regulation. Emphasis was made on the need for fair rule and transparency for business users of the online platforms, particularly vis-à-vis the industry giants. Support was generally expressed for the draft regulation based on the perception that it will protect smaller and independent businesses.

As a business-representative organisation, MBB plays a prominent role in pushing Maltese business’ priorities on an EU level through its lobbying efforts. By means of consulting local businesses, MBB helps to drive forward the Maltese perspective within the political and technical debates which take place in Brussels at multiple levels. The organisation has also continued to follow the process of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, as well as the ongoing reflection on the future of Europe. Advice was given to business operators and professionals with interests in the UK to be informed and prepare for any eventuality that the departure of the UK will inevitably bring. This is necessary to avoid any disruption that could potentially materialise.

In November 2018, MBB Senior Executive Marija Elena Borg was named winner of the Youth Essay Competition by public vote, as part of the SME Assembly in Graz. The competition welcomed over 80 submissions from young individuals across Europe. Applicants were encouraged to share their thoughts and opinions with key policy-makers and entrepreneurs in the form of an essay. As one of the three selected finalists, Marija was given the opportunity to pitch her idea and offer some

The MBB has also been following closely the ongoing negotiations of the EU Multi-Annual Financial Framework, which was published by the European Commission in May 2018 and comprises a comprehensive programme for the future of the EU Budget from 2021 to 2027.

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practical insights on how to link innovation to the holistic growth of organisations. In her proposal, Marija identified five important steps that should be taken to boost expertise and creativity, improve efficiency and increase costeffectiveness at the workplace.

the interests of young and inexperienced entrepreneurs who want to improve their financial knowledge, through an e-learning platform.

EU PROJECTS

To further strengthen its policy work and pro-activeness in this regard, the MBB is engaged in a number of EU-funded projects and initiatives covering different policy areas. MBB’s participation in these projects extends the services offered to local businesses and to the Maltese economy in general. It is MBB’s aim that with the support given through these projects, Maltese enterprises become more competitive and sustainable.

As a follow-up of the INVEST project, the MBB launched DIFME in 2019 – a threeyear Erasmus+ Knowledge Alliances project. Through linking higher education institutions to businesses across Europe, the project aims to develop an e-learning platform that will strengthen the financial and digital skills of entrepreneurs – enabling them to widen their networks and internationalise. DIFME will also work towards the creation of an ‘SME Hub’ that will not only provide entrepreneurs with access to the e-learning platform, but also promote a long-term partnership between representatives of academic, educational and business bodies based in different European countries.

2018 saw the termination of INVEST, an Erasmus+ two-year project which supported the EU’s efforts to increase financial education as an important driver for entrepreneurial success. In doing so, the project designed a financial literacy training model which is a free and publicly available online toolkit that offers 30 hours of training. This model has been specifically designed to address existing gaps in financial knowledge both within the Maltese and the wider EU markets. It reflects

In relation to skills, the MBB also forms part of two other Erasmus+ projects. Through VITA project, the MBB, together with its partners, is currently developing a ‘Trainers Toolbox’ by which trainers can attract, reach out and assist learners in improving their digital literacy. In addition, as part of INCOME project, the MBB is working to strengthen soft skills within the tourism industry. During its three-year duration, Erasmus+ project INCOME will create a new learning approach, linked to the development of soft skills and based on a cooperative learning process that brings together higher education institutions and businesses in the tourism industry. Thus, the project recognises

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the need to incorporate soft skills into higher education curricula and simultaneously cooperate with businesses to be able to provide the tourism industry with the required resources. This is necessary to address the existent mismatch between the needs of the market and the level of soft skills that tourism students have. In the area of environmental sustainability, the MBB concluded the Investing in Energy project in December 2018. This was a three-year project that supported industry-related obligations under the Energy Efficiency Directive and Malta’s 2020 energy efficiency targets. It helped SMEs in Malta, particularly those in the manufacturing and importer/retail sectors, to reduce carbon emissions and increase their energy efficiency. It has achieved this through offering complimentary energy audits, organising workshops for technical staff and management debates at business breakfasts, as well as providing energy updates in relation to businesses.

number of SMEs, helping them to tap EU funds and explore new international markets, and providing information on access to finance and alternative financing such as crowdfunding. As part of EEN, the MBB is a member of the Tourism and Cultural Heritage Sector Group – one of the 17 key expert sector groups within EEN, comprising partners that work together to meet the needs of clients operating in a particular sector. MBB Senior Executive Ana Vella was nominated as Vice-Chair for this Group, and together with Sector Group Chair Paola Tolin, she will be working to promote business innovation, enhance cooperation and sustainable partnerships among European tourism SMEs and provide services that have a European added value.

In addition, last year, the MBB expanded its sustainability portfolio into another area of increasing importance, particularly to the hospitality sector – food waste. Food waste has become a key priority on the European agenda and is a topic that has an impact on businesses’ bottom line. FOSTER is a LIFE+ three-year project; the objective of which is to help build national capacity in reducing food waste in the hospitality sector. This will be achieved through education and training, as well as the engagement of businesses and policy-makers in the sector. The project will culminate in 2021 through a European-level ‘Food Waste Hackathon’, during which students from the partner countries will compete to create the most food-efficient menus. Three ITS students will be representing Malta.

During the last few years, the tourism business agenda has been piling high with new opportunities, particularly with the arrival of the EU-China Tourism Year in 2018. The Sector Group is at the forefront of current initiatives that are being undertaken by the EU to facilitate business between European tourism suppliers and Chinese buyers. In addition to these opportunities, the group is also teaming up with other groups to look for innovative creative tourism ecosystems to build international-driven, win-win cooperation between creative industries and tourism companies. The network partners will be helping tourism businesses go digital by finding the best international tech solutions to improve their digital environment and services, and will this year also support SMEs to explore new opportunities in the sharing economy.

ENTERPRISE EUROPE NETWORK

The MBB has been an Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) service provider since 2015, supporting local SMEs to make the most of business opportunities in Europe and beyond ever since. Through the network’s services, the MBB has been able to provide information to hundreds of Maltese businesses on various local support measures to encourage their uptake for greater impetus and competitiveness at national and European levels. In particular, the MBB has hand-held and offered its guided support to a

For more information, visit www.mbb.org.mt or contact MBB on E: info@mbb.org.mt; T: 2125 1719.

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P U B L I C R E L AT I O N S

Corporate Video which concisely describes the operations of the organisation. The video is used in international business missions and local events.

Throughout the year in review, the Malta Chamber continued to build on its existent strengths, consolidating its presence in the business-specialised media as well as the national debate.

Throughout the year in review, the Malta Chamber also continued to reinforce its strong presence and exposure through traditional media, as it continued to contribute to the national debate on economic and business matters.

In fact, www.maltachamber.org.mt continued to grow as Malta’s leading specialised business portal, together with the complete portfolio of communications products the Chamber offers to its members and businesses at large. The business portal, which is produced in collaboration with Content House Group Ltd, continued to provide readers with regular business news from Malta and around the world, as well as updates about the work of the Malta Chamber. With hundreds of stories uploaded on the site, the business portal remained a preferred source for quality content for every business person in Malta interested in staying up-to-date with current business affairs, business opportunities and leading opinions.

The Malta Chamber also kept its members and the public updated with its work as well as with its positions and opinions through its own media channels. During the period in review, 33 press releases were issued to the media. Six editions of The Commercial Courier magazines were published. The Annual Administrative Report was also sent to members well in advance of the Annual General Meeting. The Malta Chamber also produced a fourth edition of ‘Economic Vision – Business, Finance, Economy 2019’.

The Malta Chamber online experience continues to be supplemented by the B2B Directory and the weekly newsletter, Chamberlink which, throughout 2018, subscribers received in their inbox 52 times.

A new publication, in collaboration with Content House dedicated to Malta’s leading CEOs was also introduced.

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PRESS RELEASES 1.

22 January 2018

National interest has prevailed

2. 13 March 2018 Malta Chamber committed to sustaining excellent business relations with Tunisia 3.

27 March 2018

4. 13 April 2018

Lasting economic success discussed at AGM The future of the world economy will depend directly on what China does or does not do

5. 17 April 2018 Labour cost figures must include all factors contributing to non- wage expenses 6.

26 April 2018

Archbishop celebrates Holy Mass at the Malta Chamber

7.

8 May 2018

Business breakfast discusses challenges of family business transfer

8.

11 May 2018

Information session on proposed beverage container refund system

9.

21 May 2018

Malta Chamber launches corporate video

10.

22 May 2018

Solutions to labour market challenges presented to Cabinet

11.

23 May 2018

Albania is fertile ground for nurturing trade relations

12.

31 May 2018

Change can either be resisted or turned into a business opportunity

13. 1 June 2018

Private sector to propose a viable, not for profit, beverage container refund system for the Maltese islands

14.

13 June 2018

Can Malta leverage more EU funds?

15.

15 June 2018

Chamber makes presentation to Opposition on labour market

16. 15 June 2018 Maltese companies participate in Malta Chamber trade mission to Poland 17.

26 June 2018

GO4Industry Teacher Internship Programme launched

18.

6 July 2018

Prime Minister answers Malta Chamber members’ questions

19.

7 July 2018

Signing of agreement with Malta Motorways of the Sea

20.

27 July 2018

Blockchain – the new regulatory framework

21. 21 August 2018 Employer bodies to stop attending ERB meetings until impasse is solved 22. 29 August 2018 Gold partnership agreement between Malta Chamber and HSBC Bank Malta renewed 23. 10 September 2018 Family Business Conference to feature Malta’s foremost entrepreneurs 24. 14 September 2018 Leading businesses welcome 42 students in day-long job-shadowing exercise 25.

18 September 2018

Ferrero, Buffa, Grimaldi to headline Chamber conference

26. 19 September 2018 Strengthening institutional links leading to trade growth between Malta and India 27. 27 September 2018 The Malta Chamber welcomes the proposal to establish new Building and Construction Regulator 28. 1 October 2018 Committee dedicated to family businesses set up within the Malta Chamber 29. 1 October 2018

Welcome address by Frank V. Farrugia, A Family Affair – Safeguarding Malta and Europe’s Beating Heart

30.

2 October 2018

75 per cent of businesses prefer summertime

31.

16 October 2018

Let’s capitalise on past successes

32.

22 October 2018

Initial Reactions to the Budget 2019 by the Malta Chamber

33.

1 November 2018

Union membership should be a free choice

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Profile for Content House Group

Malta Chamber Administrative Report 2018/2019  

Malta Chamber Administrative Report 2018/2019  

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