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Administrative Report 2015/16

Gold Collaborating Partners

A Special Edition of the Commercial Courier

Newspaper post

The official annual report of the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry


Contents Foreword from President Anton Borg ....................................................................................................................................................................... 08 Introduction by DG Kevin J. Borg ................................................................................................................................................................................. 013 Council of the Malta Chamber 2015-2016 .......................................................................................................................................................... 018 Economic Groups Executive Committee Members ........................................................................................................................................ 020 Malta Chamber Executive Staff ..................................................................................................................................................................................... 020 Events Highlights .................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 023 Policy Positions 2015-2016 ........................................................................................................................................................................................... 043 Relations with Diplomatic Corps ................................................................................................................................................................................. 047 Economic Groups .................................................................................................................................................................................................................. 049 Importers, Distributors and Retailers Economic Group ........................................................................................................ 050 Healthcare .......................................................................................................................................................................................................... 050 Importers ............................................................................................................................................................................................................ 050 Pharmacists and Pharmacy Owners ................................................................................................................................................ 053 Wines and Spirits, Beverages and Tobacco .................................................................................................................................. 053 Manufacturers and Other Industries Economic Group ........................................................................................................ 055 Electrical and Electronics ........................................................................................................................................................................ 060 Food and Beverage Processors ............................................................................................................................................................ 060 Pharmaceutical Manufacturers ........................................................................................................................................................... 063 Plastics and Rubber Manufacturers .................................................................................................................................................. 064 Services Providers Economic Group ................................................................................................................................................ 064 Financial Services .......................................................................................................................................................................................... 065 Information Technology ........................................................................................................................................................................... 065 Remote Gaming ............................................................................................................................................................................................. 065 Road Contractors .......................................................................................................................................................................................... 067 Shipping and Bunkering ........................................................................................................................................................................... 069 Tourism ................................................................................................................................................................................................................ 069 Yachting Services .......................................................................................................................................................................................... 069 Policy Committees ................................................................................................................................................................................................................ 073 Environment and Energy .......................................................................................................................................................................... 075 Human Resources ........................................................................................................................................................................................ 076 Internationalisation ...................................................................................................................................................................................... 077 Marketing ............................................................................................................................................................................................................ 082 SME and Family Business ......................................................................................................................................................................... 082 Executive Committees – Business Sections, Policy Committees and Business Councils ..................................................... 086 Malta Chamber Commissions set up by Statute ............................................................................................................................................... 088 Consultation .............................................................................................................................................................................................................................. 089 Malta Council for Economic and Social Development MCESD ................................................................................. ..... 090 Malta-EU Steering Action Committee (MEUSAC) .................................................................................................................... 092 Examination Services .......................................................................................................................................................................................................... 095 Surveys .......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 095 Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) ............................................................................................................................................................................... 096 Administration .......................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 096 ISO:9001 ....................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 096 Public Relations ....................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 098 Press Releases .......................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 0101 International Scene .............................................................................................................................................................................................................. 0103 BUSINESSEUROPE ....................................................................................................................................................................................... 0104 EUROCHAMBRES .......................................................................................................................................................................................... 0104 European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) ............................................................................................................... 0105 Malta Business Bureau ............................................................................................................................................................................... 0106 Nominees on Boards and Committees ................................................................................................................................................................... 0112

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 GOLD SPONSORS

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 BRONZE SPONSORS

Editor: Kevin J. Borg

Publication Sales Manager: Matthew Spiteri

EditorIAL COORDINATOR: Edward Bonello

Advertising Sales Executive: Kurt Cauchi

CREATIVE COORDINATOR: Sarah Micallef

Advertising Sales Coordinator: Lindsey Napier

Design: Nicholas Cutajar – Design Studio at Content House Ltd

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 2016. Events occurring after this date will appear in the 2016-2017 report.


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Achievements of the Malta Chamber during my First Year of Presidency Anton Borg


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Upon my election to the post of President, I immediately declared my intention to adopt an inclusive style of leadership incorporating a dynamic contribution from as many colleagues as possible from the Board of Management and Council. This with a view to consolidate the Chamber’s position as the leading representative of the private sector.

Open Dialogue with our Political Leaders

Competitiveness

Immediately upon my election, I sought to continue the momentum gained by my predecessor in establishing an open and regular line of communication with our political leaders, and in so doing, consolidate our position as a leading representative of business within the country. In January this year, the Prime Minister and Mrs Muscat once again accepted an invitation for dinner with our Council members and spouses. This followed a two-hour dialogue session between Dr Muscat and our members, which took place a few days before. Moreover, I was given regular opportunities to update the Prime Minister as well as the President of the Republic about our views on the principal matters of business interest throughout the year. Similarly, a regular timetable was maintained to exchange views and ideas with the Opposition throughout the period under review. Opposition Leader Simon Busuttil was, in fact, invited to meet our Board and Council in June and December 2015 respectively. In addition, other opportunities for dialogue were presented when the Opposition invited the Chamber to meetings held at Parliament last October, November and January. We believe that these events give great value to our members as they provide a perfect opportunity for them to air their views directly before the powers that be.

Throughout the period under review, our Chamber has constantly championed the country’s quest for productivity and competitiveness whilst seeking to place the matter at the top of the national agenda – we believe this to be the central theme for developing our long-term economic future. Our Chamber sought to alert local authorities on internally-generated issues which lead to loss of competitiveness and for which the solution lies within the country’s own competence. There are other issues, however, for which the solutions lie beyond our control and, even there, the Malta Chamber made serious attempts to intervene with the European authorities in support of Malta’s cause. Competitiveness was the central theme in our policy formulation this year as well as our public representations in the media, social dialogue and high-level conferences such as the Commonwealth Business Forum and the EY Attractiveness conferences I addressed over the course of the year.

Policy The opening year of my term was characterised by active representations aimed at ensuring the right conditions in the country for business to prosper and grow. As the champions of national competitiveness, we consistently emphasized the need for Malta to embrace a balanced economy and that national competitiveness needed to be continuously enhanced. In so doing, we made several public pronouncements about issues of prime commercial and economic interests, tackling subjects such as energy tariffs, the promotion of public-private partnerships, abuse in free movement of goods, eco contribution reform and other environmental matters, employment of persons with disability and other labour market issues, pensions, regional aid intensities, tourism strategy, corporate governance and bureaucracy, including the ease of opening of bank accounts for foreigners.

Fuel and Energy Prices The Chamber was actively engaged in discussions on energy and fuel prices throughout the period under review, but these intensified during the pre-Budget consultation process and the ensuing period when the international oil prices continued to decline. To this end, separate meetings were held with senior Enemalta officials and the Energy Minister, who addressed a Council meeting on 9th October. We presented an updated position paper on the subject that acknowledged Enemalta’s financial situation but concluded that further reductions are justified to protect Malta’s export competitiveness position, particularly in price-sensitive sectors. The Chamber report included a number of concrete measures aimed at reducing energy prices that could be implemented with minimal cost to Enemalta. Our representations were also reiterated on every occasion when we met the Prime Minister, where we held our view that the term ‘stability in prices’ needed to be redefined with the new, lower level of international prices. To this end, we called for a structure of bands whereby energy prices are reflective of material changes in the price of oil but without necessitating change in energy prices with minimal changes in oil prices.


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Foreword by the President

Further meetings with Enemalta were lined up at the time of writing and we are confident that our proposals will be considered positively in the coming weeks. Knowledge Transfer Partnerships Throughout its representations, the Chamber argued consistently that competitiveness was not solely a function of costs but also of the country’s ability to innovate and create higher value. To this end,

we embarked on the pioneering of a project which seeks to establish a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) project in conjunction with the University of Malta, MCAST and Malta Enterprise. The purpose of this is to provide a match-making structure between businesses and academics for the purposes of applied research of a commercial nature. Apart from this, the project for which public funding support has been requested is also intended to offer follow-up ancillary services such as sign-posting to sources of funding and guidance on the protection of intellectual property rights. Our Chamber


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Foreword by the President Overseas Representations As part of our representation work overseas, I joined state visits to Albania and Algeria as well as trade missions to Milan EXPO and company missions jointly or solely organised by our Chamber to Istanbul and Moscow respectively. I am grateful to fellow members who covered business delegations to other important business destinations including the Middle East. Besides, as part of my duties as President, I represented our Chamber at important BusinessEurope Council of Presidents meetings held in Vilnius, Lithuania. Furthermore, we have kept regular contact with the majority of foreign ambassadors accredited to Malta.

Malta Chamber Foundation and Projects Over the period under review, the Malta Chamber Foundation, which was set up in 2012, experienced a period of transition mainly due to the changeover between EU funding periods. The remit of the Foundation was recently re-dimensioned to focus on identifying relevant EU funding opportunities in line with the requirements of Malta Chamber members. Moreover, within the overall objective of strengthening the financial long-term sustainability, this year we initiated a process of rationalising the Chamber’s investments in immovable property in order to ascertain a better return of revenue.

Conclusion It gives me great pleasure to report the above summary of our extensive work undertaken since March last year. I would like to emphasise that the achievements recorded in the last 12 months were largely a team effort made by my colleagues on the Board of Management, Council and permanent staff. I can certainly vouch for the selfless attitude adopted by all in dedicating precious time and effort towards ensuring a prosperous economy for Malta and a favourable business environment for our members. As stated above, the profile of the Malta Chamber is ever increasing and I look forward to another year of hard endeavour, leading the Malta Chamber to further success for the benefit of our members. AR

successfully garnered the support of all the social partners as well as the Minister of Finance following a presentation it delivered at a special MCESD meeting called at our request prior to the last Budget. This meeting was followed up by a visit to the University laboratories in which MCESD representatives were given the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the forms of research carried out in the various faculties.


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Director General Report

Kevin J. Borg As Director-General, it is my pleasure to summarise the Malta Chamber’s major achievements this year.

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Director General Report During the 12 months under review, my work and that of our 18-strong team was characterised by a continuous process of change as the Chamber prepared to embark on some new and ambitious ventures. As a result, certain projects were either rolled out in 2015 while others are being prepared for launch in 2016. These exciting projects are aimed at ensuring that our 168-year-old organisation remains ahead of the times, and in so doing, continues to provide relevant services to the Maltese business community.

Enterprise Europe Network Of particular reference in this regard is the launch of Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) services to members in mid-2015. This development became possible after the Chamber put together a consortium of strong stakeholders in the field of business support services in 2014, and the consortium was successful in a competitive bid to become an active member of the Enterprise Europe Network until the year 2020. This network, which is widely referred to as EEN, specifically supports enterprises in growing, creating jobs and connecting to other potential business partners. EEN is a single, coherent and collaborative European network organised at regional level and consists of consortia of host organisations established in all regions of the European Union and other countries – totaling around 54 countries – participating in the EU programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) running from 2015 to 2020 with a planned budget of €2.3 billion. Its primary target audience is European small and medium-sized businesses interested in carrying out international activities and/or engaging in innovation. The Chamber’s participation in the EEN project necessitated a reorganisation of our internal structures to ensure that the aims and objectives of EEN and the Internationalisation Desk were aligned and mutually reinforcing. Since its early days, this plan started off with such an encouraging start that during the initial six months, we have managed to provide value added support to a considerable number of members, as well as others who agreed to become members following new relationships that EEN created.

New Digital Platform At the time of writing, the Malta Chamber was conducting final preparations for the launch of a new, digital platform in conjunction with two collaborating partners each from the media and digital spheres. The platform will encompass three separately branded digital products which will enable the Chamber to widen its appeal and expand its business-to-business reach. The first will transform the Malta Chamber’s current website into a brand new, full-blown business portal, which will be the first of its kind in Malta. The function of the current site will be included as a section within the new business portal, but for the first time, the website will include regularly updated local and foreign news as well as widgets and content useful to the businessperson. The second project will revamp and strengthen Chamberlink, which will be open for static banner advertising for the first time since its inception. Meanwhile, the final project will signify the return of the official Malta Chamber business-to-business directory on an online platform, and will provide a free basic listing to all Chamber members.


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Director General Report These initiatives will continue and extend the success story which the Chamber and our media partners, Content House Ltd, established in print format with The Commercial Courier magazine. In terms of The Commercial Courier, a special edition publication was launched in December focusing on the major business, economic and financial issues and analyses in 2016, with comments and contributions from leading protagonists including political and business leaders. Following the success of this first publication, we intend to replicate it on an annual basis. In line with its digital focus, this year our Chamber invited internationally renowned entrepreneur and business advisor Reinhold Karner to address our members on two separate occasions, in which he explained how digital connections are changing the way businesses are run, and how we currently are at the brink of a new industrial revolution – economy 4.0. These highly successful events proved their purpose, providing meaningful insights into how the digital revolution is altering the world, and with it, the way we are accustomed to doing business, the way in which economies around the world are growing and the catalysts bringing about these changes.

Policy and Consultation Away from the business development initiatives outlined above, the Malta Chamber and our research team was active in providing meaningful feedback and advice on a number of subjects of prime economic interest. In fact, during the period under review, I oversaw the formulation of a number of policy positions adopted by the Malta Chamber and our autonomous groupings. The position papers include those pertaining to the pre- and post-Budget consultation process; the National Reform Programme and the European Commission’s Country Specific Recommendations for Malta; energy tariffs; mitigating for pressures on the competitiveness of Malta’s manufacturing sector; abuse in free movement of goods; the Eco-Contribution reform; the Strategic Plan for Environment and Development; pension reform; new public procurement procedures; labour market issues including employment quotas for persons with disability; as well as tourism strategy. This year, the Malta Chamber continued to express its opinions on these and other matters within local and international media, with regular press releases, opinion pieces, and where necessary, comments for television and radio, as well as participation on television and radio current affairs programmes. A number of high-profile events were also organised on several of the above-mentioned policy areas for the benefit of members as well as to give due exposure to the research undertaken in-house. Highlights included ‘The Impact of TTIP in Malta: Benefits and Challenges’; ‘EU Industrial Policy: Does a one-size-fits-all approach work?’; ‘Retail Industry – Changing the Paradigm?’; ‘Public Procurement – Towards Simplification and Improved Quality Standards’; ‘Limiting the Use of Cash with the Introduction of the 4th Directive on Anti-Money Laundering’; ‘Eco-tourism – the way forward for Malta?’; ‘ISO 9001:2015 – What are the Changes?’; and ‘Is Your SME

Ready to Succeed?’. In addition, the Malta Chamber organised regular dialogue sessions for members with the Prime Minister and Cabinet Ministers in which participants were given the opportunity to discuss matters of interest within their sector or business with the country’s policy makers.

Administration In light of the developments highlighted above, a re-organisation in the duties of some permanent staff needed to be implemented over the past months. The responsibilities for the EEN project were separated from the Sectors Department, to ensure a strengthened focus on the Chamber’s core functions which are represented by its Economic Groups and Business Sections. To this end, Anton Spiteri was recruited to assume the Sectors Headship position. On the other hand, Lino Mintoff filled a new Headship position which was created to take responsibility of Projects and Internationalisation. The latter initiative was taken to ensure better synchronisation between the EEN project and the Chamber’s Internationalisation efforts, which are both intended to bring foreign markets closer to the local business community. In the period under review, a specialised consultant was also recruited to assist in the marketing of the Chamber’s examination services. This process of re-organisation was supplemented by specialised training for executive staff in the field of EEN services, innovation management and strategy, and effective sales techniques. Highprofile lecturers from the international business consultancy firm A. T. Kearney were made available for this purpose via EEN and the European Commission’s initiative towards the enhancement of SMEs’ innovation capabilities. It is also pertinent to mention that the Malta Chamber classified successfully in the ISO 9001 (2008) Quality Management Standard for the organisation, received a prestigious award from ASCAME for its contribution towards cross-Mediterranean Business cooperation and was once again awarded a prize in the National Enterprise Support Awards – this year for its Corporate Social Responsibility project.

Conclusion I invite you to read our comprehensive Administrative Report for a more detailed account of the work covered by the Chamber over the past 12 months. In conclusion, I thank all my colleagues at the Malta Chamber for their dedication and teamwork. With the guidance of the Board of Management, Council, Economic Groups and Committees, I look forward to another year of service to the business community and the successful implementation of the 2016/7 work plan we formulated and set out to achieve. AR


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Council of the Malta Chamber 2015-2016

Board of Management

Members

Past Presidents

Mr Anton Borg, President Mr Frank V. Farrugia, Deputy President Mr Tonio Casapinta, Vice President Mr Martin Borg Mr Sergio Vella Mr David Xuereb

Mr Hugh Arrigo Mr Norman Aquilina Ms Liz Barbaro Sant Mr Matthias Fauser Mr Reginald Fava Mr Andrew W.J. Mamo Mr Joseph Pace Mr Mario Spiteri Mr Matthew Sullivan Mr Chris Vassallo Cesareo Ms Marisa Xuereb Mr Nicholas Xuereb Mr Charles A. Zahra

Mr Louis Apap-Bologna Chev. Baron Adrian Busietta Mr David G. Curmi Mr Joseph R. Darmanin Mr Anthony S. Diacono Ms Helga Ellul Mr Louis A. Farrugia Mr Martin Galea Mr Victor A. Galea Mr Francis T. Gera Mr Stefano Mallia Mr John E. Sullivan Mr Joseph N. Tabone Mr Tancred Tabone Hon. Legal Advisor: Dr Hugh Peralta Hon. Architect: Mr Stephen Mangion Hon. Chaplain: Fr Thomas Moore


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Economic Groups Executive Committee Members Importers, Distributors and Retailers Economic Group Mr Andrew W.J. Mamo, Chairman Mr Christopher Vassallo Cesareo, Deputy Chairman Mr Charles A. Zahra, Vice Chairman Mr Frank V. Farrugia Mr Reginald Fava Mr Martin Borg

Manufacturers and Other Industries Economic Group Mr Norman Aquilina, Chairman Mr Matthias Fauser, Deputy Chairman Mr Joseph Pace, Vice Chairman Mr Sergio Vella Ms Marisa Xuereb Mr Nicholas Xuereb Mr Joseph Cortis (co-opted member) Mr Brian Muscat (co-opted member) Mr William Wait (co-opted member)

Services Providers Economic Group Mr Mario Spiteri, Chairman Mr Hugh Arrigo, Deputy Chairman Mr Matthew E. Sullivan, Vice Chairman Ms Liz Barbaro Sant Mr Tonio Casapinta Mr David Xuereb

Malta Chamber Executive Staff Mr Kevin J. Borg, Director General Mr Andre Fenech, Head – Policy Development Mr Lino Mintoff, Head – Projects and Internationalisation Mr John B. Scicluna, Head – Quality and Administration Mr Anton Spiteri, Head – Sectors Mr Edward Bonello, Manager – Communications Ms Johanna Calleja, Manager – Statutory Affairs and Administration Mr Klaus Pedersen, Manager – Internationalisation (seconded to Trade Malta) Ms Rachel Bartolo, Executive – Sectors Ms Lina El Nahhal, Executive – Internationalisation Mr Nigel Mifsud, Executive – Policy Ms Claire Rizzo, Executive Assistant to President and Director General Ms Elena Scicluna, Executive – Education Mr Anthony Tanti, Examinations Clerk Ms Bernice Azzopardi, Support Secretary Ms Cheryl Cardona, Coordinator – Front Office Mr Joseph Fenech, Support Staff Mr Charles Maione, Support Staff


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Events Highlights 1

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MARCH 2015: 1-3. Annual General Meeting 4-5. Malta Chamber holds event on TTIP in collaboration with EESC APRIL 2015: 6. Meeting with Minister for Finance Edward Scicluna 7. Electronics Industry Standards Course held at the Chamber


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Events Highlights 8

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APRIL 2015: 8-9. Newly elected Malta Chamber officials visit the President of Malta. Photo Credit: DOI - Reuben Piscopo 10. Launch of Maltese Turkish Business Council 11. Visit to Oman MAY 2015: 12-13. MEP Miriam Dalli holds event at the Malta Chamber on Boosting Youth Entrepreneurship 14. Tunisian delegation visits the Malta Chamber

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MAY 2015: 15. Information session for members on new regulations on ISO 9001 JUNE 2015: 16. Board Of Management Meeting with the Leader of the Opposition Simon Busuttil 17. Delegation from the Qatari Businessmen Association visits Malta Chamber 18. HSBC renews its support of the Malta Chamber 19. Malta Chamber chairs MEUSAC conference as part of European Year of Development 20. Reinhold Karner delivers lecture to members on Economy 4.0 21. Meeting with the Archbishop of Malta Mons Charles Scicluna at the Curia

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Events Highlights 22

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JULY 2015: 22. Event on Business Opportunities in the MENA region 23. Info session to members on EEN 24. Information session for members on new regulations related to Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment 25. Meeting with Minister Leo Brincat. Photo Credit: DOI - Reuben Piscopo 26. Presentation to members from MIP 27. President Anton Borg participates in launch of document about Youth Entrepreneurship by MEP Miriam Dalli. Photo Credit: DOI - Jeremy Wonnacott AUGUST 2015: 28. Malta Chamber and Junior Achievement – Young Enterprise sign collaboration agreement

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Events Highlights 29

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AUGUST 2015: 29. Deputy President Frank V. Farrugia opens information session for members about changes to Maternity Leave laws 30. Vice President Tonio Casapinta addresses Maritime Silk Road event SEPTEMBER 2015: 31. Din l-Art Helwa holds round table event at Malta Chamber 32-35. Malta Chamber participates in Trade Malta business delegation to Istanbul with the support of the Maltese Turkish Business Council 36. Malta Chamber President Anton Borg meets Ghana High Commissioner 37. Meeting with Moroccan Ambassador in Rome

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Events Highlights 38

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SEPTEMBER 2015: 38. Tonio Caspinta meets Minister Counsellor of Canada in Rome 39-44. Malta Chamber summer drinks held at the President’s private garden at San Anton Palace OCTOBER 2015: 45. Members given insight on proposed amendments to Public Procurement legislation 46. Visit to Brussels by the Middle East Business Council

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Events Highlights 47

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OCTOBER 2015: 47-48. ‘Opportunities in Eco Tourism need to be identified, seized and explored further’ 49. Malta Chamber executive staff participate in Pink October initiative 5052. Malta Chamber leads business delegation to Moscow, Russia 53. ‘Retail Industry: Changing the Paradigm’

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NOVEMBER 2015: 54. Malta Chamber on Algeria business delegation 55. Malta Chamber receives Award from ASCAME 5657. Doing business with Japan. Photo Credit: DOI - Omar Camilleri 58-60. Opening of The Royal Family: an exhibition of fine china at the Malta Chamber. Photo Credit: Ian Noel Pace 61. Malta Chamber President Anton Borg addresses CHOGM Business Forum

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NOVEMBER 2015: 62-63. EESC and Malta Chamber hold conference on European Industrial Policy in Malta DECEMBER 2015: 64. Council Meeting with Leader of the Opposition 65. President meets H.E. Chryssoula Karykpoulou-Vlavianou, Ambassador of Greece to Malta 66. The Malta Chamber follows up established contacts in Oman 67-69. President’s Annual Reception 2015

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JANUARY 2016: 70-72. Malta Chamber hosts the Prime Minister in annual dinner 73. Mr Reinhold Karner addresses the second Marketing Forum organised by the Marketing Committee 74. Malta Chamber members voice concerns with the Prime Minister 75-76. Meetings with Ambassadors of Belarus and Ethiopia FEBRUARY 2016: 77. Manufacturing and Other Industries Economic Group holds a meeting with MEP Alfred Sant

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The malTa chamber of commerce, enTerprise and indusTry AnnuAL ADMInISTRATIvE REPORT 2015/16

Policy Positions 2015-2016

During the year under review, the Malta Chamber was actively involved in formulating a number of position papers and documents. Tourism Strategy Between January and February, the Malta Chamber actively provided feedback to the Government’s national tourism policy for the years 2015-2020. The Chamber consulted its Tourism Business Section and broader membership in order to incorporate the feedback in its submissions. The Government’s policy was mainly guided by three principles, namely (1) Managing visitor numbers, (2) Raising the level of quality, and (3) Reducing seasonality. The Chamber agreed with these principles as they are directly interlinked. The Chamber’s feedback focused specifically on the level of quality across the tourism value chain. This principle closely mirrored one of the recommendations made by the Malta Chamber in its Economic Vision for 2014-2020, whereby it advocated quality and the adoption of a ‘nothing but the best’ mentality across the economy. The Chamber also spoke of the need to attract higher-end tourists which would require significant

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Policy Positions 2015-2016 product improvements leading to the highest standards in the general environment, transport, logistics and general amenities, among others. The Chamber also spoke in great detail of the need for improving our human resources through training and retraining, and for the need adapting to the new developments in the sectors through e-tourism and independent travelling. The Malta Chamber also held a meeting with the Minister for Tourism Edward Zammit Lewis in order to present its submissions. The delegation was led by the Chamber President who was accompanied by members of the Board of Management and representatives of the Tourism Business Section.

National Reform Programme The Malta Chamber participated in the annual consultation meetings to discuss the country’s submissions to the European Commission in relation to the formulation of the Country Specific Recommendations (CSRs). Two meetings were held this year at MCESD level to discuss Malta’s National Reform Programme (NRP) with the Minister of Finance. The Chamber’s submissions focused specifically on fiscal policy and the long-term sustainability of public finance, labour market and skills, resource efficiency and the general business environment. The Chamber’s assessment also noted a number of areas which require further attention, namely the general business environment competitiveness which remains hampered by structural challenges, lack of innovation and rigid labour laws. The Chamber also pointed out that the Commission’s staff working document had reported that investment had remained muted despite the favourable economic conditions and that fiscal evasion was not being addressed in a timely manner. The Chamber insisted that in its Economic Vision 2014-2020 and subsequent pronouncements, it had pointed to the need for these matters, among others, to be addressed without further delay and would be willing to assist and cooperate with the administration to achieve a better business environment and overall betterfunctioning economy.

EIRA Proposals The Malta Chamber, through its Human Resources Committee and assistance of Dr Matthew Brincat, prepared an extensive report about amendments to the Employment and Industrial Relations Act (EIRA). The Chamber’s feedback was collated mainly through a number of focused sessions in which HR committee members and other HR managers/practitioners representing all segments of the economy

were present and gave their feedback. Issues raised included, among others, industrial action, trade union recognition, redundancy, sick leave, payment for work of equal value, the composition and operation of the Industrial Tribunal and probationary period. The document was submitted to the Ministry for Social Dialogue, Consumer Affairs and Civil Liberties and the Employment Relations Board (ERB). At the time of writing discussions were ongoing between all employers’ organisations to formulate one position paper to present at ERB level.

Removal of Eco-Contribution on EEE and Implementation of the WEEE Directive The Malta Chamber, through its Energy and Environment Committee, was instrumental in lobbying extensively with the authorities and achieving the complete removal of Eco-Contribution on Electrical and Electronic Equipment (EEE) in favour of companies joining an authorised scheme or declaring self-compliance. This change was enacted on 1st September 2015. The Malta Chamber had advocated such a reform since 2007. In its feedback to the authorities, the Chamber noted that the Ministry took heed of its past proposals to remove eco-contribution on WEEE related products in order to encourage companies to take on their obligations in accordance with the producer responsibility principle. The Chamber nevertheless raised a number of issues tied to ‘historical’ waste, enforcement and some amendments in relation to the bank guarantee being proposed by Government on waste schemes and self-compliant companies. The Chamber organised an information session in July to inform its members about the changes being introduced and held a number of meetings with the Minister for Environment Leo Brincat and MEPA officials.

Maternity Leave Trust Fund In its Budget 2015 speech, Government announced a new measure to create a maternity leave trust fund to address concerns related to discrimination based on gender at hiring stage. From the onset the Malta Chamber stated that in principle it was in favour of this system as it was meant to encourage more female participation in the labour market whilst at the same time eliminate any potential discrimination against women at recruitment stage. It had also reported that this approach was common practice in the other EU member states and has been so for a number of decades especially in Scandinavian countries.

I joined the Malta Chamber primarily because I wanted to contribute and support the marketing scene in Malta as a member of the marketing committee. As a member, I want to have an active role because this is how we can drive this organisation in its effectiveness to support industry at large. The marketing committee has already organised a number of events and I am sure there is more to come. I encourage members to voice their opinion and actively participate in Chamber studies and events as this has a ripple effect on our future. Morgan Parnis, CEO, Business Leaders Malta


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Policy Positions 2015-2016 The Chamber nevertheless raised a number of concerns particularly in the case of employers who would be negatively impacted such as those who employ males out of necessity and due to the nature of the job. The Chamber also stated that the employers’ contribution was not set for a foreseeable period and remained liable to increase in the event that the fund was insufficient to cover the full cost of maternity leave in Malta. The Chamber also raised concerns about the backlog that any late introduction of this system could create for IT companies that offer payroll/accounts software to companies due to changes in their systems. Unfortunately the Chamber was proven right as the system was introduced in the last week of July. For this reason the Chamber organised an information session in the first week of August to discuss the implementation of this measure. As a result of the Chamber’s lobbying, agreement was reached to delay the first payment to the trust fund to September. Following this initial stage, the Malta Chamber was asked to be represented on a new Board of Trustees that would manage the new trust fund. John Huber was nominated to represent the Chamber. At the time of writing the Chamber was lobbying with the authorities to issue the relevant application forms without further delay for companies to apply for refunds of their employees’ basic pay during their maternity leave.

Employment of People with Disability Over the course of 2015, the Government introduced a measure to integrate people with disability in the labour market by enforcing the 1969 law through a system of labour market active incentives and contributions by those companies that do not reach the minimum quota prescribed by law. The Chamber argued that the measure had been introduced without prior consultation and that there existed challenges which required further discussion. These challenges included the unclear definition of a person with disability, clarification of which register/database of persons with disability will be used and that no discrimination between registered and non-registered disabled persons would apply. Further to this, the Malta Chamber proposed amendments to the Data Protection Act in order to inform employers on whether their employees are registered as disabled; this information is currently not available. The Malta Chamber also proposed the creation of a database which matches the skills and abilities of those who are registered as unemployed with the vacancies or jobs that the private sector can provide. The Chamber also stated that this measure should not be regarded as merely a way to reduce the rate of unemployment amongst people with disability but as a measure to offer quality stable jobs through which the people employed can truly contribute to the economy. Following various consultations with the relevant stakeholders, the Malta Chamber, in coordination with the Malta Employers Association and the Employment Training Corporation, reached an agreement to discuss the formulation of a Memorandum of Understanding to address all the challenges that remain in order to properly implement the measures. At the time of writing discussions were still ongoing.

Pensions Strategy The Malta Chamber participated actively in the consultation launched by the Government’s Pensions Strategy Group to review our pension system. The Chamber welcomed the publication of the consultation document entitled ‘Strengthening the Pension System: A strategy for an adequate and sustainable Maltese pension system’. The Chamber maintained that discussion on this subject should remain alive and prioritised by any administration given that it affects the economy in terms of the sustainability of public finances as well as national competitiveness. The Chamber’s views on the Consultation Document were generally positive particularly in view of the fact that, despite very limited room for manoeuvrability, it did not seem to create any shocks to the economy. Indeed, no increases were being contemplated in retirement age or in social security contributions for both employer and employee. Reference was made to equity release mechanisms for pensioners who were asset rich but limited in cash and the Chamber called for these schemes to become better regulated. The Chamber clarified its position on Second Pillar pensions stating that their introduction must not be contemplated unless it is preceded by a blueprint with clear timeframes and other relevant information in order to ensure that business is in a position to plan adequately. The Chamber did not believe that this is the right time for creating additional burdens for the business community also because Third Pillar pensions had only recently been introduced with very limited tax incentives and the benefits of such schemes have not yet materialised. Above all, the Chamber continued to insist that the sustainability of pensions be approached via enhancing national competitiveness and promoting economic growth. This approach promises more and higher value-added jobs for Malta’s workforce which is conducive to rendering the pensions system more sustainable.

Pre-Budget Proposals As part of the consultation process relating to the2016 Budget, the Chamber called on Government to reduce energy tariffs for all businesses in view of changing circumstances since the reduction of 25 per cent was first announced in 2013. The Malta Chamber also called on Government to refrain from surprising businesses with shock-measures announced in the Budget speech, as was the case in 2014 with the introduction of excise duties on wine and pneumatic tyres. The Chamber added that measures which were introduced haphazardly and without any prior consultation clearly disrupt business activity and bring momentum to a halt in the respective sectors. The Malta Chamber therefore called for a proper implementation plan and the necessary legislative backing for every measure proposed.


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Policy Positions 2015-2016 The Malta Chamber also gave priority to RTDI which is seen as one of the foremost pillars upon which any country’s lasting economic growth rests. The Chamber argued that RTDI can provide the competitive edge which is not related to operating costs. The Malta Chamber called for the establishment of an Innovation, Research and Development Strategy for start-ups that would provide a vital avenue that leads to improved long-term competitiveness and enhanced business growth. The availability of a proper and sustainable infrastructure in research and innovation (R&I) provides the Maltese industry with a better chance of building and retaining a more resilient and competitive position. The pre-budget proposals were presented to the Ministry of Finance and the MCESD.

Energy Tariffs As part of the consultation process leading to the 2016 Budget, the Manufacturing Economic Group put forward a number of concrete recommendations that may lead to an effective decrease in the cost of energy for businesses. These recommendations included, among others, a modification of the existing night tariff system to a peak/ off-peak system coupled with a significant reduction in the eligibility threshold, a bulk buying arrangement for industrial estates, the possibility for companies to purchase energy supply from the most cost-effective source in light of the improved energy mix, as well as further incentives for investment in renewable sources of energy, more energy-efficient equipment and machinery, and discounts for cash payments. The above suggestions were discussed at length with the Prime Minister, Minister Konrad Mizzi, Minister Christian Cardona and Enemalta’s CEO Frederick Azzopardi during separate meetings in the run up to the Budget 2016 Speech. Despite all efforts and despite the fact that the Budget did not address energy tariffs for businesses, the Chamber remained confident that the groundwork achieved through these efforts by way of its concrete proposals will lead to concrete results in the near future as hinted by the authorities.

Budget 2016 Reactions In its reactions to the 2016 Budget, the Malta Chamber noted the underlying priorities of the Budget speech, namely fiscal consolidation, strong economic growth and better living standards for all. These priorities were similar to the objectives the Chamber itself proposed during its active participation in the Budget’s consultation process. The Chamber had also advocated further progress in fiscal consolidation and national competitiveness. The Chamber noted that the 2016 Budget continued to build on the previous year’s efforts in a number of areas including income support for low and middle-income earners and pensioners, further investment in human resources, environmental initiatives and the real estate sector. The Malta Chamber noted its disappointment in that there were

no measures to address the further lowering of energy tariffs for business, which was the Chamber’s prime recommendation prior to the 2016 Budget. In terms of competitiveness, the Chamber was also disappointed to note that little or no mention was made of the proposals made by the Chamber in the field of Research, Technology, Development and Innovation (RTDI). AR

Relations with Diplomatic Corps Date Country Ambassador/Honorary Consul 12 March 2015 Mongolia Erdenedalai Odkhuu, Candidate for Honorary Consul in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia 13 April 2015 Congo Jerome E. Ompen, Candidate for Honorary Consul of Malta in Congo 20 April 2015 Morocco H.E. Hassan Abouioub, Ambassador of Morocco in Rome 5 May 2015 Algeria H.E. Mohamed Mellah, Ambassador of Algeria in Rome 14 May 2015 Austria Martin Ramusch, Candidate for Honorary Consul in Klagenfur, Austria 1 June 2015 Moldova Dr Adrian Hotineanu, Candidate for Honorary Consul of Malta in Moldova 11 June 2015 Ireland Joanna Pisani, Chargé d’Affaires to Malta in Ireland 30 June 2015 Poland H.E. Jolanta Janek, Ambassador of Poland in Rome 17 July 2015 USA Christopher Hyland, Candidate for Honorary Consul in Rhode Island 20 July 2015 Pakistan Ahmad Aziz, Representative of Malta in Pakistan 6 August 2015 USA Sean Murphy, Candidate for Honorary Consul in Denver, Colorado 3 September 2015 Ghana H.E. Kenneth E. K. Tachie, High Commissioner to Ghana 14 September 2015 Canada Jan Scazighino, Minister Counsellor Commercial-Economic at the High Commission of Canada to Malta 16 September 2015 The Netherlands Eric De Haan, Candidate for Honorary Consul in Flevoland, Netherlands 12 October 2015 France H.E. Béatrice Le Fraper Du Hellen, Ambassador of France in Malta 14 October 2015 Germany H.E Gudrun Maria Sraga, Ambassador of Germany in Malta 15 October 2015 Oman H.E. Ahmed bin Salim bin Mohamed Boamar, Omani non-resident Ambassador to Malta 15 October 2015 Slovakia H.E. Jan Šoth, Ambassador of Slovakia in Rome 19 October 2015 Spain H.E. José María Pons Irazazábal, Ambassador of Spain in Malta 5 November 2015 Sri Lanka H.E. Daya Pelpola, High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to Malta 16 November 2015 Turkey H.E. Reha Keskintepe, Ambassador of Turkey in Malta 1 December 2015 India H.E. Stephen Borg, Prospective High Commissioner of Malta in India 4 December 2015 Estonia Keiu Saral, Ambassador of Estonia in Rome 16 December 2015 Greece H.E. Chryssoula Karykopoulou-Vlavianou, Ambassador of the Hellenic Republic 17 December 2015 Russia Oleg Zaytsev, Candidate for Honorary Consul in Nizhny Novgorod, Volga Federal District in Russia 13 January 2016 Bulgaria Dr Nadezhda Ivanova, Economic and Commercial Counsellor at the Embassy of Bulgaria in Rome 14 January 2016 Belarus H.E. Evgeny Shestakov, Ambassador of Belarus 15 January 2016 Ethiopia H.E. Mulugeta Alemseged Gessese, Ambassador of Ethiopia 29 January 2016 Cuba H.E. Alba Beatriz Soto Pimental, Ambassador of Cuba


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Economic Groups Importers, Distributors and Retailers Economic Group During 2015, the Importers, Distributors and Retailers Executive Board sought to keep members abreast of developments, with guidelines and information concerning various matters. Furthermore, regular meetings were held at the Executive Board level as well as with third parties when necessary. Early in the year, the Executive Board invited the chairpersons of the Business Sections falling within the Economic Group to its meeting. Apart from ensuring an open channel of communication between members and Council the meeting also served as an opportunity for chairpersons to discuss any project or raise any issue in which the Business Section required the assistance of the Executive Board. The main focuses of the discussion were the Eco Contribution Act Regulations, the Waste (Electrical and Electronics Equipment) Regulations, interest rates that banks were charging companies on overdrafts and financing, as well as matters of concern related to the excise taxable industry namely wines, spirits, beverages and tobacco. Later in the year, the Executive Board noted that some members were having various issues with processes or procedures undertaken by the Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority (MCCAA). In light of this the Executive Board sought to gain further insight on the relevant issues that were deemed to be the most important for the members of the Economic Group. The objective of the exercise was to substantiate the Board’s representations made to MCCAA, as the competent authority responsible for competition, market surveillance and consumer affairs, by focusing on the most salient issues that required immediate action or attention. The Board is planning to organise a meeting with MCCAA where it also intends to take the opportunity to enquire on progress or developments in light of the Minister for Finance’s request that MCCAA implements their recommendations within their report on the high interest rates that banks are charging companies on overdrafts and financing. A meeting is expected to be held shortly. In its proposals submitted for inclusion in the Malta Chamber’s preBudget recommendations document in July, the Executive Board pointed out that essentially a number of issues about which the Chamber has been voicing its concern were still not resolved. These include the setting up of a unit similar to Italy’s ‘Guardia di Finanza’, progress in the merging of the Customs, VAT and Inland Revenue Departments, as well as addressing the negative effect of the reduced working hours in Government departments during the summer months. Finally, the Executive Board invited Perit Ivan Bartolo from the Building Industry Consultative Council (BICC) to deliver a presentation regarding the EcoBuild initiative promoting Green Building Technology. The project aims to enable the building industry to adopt green building technologies and to inform the public about the different types of possible building interventions that can be done to achieve energy efficiency in their homes.

The meeting noted that BICC wants to raise awareness among Malta Chamber members of the possibility to use the website developed through this project to promote their products and materials which can be used to reduce energy consumption in buildings or as renewable energy sources which can be integrated in the building fabric.

Healthcare During the year in review the Executive Committee has worked closely with the Pharmacists Pharmacy Owners Business Section and the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Business Section on matters of mutual interest including the new Service Level Agreements on the Pharmacy of Your Choice (POYC) scheme. The Committee held meetings with PRIMA where the topics discussed included the need for collaboration on reimbursement and the need to expand the formulary to include newer, more effective and advanced medicines and therapies. The setting-up of a task force to tackle this issue was discussed. The Chamber also worked closely with PRIMA and other stakeholders in a Task Force set up to prepare for the introduction of the Falsified Medicines Directive. The Executive Committees of the HealthCare Business Section and the Pharmacists Pharmacy Owners Business Section met with H.E the President of Malta on 28th July 2015. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the procurement procedure for medicines financed by the Malta Community Chest Fund. The MCCF was to provide the Chamber with a list of medicines purchased in order to be able to discuss prices with importers. It was agreed that pharmacies would only add a minimal mark-up in order to assist the President in reaching her objectives.

Importers Throughout the year, the Importers Executive Committee continued the work of the outgoing Committee and discussed various issues impacting the sector including online shopping, high bank interest rates and parking problems. The Executive Committee also followed the developments taking place with regards to the Eco Tax reform including the information session that had been organised by the Malta Chamber for all members, with particular relevance to importers or business operators that place electrical or electronic equipment on the market, in July. On the topic of online shopping, the Executive Committee noted that the market is changing and that eCommerce will increase substantially over the coming years. The Executive Committee undertook to initiate discussions during its term with logistic companies, encouraging them to expand their operations to cover logistic services for local importers and retailers investing in eCommerce services in Malta. With the objective to regenerate the interest of the members of the Business Section, the Executive Committee agreed to find innovative ways of reaching out to existing members. To this end, the


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Economic Groups Executive Committee undertook to invite a group of members to every meeting in a bid to increase the level of interaction and communication with the grassroots for feedback and discussion. The initiative was intended to motivate the members to participate and keep abreast of the Executive Committee’s activities and initiatives throughout its term. The Executive Committee also discussed with concern the issue of excessive interest rates that banks were charging companies on overdrafts and financing. The Executive Committee felt that while larger companies were in a good position to negotiate preferential rates individually with their respective banks, smaller operators were the ones being most impacted by the situation. In light of this, the Executive Committee noted the reports concluded by the MCCAA investigating the local banking sector, and requested the assistance of the Importers, Distributors and Retailers Executive Board to address the matter. The Importers, Distributors and Retailers Executive Board undertook to raise the matter during a meeting planned with MCCAA during which a number of other issues raised by members would be discussed. Finally, the Executive Committee noted that evidence seems to indicate that the number of reserved parking and yellow spaces in Valletta have increased substantially, resulting in less parking available for potential customers. The Executive Committee is studying the issue after which, relevant action will be taken as necessary.

Pharmacists and Pharmacy Owners During the course of 2015 the Executive Committee held four Committee meetings and one meeting to provide general information to all section members. A meeting was held with Konrad Mizzi, Minister for Energy and Health, Chris Fearne, Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Mike Farrugia, Consultant to the Prime Minister on the Pharmacy of Your Choice (POYC). Together with the HealthCare Business Section it held a meeting with H.E. Marie Louise Coleiro Preca, President of Malta. The Executive Committee also met with Justyne Caruana, Parliamentary Secretary for Rights of Persons with Disability and Active Ageing, with the Medicines Authority and with representatives from CareMalta. Pharmacy of Your Choice The Committee’s main emphasis has been the Pharmacy Of Your Choice scheme. A new Service Level Agreement has been signed

with the Malta Chamber of Pharmacists and the GRTU regarding the delivery of medicines by pharmacists to the homes of patients aged over 70 or with special needs. The domiciliary delivery of medicines to patients was discussed in extensive detail with the Medicines Authority. A pilot project is under way. A second Service Level Agreement is still being negotiated with the Malta Chamber’s three Business Sections involved in medicines. This provides for a new system dealing with procurement, whereby wholesalers, who had been awarded the Government tender, would deliver POYC medicines directly to pharmacists by-passing the Central Procurement and Supplies Unit. The meetings with Minister Caruana and CareMalta were held to discuss the POYC system as it served persons in care homes. Opening Hours of Community Pharmacies on Sundays and Public Holidays The Executive Committee discussed the consultation document prepared by the Medicines Authority on opening hours of community pharmacies. The Executive Committee was in agreement with the proposed extension of opening hours on Sundays and public holidays. This was one of the proposals presented to the Authority by the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee also discussed a proposal for a complete reorganisation of the areas within which pharmacies must remain open strictly according to a roster.

Wines and Spirits, Beverages and Tobacco The main concerns of the Wines, Spirits, Beverages & Tobacco Executive Committee during the year in review were excise duties on wines, spirits, beverages and tobacco, market surveillance and declarations of imports under groupage cargo. In June, the Executive Committee held a meeting with the Customs Department to discuss the implementation and enforcement of the Budget measure post May 2015. The meeting discussed the application of the excise duty that had been introduced on wines post May. During the meeting, the Customs representatives also proposed to have a contact person within the Chamber to pass on to Customs any information received from operators, in relation to illicit trading and abuse in the market vis-à-vis excisable products in the market. Further to the proposal made by Customs, the Malta Chamber, on behalf of the Executive Committee, wrote a letter to Customs

Our company’s association with the Malta Chamber goes back many years. We strongly believe in the institution and what it stands for. It serves as a meeting of minds, where movers and shakers in the nation’s economy take a step back and focus their energy on the macro rather than purely concentrating on their specific business interests. Discussions at the Chamber are fertile ground for creative thought and constructive critique. Financial services is a fast growing pillar of Malta’s economy and the Chamber is a natural home to ensure close interaction with other economic sectors Julian J Mamo, Managing Director, GasanMamo Insurance Ltd


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Economic Groups asking them to submit to the Chamber a concrete proposal on how they plan to take forward and implement the initiative. The discussions on the matter have been ongoing. Later in the year, the Committee was informed of new Customs procedures relating to declarations of imports of products which are subject to excise duty imported as groupage cargo. Due to changes in excise duty rates including on new products, the Customs Department had instructed shipping agents to declare, prior to entry into Malta, all those shipments containing products that are subject to excise tax. Failing to follow this new procedure has been identified as an offence in terms of the Customs Ordinance, punishable at law, and may also lead to the seizure of the goods being transported. In light of this, the Executive Committee sought clarification on behalf of the members as to whether the seizure of goods being transported refers only to the undeclared excisable goods – the whole consignment belonging to the offending importer – or whether it referred to all goods being imported in the groupage trailer/container. The Executive Committee has resolved to continue following up on its efforts to address the identified concerns as well as others including the issue of VAT on excisable goods which becomes immediately due upon the placement of goods on the market. The Executive Committee has been recommending that VAT on excisable goods becomes due, as on all other products, on point of sale rather than on point of entry. The Executive Committee intends to make the necessary representations to address the issue with the relevant authorities for the benefit of its members and the sector.

Manufacturers and Other Industries Economic Group The work plan structured by the Manufacturing and Other Industries Executive Board aims to safeguard and promote the competitiveness of the manufacturing industry by focusing on two main pillars: Awareness Building and Policy and Representation. Throughout 2015 the Executive Board has rigorously mobilised influential policy makers and stakeholders in its efforts to generate awareness of the sector’s vital role and the issues seen as causing an overall loss in competitiveness, while also structuring and advocating viable and effective blueprints of policies, recommendations and compensatory measures to Government ministries, departments, agencies and stakeholders, as well as numerous supranational and pan-European fora and organisations. The tangible actions found in the work plan of the Manufacturing Economic Group for 2015-2017 include: · Following up on the implementation of the tangible recommendations set out by the Chamber’s Industrial Policy for Malta document launched in 2014; · The setting up of an ‘Industry Priorities Task Group’ between Chamber and Malta Enterprise to discuss immediate investment support possibilities; · Commissioning a study to identify a more efficient and effective maritime transportation framework;

· Commissioning a study on the need for investment incentives to mitigate the pressures on the competitiveness of the manufacturing industries in small and remote island states; · Continuous representation to the authorities to focus on reducing energy costs for businesses and other reactive issues.

Awareness Building National Conference – Does a one-size-fits-all Industrial Policy approach work? A conference titled ‘EU Industrial Policy – Does a one-size-fits-all approach work?’ was organised by the Malta Chamber in collaboration with the European Economic and Social Committee (Employers’ Group) on 30th November 2015 at the Simonds Farsons Cisk Brewery in Mriehel. The conference exposed a large number of EESC representatives to the genuine predicament being experienced by operators within the Maltese manufacturing industry. In his opening address Malta Chamber President Anton Borg explained how the further exacerbation of Malta’s limited cost advantages coupled with the recent developments that bar the country from using State Aid compensatory measures are leading to further investment losses and further deterioration in competitiveness. In his keynote address, Norman Aquilina appealed to the European Commission to understand and reflect on the declining competitiveness of remote island states in its review of the State Aid Regulations taking place in 2018, explaining how permanent compensatory measures must be allowed in order to overcome permanent geographical limitations and emphasised the need for a more in-depth analysis of the role of Investment Incentives in mitigating competitiveness pressures arising from unique characteristics of peripheral regions and states of the European Union. Dialogue with key policy makers The Executive Board maintained a constant dialogue with the country’s key policy makers, both to ensure awareness of the sector’s issues as well as to make certain that manufacturing is constantly present and at the forefront of the country’s agenda. Members of the Executive Board held or attended numerous meetings with the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition, Minister Konrad Mizzi, Minister Christian Cardona and Minister Louis Grech among others, during which urgent reactive issues were discussed and resolved, and policy recommendations were proposed and negotiated. Maintaining a constant high level of exposure with key policy makers and decision takers is of paramount importance for the Executive Board to achieve its aims of promoting and safeguarding the competitiveness of Malta’s manufacturing sector.


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Policy and Representation Malta Industrial Parks During the last quarter of 2014, members of the Manufacturing Economic Group expressed notable concerns about Malta Industrial Parks and the future of service charge policy and factory rent policy. The Chamber also grew concerned over the implementation of the Memoranda of Understanding as a number of issues regarding MIP’s change in direction and policies arose. The Executive Board decided that solid efforts needed to be made to renew a strong line of communication and collaboration between the two organisations, in the light of MIP’s vital role in ensuring the success of Malta’s manufacturing industry. Representation on Malta Industrial Park’s Board of Directors During discussions with Minister Christian Cardona, the Executive Board explained how certain policies implemented by Malta Industrial Parks served as obstacles for the manufacturing industry, thus leading the Chamber to question MIP’s core ethos. The Group also noted the lack of representation of the local manufacturing industry on MIP’s board of directors, leading to the formal submission of a request for representation. Sergio Vella, a member of the Economic Group as well as of the Board of Management, was appointed to MIP’s board of directors in October 2015. The Malta Chamber trusts that this appointment will serve to ensure that MIP’s operations will indeed

focus on providing support and adequate infrastructure for the tenants of industrial estates. Memorandum of Understanding Subsequently, discussions also took place between the Chamber and MIP regarding concerns over the implementation of the Memoranda of Understanding signed in 2012. The discussions proved fruitful, resulting in an agreement to settle on a new Memorandum of Understanding that would transform the way industrial parks are managed and maintained in a manner that is mutually beneficial to MIP and, most importantly for the Malta Chamber, to the existing and future industrial estate tenants. During this process, Joshua Zammit, CEO of Malta Industrial Parks, addressed members on 28th July 2015 and presented updates to MIP’s core policies as well as proposed a way forward on the upkeep and management of industrial parks. Members seized the opportunity to discuss their concerns regarding certain elements of MIP’s existing policies and Mr Zammit concluded the event by informing members that the contents of his presentation would serve as the basis for the new MOU between the Chamber and MIP. The Executive Board embarked on a process to evaluate, discuss and negotiate the document to ensure the maximum benefit for all interested parties. At its core, the new Memorandum of Understanding sets out a process of devolution of the


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Economic Groups maintenance responsibilities for common areas in industrial estates. The document states that by the third quarter of the preceding year, MIP and the Tenants’ Associations shall meet and decide on a programme of works and budget to be carried out in the following year. The budget will in future be financed by MIP while expenditure in excess of the agreed budget will be financed through other means as decided by the association and in agreement with MIP. For this reason, the service charge clause in existing and new tenancy contracts will remain. Capital expenditure with respect to the infrastructure of the Park shall be incurred by MIP while the associations shall only be responsible for the administration and maintenance of the common areas within the respective industrial area. Throughout the process, the Executive Board also met the various Industrial Estate Tenant Associations. The Chamber provided a successful link between tenants and MIP, bridging the concerns of all parties involved to attain a memorandum of understanding setting up a process of upkeep and management of industrial estates that is mutually beneficial to all involved.

Policy Groundwork for 2016 A significant share of the Executive Board’s efforts throughout 2015 laid the groundwork for goals in 2016. These efforts are most notable in relation to the group’s focus on the key factors to safeguard and improve Malta’s competitiveness; (i) competitive energy tariffs, (ii) competitive and transport links, as well as (iii) adequate regional aid intensities and investment incentives. Competitive Energy Tariffs As part of the consultation process relating to the Budget for 2016, the Chamber called on Government to reduce energy tariffs for all business in view of the changing circumstances since the reduction of 25 per cent announced in 2013. The Executive Board brainstormed a number of concrete recommendations that may lead to an effective decrease in the cost of energy for businesses. These recommendations included a modification of the existing night tariff system to a peak/off-peak system coupled with a significant reduction in the eligibility threshold, a bulk buying arrangement for industrial estates, the ability for companies to purchase energy supply from the most cost-effective source in light of the improved energy mix, as well as further incentives for investment in renewable sources of energy and more energy efficient equipment and machinery, among others. The above suggestions, among others, were discussed at length with the Prime Minister, Minister Konrad Mizzi, Minister Christian Cardona and Enemalta’s CEO Ing. Azzopardi during meetings in the run up to the Budget 2016 Speech. Despite all efforts and despite the fact that the Budget did not address energy tariffs for businesses, the Chamber remains confident that the groundwork achieved by the Executive Board by way of its concrete proposals will lead to the desired results in the near future as hinted by the authorities.


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Economic Groups Efficient and Competitive Maritime Transportation The Executive Board is convinced that a more efficient and competitive import and export framework are one vital factor necessary for a local industrial resurgence and with an improved industrial sector performance Malta as a whole stands to gain due to the economic spill-overs into other sectors. In cooperation with the Malta Chamber’s Shipping and Bunkering Business Section, the Executive Board has commissioned a study to consider the impact of maritime transportation costs on Malta’s Competitiveness. A team of reputable Maltese consultants was commissioned to evaluate maritime transportation related costs and to put forward practical recommendations. The study will be concluded during 2016 and the Malta Chamber will seek to discuss the recommendations with key stakeholders for timely and effective implementation of improvements. The Need for Investment Incentives Although Malta is characterised by remoteness, insularity and small size, the changes in the rules on regional state aid coupled with the economy’s performance mean that Malta may no longer grant aid to large enterprises that expand existing capacity. Only aid in the form of tax credits for initial investment or for conversion to the production of a new product is allowed. Moreover, the intensity of any tax credits granted to large enterprises has been reduced from 30 per cent to 15 per cent and further down to 10 per cent as of 1st January 2018. The manufacturing sector is heavily reliant on sustained competitiveness, attractiveness as well as continuous investment, however, as a result of the loss of Malta’s Objective 1 status with regard to State-Aid Intensities, all three of these factors are now at a significant disadvantage when compared to other manufacturers in the European Union. Malta’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union commencing in January 2017 will present an unparalleled opportunity for European agenda setting. Therefore, throughout 2015 the Executive Board sought to ensure that the most pertinent issues experienced by Malta’s manufacturing industry were adequately represented amongst the most suitable and effective platforms with a view to the opportunities that will be provided by the six-month Presidency. To this end, the Executive Board is in the process of commissioning a reputable team of researchers from the College of Europe in Bruges to study Malta’s need for investment incentives. Regarded as an authority of European Union law, the team of professors will be tasked with researching solutions to mitigate the pressures on the competitiveness of Malta’s manufacturing sector, by putting together a strong case for effective measures that compensate for the inherent geographical disadvantages of operating from Malta.


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Economic Groups Industry Priorities Task Group

Electrical and Electronics

The Executive Board’s sub-formation focusing on obtaining national investment support held numerous bilateral discussions with Malta Enterprise throughout 2015. The Task Group thoroughly discussed options for local investment support for companies investing in new processes, newer and more efficient machinery, health and safety performance improvements and waste management and recycling. The Task Group presented a comprehensive and ready-to-implement investment process to top Malta Enterprise officials as an immediate solution to compensate for the decline in state aid intensities and expiration of investment tax credits, as the latter combination of factors is having a notable negative impact on the investment forecasts being planned by local manufacturing companies.

Development of Human Resources

The proposed measures and processes generated promising initial feedback and consideration from Malta Enterprise, however, the Chamber’s Industry Priorities Task Group was disappointed to note the limited parameters outlined in Malta Enterprise’s initial counter proposals to address investment support. The Task Group will seek further bilateral discussions with Malta Enterprise and other agencies/ departments in order to identify possible actions to be effectively implemented in the short-term. Employment Policies Following announcements in the Budget 2015 regarding the creation of a maternity leave trust fund and the enforcement of the minimum quota of disabled persons employed in a company, a task group made up of two representatives from each Economic Group was established by the Malta Chamber Council in May-June 2015. The Executive Board’s representatives contributed to the official feedback on the employment measures laid out by the Budget. The feedback was submitted to all relevant Ministries and the Employment and Training Corporation, leading to joint discussions with the Malta Employers Association and ETC during the summer months. Discussions for a tripartite Memorandum of Understanding that will lay out the issues faced by stakeholders to integrate disabled persons into the workforce are ongoing.

Following the Executive Committee elections, it was agreed that the new Committee would focus on further developing the human resources present in the local electrical and electronics manufacturing industry. As a top priority, the Executive Committee identified internationally recognised industry-specific IPC (Industry Association for Connecting Electronics) programmes in order to enhance the skills of human resources in current best practices implemented globally. The Executive Committee therefore successfully organised training courses for the employees of companies forming part of the Malta Chamber’s Electrical Electronics Manufacturers Business Section. All participants successfully participated in the IPC-A-610E programme and obtained certification in implementing the highest standards throughout the process of analysing the acceptability of electronic assemblies. Participants were very satisfied with the extent of handson knowledge gained throughout the programme as well as its direct relevance and applicability to their daily job-related responsibilities. The Executive Committee is set to maintain the organisation of such training programmes during 2016. Thus, a key policy fundamental to continuously foster human development by supporting education and training of the country’s primary and most vital resource, as identified by the Malta Chamber’s ‘Economic Vision for Malta 20142020’ is being actively implemented. The provision of opportunities to motivate employees to engage in learning and re-skilling through flexible training methods is also a priority recommendation highlighted in the ‘Industrial Policy for Malta’.

Food and Beverage Processors European Parliament’s Proposed Amendment on Nutrient Profiling The Food and Beverage Processors Executive Committee followed the developments in the European legislation regulating the food and beverage sector. MEP Renate Sommer proposed amendments to eliminate the concept of nutrient profiles or to repeal Regulation 1924/2006 in its entirety due to the coming into force of Regulation 1169/2015 on the provision of food information to consumers.

My background is that of providing a professional service to the industry of the built environment. Being an active member of the Malta Chamber offers me the opportunity to share similar values with similar stakeholders in this industry. The Chamber has offered space for a proactive engagement in discussions and meetings intended to influence and direct the marketplace within which our industry operates. My passion in raising the platform of the environment and sustainable design has been embraced by all economic groups of this organisation, which attracts significant players in the market, moulds objective and professional opinions and positively influences the decision-makers of the country. David Xuereb, CEO, QP Management


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Economic Groups According to WHO, nutrient profiling is the science of classifying foods according to their nutritional composition. In countries where nutrient profiling is practiced, foods are segregated into good and bad categories according to their sugar, salt and fat content, hence often presenting misleading information to consumers. However, since Regulation 1169/2011 fully implements the desired level of food information provision to consumers, MEP Sommer proposed the amendment based on reasoning that nutrient profiles are ideologically motivated and lack scientific foundation. As a member of the European Parliaments ENVI Committee, MEP Miriam Dalli sought consultation with the Executive Committee prior to important votes at Committee and Plenary levels on the matter. In its position development, the F&B Executive Committee also collaborated with the Importers Business Section in order to ensure that the interests of Maltese consumers, who largely depend on a Mediterranean diet, as well as the interests of producers of food and beverage products are safeguarded, while further streamlining European regulatory requirements. The European Parliament ENVI Committee eventually voted in favour of eliminating the concept of nutrient profiling from European legislation, however the European Parliament JURI Committee rejected the amendments and opted to safeguard the clear decision made with the ratification of Regulation 1924/2006. As a way forward on this matter, numerous pan-European bodies representing the food and beverage industry are calling for the European Commission to urgently develop the long awaited scientific framework for health claims based on nutrient profiles. The calls are actively supported by the Food and Beverage Processors Executive Committee. Platform for Collaboration with the Food Science Department The Food and Beverage Processors Executive Committee met with the University of Malta’s Faculty of Health Sciences in order to discuss a possible collaboration between the faculty and the industry. The industry faces significant constraints since samples must be sent overseas for certain laboratory tests due to the lack of local laboratories equipped and accredited to perform industrystandard food sample tests. The Executive Committee approached the Faculty’s Food Science Department with a list of tests carried out by the companies forming part of the Business Section, seeking grounds for possible collaboration. It was agreed that the goodwill for collaboration was present from both the Executive Committee and the Faculty of Health Sciences, as both sides identified the positives that may come out of such an arrangement. However, the discussions also highlighted a number of factors that would need to be overcome for the arrangement to achieve the desired results, such as obtaining industry-standard accreditation for the Faculty’s laboratory amongst others. Further discussions on the exploration of avenues that may lead to a strengthened collaboration between the University of Malta’s Food Science Department and the Food and Beverage Processors Business Section are set to take place.

Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Unique Identifier Code Repository – Data Collection The Falsified Medicines Directive provides for the European Commission to publish a Delegated Act that will lay down the technical details and modalities whereby the provisions of the Directive will be implemented in the various member states. One aspect of these provisions concerns the setting up of a unique identifier code data repository. The Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Executive Committee is involved in discussions to analyse the feasibility of establishing a national repository, or joining the repository of another country through a technical agreement. The Medicines Authority is coordinating the ongoing initial discussions aimed at establishing the platform on which the national repository can be built. The Executive Committee nominated two representatives, one for the local pharmaceutical manufacturers and one for the local importers and pharmacies and importers/ distributors of healthcare products to represent all members of the Malta Chamber in discussions with stakeholders on this matter. The coming into force date of the requirements laid out by the Falsified Medicines Directive is September 2018. It is envisaged that a lengthy trial period of the repository system will be required prior to this date and hence, the Executive Committee will seek to achieve notable progress on this matter in the coming year. This will require cooperation and commitment from all local Marketing Authorisation holders. Brief Paper: An EU Proposal for an SPC Export Exception and its Potential Impact on Malta The Executive Committee took note of the European Parliament’s calls on the European Commission to foster the export of European Generic and Biosimilar medicines. MEP Mosca put forward a report highlighting a ‘Strategy for the protection and enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights in third countries’. The report requested a Supplementary Protection Certificate export exception that would allow EU-based companies to manufacture and export to non-Supplementary Protection Certificate or patent-free countries while the member state from which they operate is still under SPC protection. The absence of patents and SPCs in Malta for many pharmaceutical products allows companies based in Malta to be first on the market in whichever country the patent expires first. This provides a unique advantage and allows local manufacturers to compete very favourably with EU manufacturers which currently have to wait for SPC expiry before being able to start production. Once the European Parliament’s Committee on International Trade voted positively on the Mosca Report, the Executive Committee drafted a position paper which was presented to the relevant authorities. The paper highlighted the potential negative impact on the attractiveness of Malta in the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry should such changes to the patent legislation come into effect. However, due to the expected positive impacts on the macro European economy, it is anticipated that the Mosca Report recommendations will be considered for implementation by the


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Economic Groups European Commission. Nonetheless, the Executive Committee has ensured that all relevant players representing Malta’s interests are sensitised of the potential effects on local industry so they can make informed decisions if and when required.

Plastics and Rubber Manufacturers New Mission Statement The Executive Committee developed a mission statement to set the aims and guide the work of the Committee for the coming years. The mission statement is forward-looking in nature and aims to: 1. Promote the significance and contribution of the local polymer processing industry to the local economy. 2. Strive to increase the competitiveness of members. 3. Foster networking and technology sharing between members of the Business Section. 4. Assist members in reducing the carbon footprint of their operations. 5. Address the shortage of skilled human resources. Completion of Sector Profiling Exercise The Executive Committee finalised an exercise to structure a realistic profile of the present polymer industry in Malta. The results of the survey depicted the significant stature that the industry maintains in the national economy with respect to productivity, employment and the numerous spill-overs into other economic sectors. While the realities of the industry and the economy are everchanging, the results of this profiling exercise should equip the Executive Committee with a reliable census of the industry when advocating positions with authorities and stakeholders. Skilled Human Resources for the Polymer Sector With an aim to overcome a lack of skilled technicians having a well-rounded education for immediate and effective integration into the polymer processing industry, the Executive Committee has engaged in discussions with MCAST regarding the Apprenticeship Scheme. The Executive Committee has ensured MCAST of its utmost support and commitment towards the scheme. Further discussions are also to take place aimed at updating the syllabus and teaching methodologies of MCAST’s technician and engineer courses, in order to improve the workplace readiness of graduates to meet the present and near future realities and requirements of the industry.

Services Providers Economic Group During 2015, the Services Providers Executive Board held regular meetings with the Chairpersons of the respective Business Sections falling within the Economic Group, focusing particularly on facilitating liaison between the business sections in addressing cross-sectoral issues and challenges. Through these meetings the Executive Board sought to identify the priorities of the Board’s efforts for the year and

to provide strategic and political support to the specific issues raised by the various Business Sections. Early in the year, the Central Bank of Malta expressed interest in following the work being carried out by members of the Malta Chamber in various sectors of the economy. A meeting was therefore held between the Services Providers Executive Board and Central Bank officials, with the participation of the Chairpersons representing the Business Sections. The meeting discussed the performance of the represented sectors and challenges experienced in the tourism, maritime and construction sectors. The meeting also noted that it was now difficult for a number of trades to find workers with the required skills, and fewer students were taking up studies leading to careers within the respective areas of the Economic Group. While reference was made to the recent launch of the Skills Card, which was considered as a step in the right direction in that it showed a more concerted effort between industry and education to address the challenge, the meeting noted that the proper regulation of migrants may have a positive impact on the sector as it could present the solution to find the right people to help fill the existing skills gaps. The Board also voiced its concern with regard to the Libya crisis which had not improved since the meeting with the Central Bank the previous year. Indeed, a number of businesses within the Services sector had put on hold their ideas to increase investments in Libya, and chose to further diversify and explore other markets in European and African countries. The Board also highlighted the difficulties of opening bank accounts for foreign professionals operating in Malta. This seemed to be a growing concern among various Services Industry providers. The meeting noted that although operators were well aware that the banks undergo rigorous monitoring and must carry out their due diligence through their various processes and procedures, they felt that there was a need for a certain degree of practicality. This situation could also have negative consequences on Malta’s offering as a financial services centre in that professionals cannot market Malta as a jurisdiction facilitating business if there are undue delays in the opening of bank accounts for their clients. The Executive Board committed to offer its insight and collaboration if and whenever required while the Central Bank officials thanked the Executive Board for the meeting and appreciated the direct feedback from operators as experts in the various sectors, since this was crucial to better understand statistical information. On a separate occasion, the Executive Board invited Lino Mintoff to deliver a presentation on the Enterprise Europe Network. Mr Mintoff gave a general overview of the network and its role in the European Commission’s ambitious focus on the improvement and growth of SMEs. Mr Mintoff explained the Network’s role of providing contacts for businesses to internationalise their operations, be it with a product, service, process or idea, and also providing advisory support, information on available funding and any further assistance businesses may require.


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Information Technology

The Financial Services Executive Committee held a number of meetings throughout the year. At its first meeting the Executive Committee started discussing the Business Section’s plan of action for the current term. The Executive Committee took into consideration a number of topics including the promotion of the Islamic finance sector; turning Malta into an ethical cluster for financial services; to increase efforts in relation to education and skills gap; follow closely developments in relation to the pensions reform and the introduction of the third pillar; the identification of new products and markets to tap; as well as working towards the implementation of recommendations related to the financial services sector within the Malta Chamber’s Economic Vision document.

The Information & Communications Technology (ICT) Executive Committee agreed to focus on further collaborating with educational institutions to ensure industry expectations are met through courses offered in a bid to address the current skills gap in particular areas within the sector. The Executive Committee also discussed the issue of Government tenders, stressing on the principle that tenders should be awarded on the most economically advantageous offer taking into consideration the quality rather than just the cheapest offer. In view of the fact that public procurement represents a substantial share of local companies’ business, such a situation may be slowing down their growth potential.

During the year, the Executive Committee followed closely the ‘Arbiter for Financial Services Act, 2015’ (the Bill) which was published on 5th June. In this regard, the Executive Committee together with a number of stakeholders and associations endorsed a high level position paper that was sent to the Minister for Finance. While pointing out that the Bill is a positive initiative, the paper highlighted a number of important issues which required to be addressed. The Executive Committee also discussed a concern raised by various members across the industry regarding the difficulties of opening bank accounts for foreign professionals. The Executive Committee agreed that due to the fact that banks were facing rigorous regulations, a certain level of due diligence was required to assess any risks that may be involved. Nonetheless, it was felt that a certain degree of flexibility and practicality must be ensured, particularly since Malta’s offering as a financial services centre was being negatively impacted. Professionals in the sector were not in a position to market Malta as a jurisdiction facilitating business when they are currently facing undue delays in the opening of bank accounts for their clients.

Moreover, the Executive Committee noted that local companies might not have sufficient clout to compete on an international platform. In this regard, throughout the year, the ICT Executive Committee followed up on efforts and good work developed by the outgoing Executive Board, primarily aimed at the setting up of ICT Malta, to push for internationalisation opportunities and marketing of the local ICT Industry. In this regard, a number of meetings were held with the Parliamentary Secretary for Competitiveness and Economic Growth José Herrera. Finally, as a result of these meetings, all parties agreed that ICT Malta shall be established as a Foundation with three representatives nominated from Government, three representatives nominated from Industry by the Malta Chamber and a Chairman, also nominated from Industry by the Malta Chamber. Furthermore, the official seat of ICT Malta shall be at the Malta Chamber. The Parliamentary Secretariat undertook to present the Statute to Cabinet for approval.

Remote Gaming During its meetings in 2015, the Remote Gaming Executive Committee established that its efforts for the two-year term would be reflecting the importance of its views vis-a-vis the importance

The Malta Chamber is the voice of private enterprise, not only representing business but also offering leadership from business to business – leadership which is strategically focused, well placed and proactive. Indeed, even public entities and Government as a whole recognise this and frequently make the Chamber a point of reference. The Malta Chamber offers support and guidance to all its members, offering that all-important opportunity for businesses to get themselves organised within its internal structures. Through the organised participation of its members, accordingly to the relevant economic groups, members are able to share and discuss matters of common interest, following which the Chamber is able to represent and promote as necessary. The Chamber is not only of relevance in today’s society, but also an important contributor for the economic and social development of our country as a whole. Norman Aquilina, CEO, Farsons Group


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of membership attraction and retention. In this respect, the Executive Committee focused on strengthening its communication with the members of the Business Section as well as addressing and organising information sessions on topical issues. Specifically, the Executive Committee followed the developments of regulations and legislations related to VAT, technical standards, bitcoin, cloud computing, as well as the transposition of the 4th Anti Money Laundering Directive. Throughout the year, the Executive Committee continued to hold regular bi-monthly meetings with the Malta Gaming Authority, discussing various aspects relating to the Industry. The Executive Committee maintained an open channel of communication with all relevant authorities to lobby and put forth its recommendations on various matters evolving, both at local as well as European levels through the Malta Business Bureau.

Road Contractors During 2015, the Road Contractors Executive Committee held a number of meetings mostly with the group of Business Section members who are participating under Level III of the Framework Agreement with Transport Malta. The contractors discussed a number of issues and made necessary representations to the relevant authorities with the aim to possibly resolve the outstanding issues pertaining to the Industry.

The Road Contractors Executive Committee raised the issue of stocking large quantities of imported materials required for the production of asphalt with Transport Malta Executive Chairman James Piscopo. In light of the high initial cost that is required for importing these materials and the effect on their cash flow, the contractors requested that the imported materials stocked on site/plants for the production of asphalt are paid before production. This is mostly required when emergency road works are needed. On a separate occasion, the road contractors raised another concern regarding the fact that only 50 per cent of the total payments on emergency works were being affected thus creating undue strain on the members’ cash flow and liquidity. In light of this, the Road Contractors Business Section requested that payments on emergency works are increased to 75 per cent, especially in view of the combined negative effect of bank charges and the burden of the performance guarantees to cover the eventuality that road works would have to be redone in case of non-satisfactory performance. Additional discussions are now expected to be held with Transport Malta to discuss these matters in further detail. Meanwhile, the Business Section is discussing the possibility of requesting an increase in the price of concrete works to reflect the introduction of excise duty on cement during the Budget 2015 and the further increase of the said excise rate during the Budget for 2016. The claim would cover the period from January 2015 until 12th October 2015 and


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Economic Groups from 13th October 2015 until the expiration of the Framework Agreement in 2016.

Shipping and Bunkering The Shipping and Bunkering Business Section has closely followed developments regarding the formation of Malta Marittima. The aim of Malta Marittima is to promote Malta as professional maritime hub dealing with the professional holistic requirements of the industry, promoting standards and creating a platform between the private sector and government authorities. It was expected that Malta Marittima would incorporate a number of clusters concentrating on different maritime specialities. The Executive Committee had discussed the revised rates issued by the Malta Freeport with effect from 1st October 2015. The increase was between 2 per cent and 3.5 per cent and could be absorbed by agents. It was agreed that all ship agents should deal with the increase as they saw fit. More recently the Executive Committee discussed the introduction of the National Single Window (NSW) internally and with officials from Transport Malta. Transport Malta expects ship agents and shipping lines to comply with the requirements of the NSW and that ship agents would upload templates on to Portnet sites. These requirements were considered to be cumbersome and several agents had complained that these requirements went beyond those of other European ports. Transport Malta had been informed that members were concerned that the NSW requirements were cumbersome and that according to information received were not required in several European ports. A number of serious technical issues would prevent ship agents from complying with the NSW. It was requested that the introduction of the NSW be deferred until these issues were clarified and until members were confident that they were able to continue to provide a high level of service and to attract shipping business to Maltese ports. A response to the Section’s comments was still pending from Transport Malta. In the meantime the possibility of members commissioning specialised software was being investigated.

A meeting was held with representatives of the Malta Police Force to discuss the purchase of an Advance Passenger Information System. The APIS is a means of obtaining information about visitors to Malta at the boarding time instead of arrival time and would enable the Police to process the data and be better aware of what actions needed to be taken in case of irregularities. The Police were contacting carriers to discuss how they would be affected once this system was in place. Members were informed the APIS was to be extended to sea passengers depending on their last port of call. The information was required 24 hours in advance of arrival for counterterrorism purposes.

Tourism With the aim of strengthening its role within the Tourism Industry and establish relationships with stakeholders, the Tourism Executive Committee held an introductory meeting with Jason Micallef, Chairman of the Valletta 2018 Foundation. The main focus of the discussion was V.18’s plans for a calendar of events as well as the general infrastructural projects being undertaken by V.18 around Valletta. During the meeting, the Executive Committee took the initiative to suggest that it would be beneficial for the Industry and for Malta if V.18 took up a stand at the yearly fair organised in Miami. Finally the Executive Committee proposed to keep an open channel of communication and collaboration between the Business Section and the Foundation. In June, the Executive Committee organised an information session for stakeholders in the Tourism Industry in anticipation of the upcoming reforms of Chapter 409 of the Malta Travel and Tourism Services Act. The participants were addressed by Malta Chamber President Anton Borg followed by the Minister for Tourism’s Consultant George Micallef who delivered a presentation, giving tourism stakeholders an opportunity to raise any concerns in relation to the planned changes, even prior to such reforms being issued for public consultation.

Yachting Services The Yachting Services Executive Committee has held regular meetings during the year. At its initial meetings the Executive

Having like-minded entrepreneurs and company leaders meeting to discuss issues of common interest in relation to both international and national developments helps me re-integrate into Maltese economic affairs after 44 years of working in other countries. I appreciate events organised by the Malta Chamber, especially lectures and conferences. By speaking to both local and EUlevel governments and social partners with one voice, the Chamber promotes members’ interests. As part of the European family of private sector business organisations, the Chamber must continue to stress the essential values of the rule of law and competition that form the backbone of doing business within the EU. John Vassallo, Strategic Adviser, Microsoft Corporation


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Economic Groups Committee discussed the Business Section’s plan of action and objectives for the term. In June, the Executive Committee held a meeting with Wilfred Buttigieg, CEO of Yachting Malta Ltd. Following a brief overview of the set up and objectives of Yachting Malta Ltd by Mr Buttigieg, both parties agreed that their objectives were similar and a number of initiatives proposed by Yachting Malta Ltd are in line with recommendations that the Business Section had been making for a number of years. The meeting noted that the objectives that Yachting Malta Ltd had set itself would be tackled through sub committees addressing the various projects and initiatives varying from sponsorships to education, marinas and so forth. Furthermore, the Business Section’s Executive Committee members were actively involved in a vast range of yachting services thus offering a wide source of expertise in the Industry. In light of this, discussions are ongoing on the possibility of the Yachting Services Executive Committee, as an important stakeholder in the Industry, to be represented on the Yachting Malta sub committees. In order to ensure that Malta remains a centre of excellence in the Yachting Services Industry, through its work and in collaboration with other entities, the Executive Committee has set out to be a reference point and to promote coordination with the various other existing bodies within the Industry. To this end, the Executive Committee shall be organising meetings with various stakeholders to discuss common issues and align positions. Furthermore, the Executive Committee shall be aiming to raise the Business Section’s profile by retaining a good relationship and an open channel of communication with the relevant ministries and authorities so that consultation with the Business Section on matters impacting the Industry is ensured. Later in the year, the Executive Committee held a meeting with Customs Director General Designate Joseph Chetcuti together with Marisa Hewer, to discuss and seek a better understanding of the new rules and procedures to obtain duty free fuel. Discussions and studies at the level of the Executive Committee and customs are ongoing to identify whether there is scope in fine-tuning the current process, after which an information session for all members of the Business Section would be organised. Furthermore, in view of the Executive Committee’s objective of focusing its efforts on both membership attraction but also membership retention throughout the term, the Executive Committee held a social event for members and stakeholders in the Industry in February 2016. AR


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Environment and Energy

Strategic Plan for Environment and Development (SPED)

The Energy and Environment Committee met six times in 2015 and tackled a number of subjects including the amendments to the WEEE regulations and Eco-Contribution Act, the Strategic Plan for the Environment and Development (SPED) and Government’s Green Economy Strategy.

The Committee was entrusted by the Malta Chamber’s Council to draft the organisation’s feedback in relation to the SPED consultation carried out by Government. The Chamber’s Committee stated that it recognises the importance of the environment as a key strategic resource as it has done consistently by way of policies in favour of sustainable development over the years. In light of this, the Malta Chamber welcomed the publication of the Strategic Plan for the Environment and Development (SPED) which replaced the Structure Plan which dated back to 1992.

Eco Contribution Reform: Removal of Eco Contribution on EEE The Malta Chamber through the Energy and Environment Committee was very active between the months of March and May 2015 on the Budget measure to remove Eco Contribution on all Electrical and Electronic Equipment in favour of companies joining a waste management scheme. The Malta Chamber met on several occasions with Minister Leo Brincat, MEPA officials and other stakeholders in order to formulate its position which can be found in further detail in the policy section of this Administrative Report.

The Committee further concluded that the Chamber remained consistent with its position in favour of sustainable development and with its stand in favour of a zero-tolerance policy for development in ODZ land. However, the Malta Chamber was not in favour of any rigid or prescriptive policies that would outright prohibit any development on ODZ for a predetermined period in the future. It recommended


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Policy Committees that in considering sites for potential investment projects, the authorities would first and foremost seek to exhaust all possibilities in locating such proposals in areas/buildings that have fallen out of use and that are in need of regeneration or redevelopment.

EIRA. Matthew Brincat, a legal expert in Industrial Relations and labour law provided external expertise in the drafting of this feedback. This subject is further dealt with in the policy section of this report. Linking Enterprise at Unibet Ltd

These same arguments also appeared on a Times of Malta opinion piece entitled ‘Environmental Balance’ penned by the Committee’s Chairman, Perit David Xuereb. This was followed by a meeting in July with then Parliamentary Secretary for planning, Michael Falzon and MEPA CEO Johann Buttigieg where the Malta Chamber officially presented its submissions. Green Economy Strategy The Committee was also involved in a discussion in October about the Government-led consultation about the Green Economy. The document listed 53 proposals/actions in nine pivotal (thematic) sectors which could result in green-led growth once they come to fruition. The Committee agreed with the Vision proposed by Government but stated that it lacked a priority plan and that for any of the Green Economy segments to make sense they needed to have an economic return. A letter stating the above was thereafter sent to Minister Brincat stating the Chamber’s principles that in principle the proposed measures made sense but they required an action and business plan attached with them.

The HR Committee organised a Linking Enterprise event at Unibet, a major remote gaming company based in Malta. The main theme of this company visit was employee engagement and for Unibet HR executives to explain in detail the employee journey within their operations. Alexia Frendo, HR manager at UNIBET and a Chamber HR committee member, provided details on what the company offers in this respect. She explained that the company employed over 700 employees in its three main locations namely Malta, London and Stockholm and it had a highly multinational/multicultural and young workforce. This required specific measures in order to counteract the challenges that these workers face when working and living in Malta. UNIBET officials also referred to the fact that their management style was very informal and that management and staff were required to interact amongst themselves both at the place of work and even in informal settings. The initial discussion was followed by a visit to the premises based in Gzira and members attending had the opportunity to ask questions and try to see what their peers are doing with regards to HR development. ETC Information Session on Employment

Human Resources The Human Resources Committee met on several occasions during the year under review in which they had the possibility to discuss a number of policy issues and organised a number of events to share best practices and disseminate information to the broader membership. EIRA – Employment and Industrial Relations Act The HR Committee was heavily involved in the drafting of the Chamber’s submissions in relation to proposed amendments to the

The HR Committee in collaboration with the Employment and Training Corporation organised an information session about upcoming measures related to employers’ assistance schemes. The event was attended by over 90 HR practitioners. The event was organised in the run up to the Budget 2016 speech. The Committee’s Chairperson, Catherine Calleja welcomed and chaired the session whilst ETC Chairman Clyde Caruana delivered a presentation about these measures. These included changes in the Youth Guarantee scheme which will be targeting youths between the ages of 16-25 known as NEETs (Not in Education, Employment or Training). He also spoke of changes to the employment and training schemes such as

The Malta Chamber has consistently profiled itself as a multifunctional representation of the key elements that drive Malta’s economy. Within today’s reality of globalisation, constantly changing regulatory requirements, harsh international competition and Malta’s ambition to become a centre of excellence across a number of economic segments, the Chamber plays a key role as a supporting and unifying set up within the local economic environment. Its ability to identify, assess and discuss core issues pertaining to the local economy with key stakeholders has helped, on many occasions, to address and resolve challenging situations. I strongly believe that, as Malta’s diversified economy continues to develop and evolve, the Malta Chamber’s relevance and influence as a harmonising and facilitating factor will keep on increasing with time. Sergio Vella, Vice President Manufacturing Operations-Western Europe, Actavis


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Policy Committees the new Investing in Skills (formerly known as Training Aid Framework) and Access to Employment – A2E (formerly known as Employment Assistance Programme). It was further reported that as part of its restructuring process, the ETC will be creating a job/skills-matching database for all employees in Malta. This would help employers to search the database prior to calling in any recruits and will be able to head-hunt for specific skills, should the need arise. Benchmarking Session The Human Resources Committee of the Malta Chamber organised another benchmarking session as part of a series of events open for members to benchmark their current HR practices with those of their peers. The event was held at the Exchange Building on Thursday 5th November and was attended by over 30 practitioners and company representatives in the field. The topic of this event was setting performance targets in a company. Catherine Calleja, Chairperson of the HR Committee, welcomed those present and explained the concept behind these benchmarking sessions. She also spoke of the importance of performance targets, both financial and non-financial, the use of tools to monitor and review results and aligning individuals’ and departmental goals with those of the organisation. Ms Calleja proceeded to introduce the keynote speaker, James Ashton, Managing Partner at Multiplex Partners. This session was then followed by a round-robin discussion by all those present on the current performance targets tools and systems being used and how these could be improved.

Internationalisation In 2015, the Internationalisation Desk operated under the guidance of the Internationalisation Committee. Its mission is to help members expand their business abroad. The Desk was established in 2006 with the aim of giving membership added value, and attract further involvement in Chamber business. Furthermore, through the efforts of the Desk, the Chamber has created a vast network of internationalisation contacts with other chambers and trade promotion organisations in various countries that also led to signing of new Memoranda of Understanding. Since its establishment, the role of the Internationalisation Desk has become more and more important. The majority of the work undertaken is reactive in its nature and consists of responding and reacting to inquiries and interests from members, foreign companies and organisations.

are engaged in international activities and calls them up to conduct an interview. The data gathered identifies the countries in which the company does business, as well as the countries in which it would like to do business, and for each of these countries, the activity and sector are identified. The resulting data allows the desk to draw conclusions about the internationalisation activities of Maltese companies at a macro-level, but it also allows the Desk to identify individual companies, when there are contacts or activities which may be of relevance to these companies. The 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, than can be exercised over with bi-lateral chambers that operate completely independently of the Malta Chamber. 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. Enterprise Europe Network 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 (EEN). For more information on the subject refer to the section ‘EEN’ in this report. The Internationalisation Desk is also responsible for trade consultation, where it consults with members on issues related to trade policy. This is mainly done by processing the information received from the Economic Policy Division within the Ministry of Finance and disseminating this information via Chamberlink, targeted e-mails and, at times, by contacting the affected companies directly.

Business Councils Scandinavian Business Forum Malta Since its launch, the Scandinavian Business Forum Malta has been successful in organising a number of networking events aimed at Maltese companies that are interested in doing business with Scandinavian countries. Visit www.sbfmalta.com for more information.

The two main thrusts of the work of the Desk stem from three main areas:

Events:

The Internationalisation Survey

• 23 April 2015 Seminar on how to radically improve your business results in only 6 months

This is a database, which bases itself on an ongoing survey. The Internationalisation Desk identifies Malta-based companies which


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Events:

2015 saw a number of activities and initiatives by this Committee. Apart from the two activities listed below, the Committee also holds regular meetings with stakeholders and key individuals. The committee also enjoys a very strong working relationship with the Embassy of Germany in Malta.

• 26 February 2015 Launch of the North African Business Council • 18 May 2015 Visit by Tunisian female entrepreneurs

Events:

The Middle East Business Council has been extremely active since its establishment and has been constantly engaged in meeting key stakeholders in Government, organisations and institutions and private companies with the aim of promoting and facilitating business linkages between Malta and the Gulf region. These meetings have also resulted in two business missions to Oman in 2015 as well as a number of incoming delegations from the Gulf to Malta. Visit www. mebc.org.mt for more information.

• 17 June 2015 German Business Forum in Malta with Minister Edward Zammit Lewis • 23 June 2015 Roundtable meeting with Robert Scheid North African Business Council The North African markets have always been target markets for Maltese companies with Libya being highest on the list. However, as a result of the situation in Libya, Maltese companies had to look elsewhere in North Africa. Following its official launch in February 2015, the North African Business Council initiated links and contacts with Algeria, Morocco and Egypt, as well as strengthened its relations with Tunisia. It is worth noting that a number of Committee members of the North African Business Council have joined the business delegations to Algeria led by Trade Malta in November 2015 and January 2016.

Middle East Business Council

Events: • 2-4 March 2015 Visit by Peter Meyer, President of the Middle East Association in the United Kingdom • 15 June 2015 Visit by Journalists from the Gulf, organised by the Consulate General of Malta in Dubai • 10 July 2015 Conference: Business Opportunities in the MENA region • 19-21 October 2015 Visit to Institutions and Embassies in Brussels, organised by the Office of MEP Roberta Metsola


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Policy Committees Maltese-Turkish Business Council The Maltese-Turkish Business Council was launched on 9th April 2015 following an interest from Malta Chamber members in the Turkish market. Since its launch, this Business Council has engaged in meeting key stakeholders and initiating contact with Turkish counterparts. This led to a trade delegation to Turkey organised in collaboration with Trade Malta in September 2015.

Trade Malta, which started operating in its new offices at Tigné Point, Sliema in July 2015, is a public private partnership between the Maltese Government and the Malta Chamber. Through its various business councils, the Internationalisation Desk assists in setting the agenda for Trade Malta by being the main point of reference and in a position to indicate the interest and aspirations of its members in international markets. Malta Chamber representatives also participated in a number of seminars and meetings organised abroad.

Visit www.mtbc.org.mt for more information. Events: • 9 April 2015 Launch of the Maltese-Turkish Business Council • 18 September 2015 Doing Business with Turkey The following are other activities organised by the Internationalisation Desk in 2015: • 13 January 2015 Is Hong Kong still the gateway to China? • 22 January 2015 Doing Business with Azerbaijan • 19 October 2015 Doing Business with Indonesia • 20 November 2015 Doing Business with Japan • 11 February 2016 Information meeting re an Asia-Pacific Business Council Malta Chamber Receives ASCAME Award in Barcelona During the Association of the Mediterranean Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ASCAME) Executive Meeting in Barcelona on 24th November 2015, the Malta Chamber was presented with a prestigious Award for its contribution towards cross-Mediterranean business facilitation. The award was conferred to Internationalisation Executive Lina El-Nahhal, by ASCAME’s President, Mohamed Choucair and the President of the Official Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Navigation of Barcelona Miquel Valls. Outgoing Business Delegations and Internationalisation Trips A number of outgoing business missions were organised in 2015 by Trade Malta, the national trade promotion agency, as well as the Malta Chamber.

In 2015, there were outgoing business missions to the following destinations: Date City Country For the Malta Chamber 14-16 April 2015 Muscat Oman Mr Klaus Pedersen Seminar on Food Industry and Tourism organised at Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry by EU-GCC Project 19-23 April 2015 Muscat Oman Mr Tonio Casapinta Trade Delegation led by Malta Enterprise 11-13 May 2015 Doha Qatar Mr Tonio Casapinta Doha Forum 2015 29 Sept-2 Oct 2015 Istanbul Turkey Mr Anton Borg, Mr Tonio Casapinta Trade Delegation led by Trade Malta in collaboration with the Maltese-Turkish Business Council within the Malta Chamber 27-30 October 2015 Moscow Russia Mr Anton Borg Mr Frank V. Farrugia Trade Delegation led by the Malta Chamber 14-17 November 2015 Muscat Oman Mr Tonio Casapinta Malta participation at the Business Opportunities Forum organised by Oman Chamber 18-19 November 2015 Algiers Algeria Mr Anton Borg, Mr Frank V. Farrugia Trade Delegation led by Trade Malta 23-27 November 2015 Barcelona Spain Ms Lina El-Nahhal Euromed Invest Academy, ASCAME Executive Committee Meeting 19-21 January 2016 Algiers Algeria Mr Anton Borg Trade Delegation accompanying the President of Malta, H.E. Marie Louise Coleiro Preca

Playmobil Malta has been a member of the Malta Chamber for many years, and we are proud of this long-standing mutual relationship. Over and above the obvious reasons of excellent networking opportunities amongst other members of industry and also cross-sector, we as a company appreciate being constantly updated on the latest issues and developments in industry. The Chamber also offers and facilitates open and direct dialogue with political stakeholders from all parties, and fosters relationships and exchange with NGOs. Another point worth mentioning is the sharing of sector-related knowledge, especially when it comes to the area of FDI. Matthias Fauser, CEO, Playmobil Malta


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Policy Committees Seminars and Meetings Organised Abroad

The Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Date City Country For the Malta Chamber Meetings with Stakeholders and the Diplomatic Corps 14-16 April 2015 Muscat Oman Mr Klaus Pedersen Seminar on Food Industry and Tourism organised at Oman One of the declared objectives of the Desk is to work closely with Chamber of Commerce and stakeholders, especially Trade Malta, Malta Enterprise, Finance Malta, Industry by EU-GCC Project relevant ministries and the diplomatic corps in Malta as well as that of 11-13 May 2015 Doha Qatar Mr Tonio Casapinta Doha Forum 2015, organised Malta abroad. by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Qatar The Internationalisation Desk is also represented at the Joint 19-21 October 2015 Brussels Belgium Ms Lina El-Nahhal, members of the Middle East Business Stakeholders Working Council of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs by Council Visit to Institutions Tonio Casapinta, Vice-President of the Malta Chamber. Monthly and Embassies in Brussels, meetings are held where stakeholders discuss market strategies, organised by the Office of MEP Dr Roberta Metsola outgoing and incoming delegations and events such as Malta’s 23-27 November 2015 Barcelona Spain Ms Lina El-Nahhal participation at Expo 2015 in Milan and CHOGM events held in Malta Euromed Invest Academy, in November 2015. ASCAME Executive Committee Meeting

Incoming Business Delegations Throughout the year, a number of foreign delegations come to Malta on business-related missions, be they institutional visits, delegations of businessmen or politically-led missions. The following are the delegations that were received at the Malta Chamber: Date Name Country 3 March 2015, Mr Peter Meyer, United Kingdom 8 April 2015 President of the Middle East Association in London 9 March 2015 Ms Luisa Santos, Director Belgium International Relations at Businesseurope 18 May 2015 Female Business Delegation Tunisia 8 June 2015 Delegation from the Qatari Qatar Businessmen Association 15 June 2015 Visit by journalists from the UAE, United Arab organised by the Consulate Emirates General of Malta in Dubai 30 June 2015 Delegation from Embassy of Poland Poland in Rome 12 August 2015 Delegation from Embassy of Indonesia in Rome 14 August 2015 Maritime Silk Road Expedition China 23-24 November 2015 Trade Delegation from Malawi Malawi 30 November 2015 Delegation of female Oman representatives from Bank Muscat and business associations in Oman

MoUs Signed 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 Memorandum of Understanding is usually signed with other Chambers and Organisations to emphasise this collaboration. In 2015, the Malta Chamber had the opportunity to sign cooperation agreements with The Middle East Association, United Kingdom, The Union of the Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Maritime Commerce and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) and

Furthermore, the Internationalisation Desk of the Malta Chamber is increasingly the first call for many stakeholders and businessmen who visit Malta from abroad.

Marketing Committee During the year in review, the Marketing Committee continued to carry out work related to its mission: to contribute to the development and recognition of the marketing profession, help businesses embrace the marketing function, set standards and promote an ethical approach to marketing. As a result of creating the framework for a series of events during the course of 2015, the Marketing Committee organised a Marketing Forum on 22nd January 2016, with the participation of international business advisor and entrepreneur Reinhold Karner titled ‘Economics of (digital) Connections’. In his lecture, Mr Karner explained how 2015 was the year where digital business found its way into enterprise. He explained how the digital transformation is disrupting most industries, economies, jobs and lives faster than most people realise. Digital business is now growing fast across all industries. As most analogue revenues flatten or even decline in many industries, businesses are shifting to a new source of growth: digital revenue from digital business, including the digitalisation of things. This will rock the business scenario to the core, and bring about unprecedented changes in the very near future. The Marketing Committee is currently working on the business plan of its activity and the organisation of events with other guest speakers in the future.

SME and Family Business Committee In the first quarter of 2015, the SME and Family Business Committee was re-constituted with new members after the expiry of the 2013-2015 term. In the new 2015-2017 term, the Committee continued to tackle public procurement issues and possible amendments to policy and regulations in order to facilitate the participation of SMEs in public bids.


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Policy Committees During the year, the Committee discussed pipeline EU legislation such as the Small Business Act, the Digital Single Market Package, the Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base (CCTB), the Programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (COSME), amongst others, together with opportunities for access to finance. An essential part of the Committee’s focus continues to be the identification of definite proposals emanating from the Malta Chamber’s Economic Vision recommendations. The continuous discussion helped to evolve concrete plans to achieve the aims of the vision. It also participated in the consultation process for the Small Business Act proposed amendments and the Family Business Act. The Committee also endorsed and supported the work being done by the Malta Chamber through its participation in the Enterprise Europe Network by promoting the support services that are available through the EU funded project. During 2015, the Committee organised a number of seminars. An information and consultation seminar was held entitled ‘Public Procurement – Towards simplification and improved quality standards’. Another seminar was organised as part of the SME WEEK entitled ‘Retail Industry – Changing the Paradigm?’ Frank V. Farrugia, Chairman of the Committee and Lino Mintoff, Head of Sectors also participated in the annual SME Assembly which was held in Luxembourg. AR

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Executive Committees – Business Sections, Policy Committees and Business Councils Business Sections Electrical and Electronics

Mr Simon Alden Chairperson Dr. Ing. Conrad Pace Deputy Chairperson Ing. Anthony Galea Mr Noel Micallef Mr Joseph Gingell

Financial Services

Mr David Zahra Chairperson Mr James Bonello Deputy Chairperson Mr Mark Richard Hogg Mr George Mangion Mr Michael Scerri

Plastics and Rubber Manufacturers Mr Kenneth Caruana Chairperson Mr Olaf Zahra Deputy Chairperson Mr Joseph Borg Mr Robert Borg Mr Kenneth Micallef Mr Ivan Gerada (co-opted) Mr Walter Vigar (co-opted)

Real Estate

Mr David Aquilina Mr Kevin Buttigieg Mr Benjamin Tabone Grech Mr Douglas Salt Mr Simon Debono

Mr Gordon Vassallo Dr Cornelia Zammit German Mr Anthony Galea (co-opted) Mr Ivan Mifsud (co-opted) Mr Shawn Spiteri Duca (co-opted)

Policy Committees Executive Committees Energy and Environment Committee

Remote Gaming

Mr Stephen Bonnici Chairperson Mr John Sammut Deputy Chairperson Mr Benjamin Brincat Mr Joseph Pace

Dr Olga Finkel Chairperson Dr Simona Camilleri Deputy Chairperson Dr Angelo Dalli Mr George Debrincat Dr James Palmier Gonzi

Perit David Xuereb Chairman Mr Godwin C. Micallef Deputy Chairperson Ing. Charles Cuschieri Ing. Mario Schembri Ing. Adrian Vigar Mr Adrian Mallia Ms Mary Gaerty Mr Mark Bajada Ms Anna Spiteri Mr Andre Fenech

HealthCare

Road Contractors

Human Resources

Food and Beverage Processors

Mr Paul Apap Bologna Chairperson Mr Marcel K. Mifsud Deputy Chairperson Mr Robert Magri Ms Vanessa Said Salomone Mr David Stellini

Importers

Mr Charles Borg Chairperson Mr Eman Castagna Deputy Chairperson Mr Aldo Calleja Mr Anthony T. Camilleri Mr Josie Ellul Mercer

Information & Communications Technology Mr Francois Grech Chairperson Mr Marcel Cutajar Deputy Chairperson Mr Ruben Azzopardi Ms Claudine Cassar Mr Roland Scerri

Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Dr Claude A. Farrugia Chairperson Mr Patrick Cachia Deputy Chairperson Mr Jurgen Azzopardi Mr Vittorio Giromini Mr Dino Mangion

Pharmacists Pharmacy Owners Mr Reginald Fava Chairperson Ms Marisa Dalli Deputy Chairperson Mr Anthony Sant-Portanier Ms Eliza Vella

Mr Vincent Borg Chairperson Mr David Bonnici Deputy Chairperson Mr Mario Agius Mr Joe Vella

Shipping and Bunkering

Mr Peter Sullivan Chairperson Mr Alfred Pace Deputy Chairperson Mr Edward Houlton Mr Stephen Parnis-England Mr Thomas Sullivan Mr Matthew Sullivan (co-opted)

Tourism

Mr Ian Fitzpatrick Chairperson Ms Genevieve Abela Deputy Chairperson Mr Alan Arrigo Mr Ivan Mifsud Mr Iain Tonna (co-opted)

Wines, Spirits, Beverages & Tobacco Business Section

Mr Alexander Arrigo Chairperson Mr Tarcisio Piscopo Deputy Chairperson Mr Stephen Ellul Mr Stephen Rausi Mr Pierre Stafrace

Yachting Services Business Section

Dr Alison Vassallo Chairperson Mr Niki Travers Tauss Deputy Chairperson Mr Peter Fiorini Lowell

Ms Catherine Calleja Chairperson Ms Antoinette Caruana Ms Alexia Frendo Ms Madeleine Sammut Dacoutrous Ms Dollsy Darmanin Ms Ruth Farrugia Ms Monica Incorvaja Mr Anthony Scicluna Dr Matthew Brincat Mr Andre Fenech

Internationalisation

Mr Tonio Casapinta Chairperson Mr Lino Mintoff Ms Lina El Nahhal

Marketing

Mr Louis Olivieri Chairperson Ms Anna Agius Mr Morgan Parnis Mr Chris Vassallo Cesareo Ms Emma Zammit Ciantar Mr Edward Bonello

RTDI

Ing. Roger Galea Chairperson Prof Ing. Jonathan Borg Prof Joseph Cilia Dr Jeanine Rizzo Ms Marisa Xuereb Mr Andre Fenech


The malTa chamber of commerce, enTerprise and indusTry AnnuAL ADMInISTRATIvE REPORT 2015/16

Rent Laws Committee Mr Louis Apap-Bologna Chairperson Mr Alfred Gera de Petri Prof Ian Refalo (ad hoc Adviser) Mr Andre Fenech

Business Council Executive Committees

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Mr Patrick Spiteri Staines Mr John Wood Mr Saviour Zammit Mr Peter Zammit Lupi

SME and Family Business

Mr Frank V. Farrugia Chairperson Ms Liz Barbaro Sant Deputy Chairperson Mr Alfred Attard Mr Marcel K. Mifsud Mr Etienne Borg Cardona Mr Charles Farrugia Mr Chris Vassallo Cesareo Mr Andrew W.J. Mamo Mr Kynan Muscat Scerri Mr Franco Azzopardi Mr Lino Mintoff

Chamber Administrative Committees

COPRES Organising Committee Ms Helga Ellul Mr Norman Aquilina Mr David G. Curmi Mr Kevin J. Borg

Economic Vision Implementation Committee Mr Anton Borg Mr Hugh Arrigo Mr Martin Borg Mr Matthias Fauser Mr Sergio Vella Mr Kevin J. Borg

Statute Revision Commission Mr David G. Curmi Mr Matthias Fauser Mr Reginald Fava Mr Stefano Mallia Mr Kevin J. Borg Ms Johanna Calleja

Scandinavian Business Forum Malta Dr Mark Fenech Chairperson Mr Christer Gustafsson Mr Neville Cutajar Dr Gege Gatt Mr Karl Diacono Mr Pierre Mifsud

German-Maltese Business Council

Mr Armin Eckermann Chairperson Mr Simon Alden Mr Karl Aquilina Ms Adrienne Buedinger Mr Rueben Cuschieri Mr Matthias Fauser Mr Michael Farrugia Mr Edward Micallef Mr Ivan Mifsud Ms Marisa Xuereb

North African Business Council Mr Simon Alden Chairperson Mr Tonio Casapinta Deputy Chairperson Mr Anthony Bartolo Mr Tonio Briffa Mr Joseph Cutajar Mr Mario Duca Mr Anthony Farrugia Ms Nathalie Farrugia Mr David Fenech Ms Mary Gaerty Mr Rainer Hoebel Mr Ivan Mifsud Mr Joseph Micallef Mr John Naudi Mr Roberto Pachi Mr Edward Papps Dr Hugh Peralta Mr Stephen Polidano Mr Alexei Sciberras

Middle East Business Council

Mr Tonio Casapinta Chairperson Mr Peter Frendo Deputy Chairperson Ms Liz Barbaro Sant Mr Ivan Cachia Mr Joseph Camilleri Mr Matthew Sammut Mr Sarmad Qazi Mr Mark Vassallo Mr Ravi Viroomal Dr David Zahra

Maltese-Turkish Business Council Dr Mark Bencini Chairperson Mr Roger De Gaetano Deputy Chairperson Ms Genevieve Abela Mr James Bason Mr George Barbaro Sant Mr James Bonavia Mr Pierre Brincat Ms Angele Buscemi Le Brun Mr Jurgen Cachia Ms Danica Caruana Ms Sonia Caschetto Mr Tonio Cini Mr Ates Erguler Mr Chris Farrugia Mr Raymond Farrugia Mr Ian Fitzpatrick Dr Adrian Delia Mr Matthew Gera Mr Mustapha Gulen Ms Ezgi Harmanci Mr Charles Mercieca Mr Simon Mifsud Bonnici Mr Chris Munz Mr Ozgur Ozdemir Ms Gulay Ozturk Mr Jean Marc Smits Mr Kevin Spiteri


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Malta Chamber Commissions

set up by Statute

Commercial Agents Commission (Statute Art 11.1)

Conflicts Resolution Panel (Statute Art 10.1)

Electoral Commission (Statute Art 6.1)

Ethics & Disciplinary Commission (Statute Art 8.2)

Mr Charles A. Zahra Chairperson Mr Anthony T. Camilleri Mr Louis A. Cuschieri Mr Josie Ellul Mercer Mr Frank V. Farrugia

Mr Josie Ellul-Mercer Chairperson Mr Louis Apap Bologna Mr David Borg Cardona Mr Victor Camilleri Mr Michael Cutugno

Mr Michael Mallia Chairperson Mr Victor A. Galea Mr Mario Duca Mr Joe Pace Mr Michael Scerri

Mr Albert P. Mamo Chairperson Mr Louis Apap-Bologna Mr Louis A. Farrugia Mr Martin Galea Mr Michael Scerri


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Consultation

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Consultation

Malta Council for Economic and Social Development MCESD The MCESD met on 20 different occasions between February of 2015 and February of this year. The Malta Chamber representatives on this Council were President Anton Borg, Deputy President Frank V. Farrugia, Council Member and Chairman of the Manufacturing Economic Group Norman Aquilina and Director General Kevin J. Borg. During the year under review, the Council discussed and was consulted on a number of topics including fuel prices,

competitiveness, transport, research and innovation, EU regional policy, pensions strategy, maternity leave trust fund, the American University of Malta project, CEDEFOP study on apprenticeships and amendments to the Employment and Industrial Relations Act. The Council also met twice to discuss the Pre-Budget document with the Minister of Finance. The social partners had the opportunity to send their submissions and recommendations to the 2016 Budget consultation process. The Malta Chamber also raised two main items on the MCESD agenda, namely competitiveness and research and innovation. During the meeting about competitiveness, the Chamber repeated its concerns related to the manufacturing industry – i.e. higher operating costs, lower productivity and the imminent termination of the regional aid regime for large undertakings. The issue related to abuse in free movement of goods was also highlighted. The Chamber maintained that both matters were causing business sentiment to decline with negative repercussions on investment and employment opportunities in the country.


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Consultation During the meeting about research and innovation, the Malta Chamber delivered a presentation on its main recommendations in relation to this topic, and specifically proposed a number of concrete measures – namely the establishment of a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) programme, a tax allowance of 200 per cent on companies’ R&D expenditure including investment in research activities at academic institutes such as the University of Malta and MCAST, promotion of the ‘living labs’ concept in Malta and the introduction of new equity based financial instruments for tech startups. The Malta Chamber also invited Wilfred Kenely, CEO of the University of Malta’s RIDT trust fund, who presented this initiative to the social partners. This meeting was then followed with an official MCESD visit to the University laboratories, in which attendees witnessed research being carried out by some of the faculties. In January 2016, the Chamber also called for an urgent MCESD meeting to discuss the implementation of the Budget measure related to the employment of people with a disability. During the course of this year, the Malta Chamber, through its Director General, was involved in the Administrative Committee, the main aim of which is establishing the orientation the main Council should be taking.

Malta-EU Steering Action Committee (MEUSAC) During the period under review, the MEUSAC core group met on ten occasions. Malta Chamber Council member Christopher Vassallo Cesareo and Chairman of Services Providers Economic Group Mario Spiteri represented the organisation and Andre Fenech acted as their substitute. During these meetings, a number of issues were discussed, including the National Reform Programme, amendments to the electrical waste (WEEE) regulations, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), climate change, ‘BREXIT’ and migration, the Greek economic crisis and Malta’s EU presidency in 2017. During the March meeting with Finance Minister Edward Scicluna, the core group discussed Malta’s submissions in relation to the National Reform Programme (NRP) as part of the EU’s Economic Semester. The NRP outlines Government’s country policies and measures pertaining to Malta’s country-specific recommendations, and its efforts to sustain growth and jobs and to reach the Europe 2020 targets. The recommendations spanned five main areas, namely fiscal policy, the long-term sustainability of public finance, including the ongoing pension reform, ensuring comprehensive reform of the Public Health System, and ensuring optimal resource efficiency while cultivating a climate conducive to business and enterprise.

The main issues raised by the Malta Chamber representatives were pension reform, the Youth Guarantee, apprenticeship schemes, the Investment Plan for Europe, labour policies, the business environment in relation to investment and private-public partnership, better regulation and the reduction of bureaucracy, tax evasion and access to finance particularly for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). Subsequently, the Malta Chamber submitted extensive feedback to the Ministry of Finance. The core group also held two meetings with the Prime Minister to discuss the agenda prior to the June and December European Councils. During the meeting before the December Council, the Prime Minister spoke at length about the terrorist attacks in Paris and the migration crisis. He also spoke of the impact that a British exit from the EU would have on the internal market and said that he had entrusted the MFSA to draft a report about the ‘BREXIT’ impact on Malta’s economy, particularly the financial services sector. The main focus of the June meeting was a discussion on the Greek economic crisis and potential default on repayments.


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Examination Services / Surveys IELTS (International English 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 third party 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. 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. 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 prerequisite for students from non-English speaking countries who wish to further their education in English speaking universities and centres of higher education. 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. 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 and in 2015, IELTS Malta offered 16 test sessions for a total of 902 candidates – a 0.9 per cent increase over the preceding year. Early in 2015, the UK government chose the Malta Chamber to be one of the ten 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. Much of IELTS’ reputation can be attributed to the rigorous quality standards it demands from all its test centres. In August, IELTS conducted an unscheduled audit of the Malta centre covering all aspects of its operations ranging from centre management to results processing, records management, management of IELTS materials, as well as the customer journey. The outcome of the audit was very positive with 100 per cent compliance rating being achieved in many of the areas audited. Visit www.maltachamber.org.mt/ielts for more information.

Other Examination Services The Malta Chamber is also an approved examination centre, and

regularly conducts examinations for: Cambridge BMAT, PAT ELAT; Cambridge – University of Leiden; Institute and Faculty of Actuaries; Lloyd’s; Nebosh – RRC; The Open University in the North; The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh; and the University of Leicester.

Surveys 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 and in the applicant countries. 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 euro area economies and applicant countries. 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 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. From the very beginning of the process, the Malta Chamber had decided to partner with PWC for the provision of bespoke survey software and this relationship exists to date. In November 2015, Malta Chamber Head – Quality and Administration John B. Scicluna attended the annual workshop on business and consumer surveys, which this year was organised by the European Commission in conjunction with the OECD at the latter’s headquarters in Paris. The workshop was attended by representatives from various institutes and organisations that undertake the surveys in their respective countries throughout the EU and a number of other OECD countries. The workshop allowed participants to share their ongoing working experience, reached a conclusion for actions on further harmonisation of specific data, and included a number of technical presentations which explored the possibilities for current economic indications, as well as forecasting through the use of data gathered by the BCS.


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Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) / Administration Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) In its bid to continually identify and provide tangible value to its members, the Malta Chamber participated in a competitive bid to become an active member of the Enterprise Europe Network in 2014. This network, which is widely referred to as EEN, specifically supports enterprises in growing, creating jobs and connecting to other potential business partners. The Enterprise Europe Network is a single, coherent and collaborative European network organised at regional level and consists of consortia of host organisations established in all regions of the European Union and other countries – totalling around 54 countries – participating in the EU programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), running from 2015 to 2020 with a planned budget of €2.3bn. Its primary target audience is European small- and medium-sized businesses interested in carrying out international activities and/or engaging in innovation. The Malta Chamber was instrumental in creating a unique collaboration with other important institutions on the island to jointly create the consortium that would win and provide the necessary support to Maltese enterprises in an effective way and with the maximum outreach. As from 2015, the Malta Consortium, made up of the Malta Chamber, Malta Enterprise, Malta Business Bureau and the Malta Council for Science and Technology, after winning the bid, embarked on an ambitious work plan for the years 2015-2016 which will then extend to another four years. In this work plan, the Malta Chamber is successfully providing support to a considerable number of members and non-members who may potentially become members once a relationship has been created. The support provided includes specific services, professionally provided and free of charge, to qualifying SMEs. These include: •

Mentoring and coaching: assisting Micro and SMEs to grow their business within the EU’s internal market and beyond by maximizing the opportunities available. The assistance provided will be structured on a threefold approach, namely: (a) information; (b) advice; and (c) dedicated support.

• Maximising the utilisation of resources: ensuring that Maltese enterprises tap into the financial and non-financial opportunities that are available to further strengthen their competitiveness vis-à-vis their European and non-European counterparts. This includes the creation of internationalisation partnering activities for business cooperation through business partnerships, technology transfer and innovation. Members are encouraged to make use of this invaluable opportunity to enhance their cross border experience and business through the one-to-one assistance provided by Malta Chamber staff.

Strengthening SMEs’ feedback function: engaging in a closer relation with SMEs to ensure that dissemination and understanding of EU policies is better entrenched in an ongoing process of communication.

Providing support in participating in Horizon 2020: consolidating a synergistic link with the national contact points to ensure a more effective way of encouraging SMEs to participate and cooperate in Horizon 2020 opportunities and also enhancing their internal innovation management capacities.

The Malta Chamber encourages all its members to make use of this practical facility which is structured in such a way that its main success lays solely in, and directly to, the achievements made by the individual members making use of such opportunity.

Administration Certificates of Origin During 2015 the Malta Chamber issued 3301 certificates of origin. Maintenance Maintenance of the Exchange Buildings is ongoing with a view to constantly upgrading facilities. The major project undertaken during 2015 was the complete replacement of the toilet facilities on the second floor. Other projects included painting of various rooms and fixtures.

ISO 9001:2008 The Malta Chamber has been certified by the Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority to comply with the requirements of MSA ISO 9001:2008 since December 2010. The scope of the Malta Chamber Quality Management System (QMS) is to support, safeguard and promote the interests of members and influence the formation of policy at National and European level. 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. However, this year work also went into further development, where the need was felt to enhance the service provision of the Malta Chamber to its clients. In fact the Malta Chamber updated one procedure, and three work instructions. AR


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Public Relations and Communications


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During the year in review, the Malta Chamber continued to reinforce its strong presence and exposure within national media, as it continued to contribute to the national debate on economic and business matters. On several occasions, leading media organisations such as Times of Malta, The Malta Independent and TVM sought the Malta Chamber’s opinions on matters of national importance relevant to the business sector. Malta Chamber officials also participated in a number of current affairs and discussion programmes both on television and radio, and expressed their opinions during news bulletins. The Malta Chamber also kept its members and the public updated with its endeavours as well as with its positions and opinions, through its own media channels. During the period in review, the website of the Chamber was regularly updated with articles, and 45 press releases were issued to the media. Chamberlink was received by members a total of 52 times, including three special editions, one as a reaction to the Budget 2016 speech, and another two focusing on separate business delegations to Russia and Turkey. Seven editions of The Commercial Courier magazine were published with an eighth going to print at the time of writing. The Annual Administrative report was also sent to members well in advance of the Annual General Meeting. The Malta Chamber also reprised the very well received special edition of The Commercial Courier which was first published in December 2014. ‘Economic Vision 2016: Business. Finance. Economy.’ took a speculative stance on Malta’s expected economic performance for 2016 as it interviewed the leading decision makers of the country including the Prime Minister of Malta, the Leader of the Opposition, the Minister for Finance and the Governor of the Central Bank. The publication also reported the views of leading economists, foremost business operators and academic exponents.

The first will transform its current website into a new full-blown business portal, which is a first locally. The business portal will use the domain that currently houses the Malta Chamber’s corporate website, www.maltachamber.org.mt. The function of the current site will be included as a section within the new business portal, however for the first time, the website will include regularly updated local and foreign business content. The second project is the rebirth of the official Malta Chamber business-to-business directory, which is migrating onto an exclusively online platform and being branded as a B2B Directory. The third project will revamp and strengthen Chamberlink, a tool which has enjoyed significant success since its launch. The weekly newsletter will be given a new look and feel, using the latest technological and creative trends. The revamped Chamberlink will be open for static banner advertising for the first time since its inception, which will complement animated banner advertising in various sizes on the main business portal. AR

During 2016, the Malta Chamber is expected to take a new ambitious step in its public relations and communications efforts by launching three new digital products in collaboration with its long time media partner, Content House Ltd.

The Malta Chamber offers numerous benefits to business owners – the most obvious of which is the networking between individuals from different markets and trades that all bring their unique energy and experiences, allowing for an excellent opportunity to share tips and leads. It keeps entrepreneurs on top of important, ever-changing issues and trends in the local and international scenes, while helping companies to grow and thrive and also pursue new markets overseas. It is a very powerful network of people representing the interests of companies of all sizes. Liz Barbaro Sant, Director, Alberta Group


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Press Releases 6 February 2015 Level playing field must precede enhanced inter-island links 17 February 2015 Malta Chamber welcomes initiatives to facilitate access to finance for business 26 February 2015 Social partners deserve respect 4 March 2015 Malta Chamber discusses trade and investment promotion with Russian entrepreneurs 6 March 2015 Malta Chamber calls on MCESD to concentrate on social dialogue 6 March 2015 Malta Chamber launches North Africa Business Council 9 March 2015 Malta Chamber holds conference on the impact of TTIP in Malta 18 March 2015 Malta Chamber signs MOU with The Middle East Association of London 24 March 2015 Speech by David G. Curmi at the Malta Chamber AGM 2015 30 March 2015 Anton Borg elected Malta Chamber President 9 April 2015 Malta Chamber launches Maltese-Turkish Business Council 30 April 2015 Malta Chamber signs MOU with the Omani Chamber of Commerce and Industry 14 May 2015 Balanced decisions needed in siting healthy investment projects 19 May 2015 Malta Chamber supports internationalisation efforts by PM-led delegation to Doha, Qatar 20 May 2015 Malta Chamber welcomes assistance to businesses to acquire certification 4 June 2015 Things can only improve and improve they must 8 June 2015 Competitiveness must remain the top priority 9 June 2015 Delegation from the Qatari Businessmen Association visits Malta Chamber 12 June 2015 No straightforward matter 15 June 2015 Partner Support Agreement signed between Malta Chamber and HSBC Bank Malta 3 July 2015 Malta Chamber commends direction taken in health services sector investment 8 July 2015 Malta Chamber calls for utmost caution 10 July 2015 Malta Chamber focuses on MENA region in first of its kind event 20 July 2015 Minister Brincat praises Malta Chamber’s proactive approach 5 August 2015 Meeting between Malta Chamber, MEA and ETC officials to discuss employment of persons with disability 25 August 2015 Malta Chamber notes revised plans to locate education investment 27 August 2015 Malta Chamber and Junior Achievement Young Enterprise sign collaboration agreement 1 September 2015 Real recommendations needed for a very real problem 10 September 2015 Appreciation – Albert Mizzi 16 September 2015 Further reductions of energy and no surprises 19 September 2015 ‘Doing Business’ series launched 12 October 2015 2016 Budget Speech: A preliminary reaction by the Malta Chamber 29 October 2015 Retail industry – changing the paradigm 4 November 2015 Opportunities in eco tourism need to be identified, seized and explored further 8 November 2015 We cannot allow events interfere with relations between Malta and the Arab world 20 November 2015 Opening of ‘The Royal Family’ – an exhibition of fine china at the Malta Chamber 20 November 2015 Doing business with Japan 30 November 2015 EU Industrial Policy – Does a one-size-fits-all approach work? 7 December 2015 Malta Chamber receives award from ASCAME 11 December 2015 Publication of the Opposition’s intentions for the economy well in advance welcome 11 December 2015 Associations refute relocation of open market to upper Merchants Street 14 December 2015 The Malta Chamber follows up established contacts in Oman 15 January 2016 Speech by Anton Borg, President, on occasion of a dialogue session for members of the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry with the Prime Minister 25 January 2016 Malta Chamber welcomes findings in IMF report 5 February 2016 Malta Chamber urges timely action following EP resolution to address island-states‘ permanent handicaps


The malTa chamber of commerce, enTerprise and indusTry AnnuAL ADMInISTRATIvE REPORT 2015/16

International Scene

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The malTa chamber of commerce, enTerprise and indusTry AnnuAL ADMInISTRATIvE REPORT 2015/16

International Scene BUSINESSEUROPE

EUROCHAMBRES

BUSINESSEUROPE is the leading business lobby group in Europe. It is recognised as a social partner and it represents all-sized enterprises in 33 European countries. Its direct members are the national business federations in each respective state.

117th Plenary Assembly in Latvia

During the year in review, the Malta Chamber participated in the Council of Presidents meeting presided by BusinessEurope President Emma Marcegaglia, in April which took place in Riga, Latvia. On this occasion the Malta Chamber was represented by President Anton Borg and Director General Kevin J. Borg. The bi-annual summit of BusinessEurope, which is considered the highest decision making organ of the confederation, takes place on rotation in the country hosting the EU Presidency. The Council of Presidents was opened by BusinessEurope President Emma Marcegaglia. Addressing the meeting were also the President of the Employers’ Confederation of Latvia Vitālijs Gavrilovs and the Parliamentary State Secretary for EU Affairs Zanda KalniņaLukaševica, who spoke about the achievements and projected priorities of the Latvian Presidency. Lukaševica said that Latvia’s priorities included a competitive Europe, the digital economy, an energy union and international relations with special emphasis on TTIP and the current political situation in Eastern Europe, with special emphasis on the situation in Ukraine vis-a-vis the European Union and the rest of the world. The Maltese delegation also met with BusinessEurope Director General Markus J. Beyrer, and discussed the organisation of a number of events and conferences in Malta that would deal with important EU related matters with the full collaboration and participation of BusinessEurope. Amongst the topics of interest are the Malta Chamber’s Industrial Policy as well as competitive needs of peripheral states of the European Union. The Malta Chamber is making active preparations to host the COPRES meeting during Malta’s Presidency in 2017. To this end, the Chamber is establishing a working committee to organise the programme of this prestigious two-day event. The Committee is headed by Past President of the Chamber Helga Ellul and further composed of Past President David G. Curmi and MEG Chairman Norman Aquilina, all of whom have hands-on experience with attending past editions of this event.

Mario Spiteri and Andre Fenech participated in the EUROCHAMBRES 117th Plenary Assembly which took place in Jurmala, Latvia between 4th and 5th June. This was Mr Spiteri’s first meeting of the EUROCHAMBRES Board of Directors since his nomination. The meeting discussed the highlights and achievements of EUROCHAMBRES during the previous six months which focused specifically on the SME test implementation in member states, Burden Tracker and Economic Survey. The assembly also discussed internal administrative matters such as accounts and budgets. Delegates present also received a verbal report about the subsequent Presidency of the European Union Council which was going to be held by Luxembourg starting in July 2015. The main focus of this Presidency would remain that of overcoming the economic and financial crisis in Europe and boost growth, strengthen the Union’s capacity to deliver jobs and seize digital opportunities whilst ascertaining the Union’s position in the global scenario. The Plenary Assembly was also addressed by Latvian Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma who spoke about the importance of collaboration between European governments and the business sector and the need for further reform in the Union. Ms Straujuma had the opportunity to symbolically cut the red tape together with President of EUROCHAMBRES Richard Webber. The day continued with the EU-Central Asia Forum which included presentations from representatives from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan who had the opportunity to showcase the business opportunities that exist in these markets. EUROCHAMBRES Economic Survey For the 16th consecutive year, the Malta Chamber participated in the annual pan-European benchmarking exercise organised by EUROCHAMBRES – the Association of European Chambers of Commerce and Industry. The survey enabled the Malta Chamber to gauge its 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. Overall Maltese companies reported positive results, with turnover, profits, employment and investment all on the increase when compared to the previous year.


The malTa chamber of commerce, enTerprise and indusTry AnnuAL ADMInISTRATIvE REPORT 2015/16

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International Scene

European Economic and Social Committee (EESC)

market integration measures to be introduced across the whole of the EU.

End of Five Year Mandate

Malta’s Economy within the EU Context

2015 saw the end of the first five year mandate for Stefano Mallia as a member of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC). The EESC is a formal institution of the European Union which brings together the European representatives of employers, unions and civil society. Malta has five members from a total of 350 members representing all EU member states. Stefano Mallia sits within the Employers’ Group where he is Vice President and represents the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry.

In carrying out his work, Mr Mallia has continued to seek to promote the interests of Maltese employers by following and contributing towards the formulation of opinions on issues concerning the Maltese economy. In doing so, he has over the past year worked on issues such as tax harmonisation, the competitiveness of SMEs, the Euro-Mediterranean area as well as the EU’s Industrial Policy. On this last issue, Mr Mallia took a very proactive role whereby he sought to highlight the particular issues local manufacturing faces due to the geographical position of the island. This issue took a higher profile through a conference which was organised in Malta by the EESC’s Employers Group, during which a frank and open discussion took place between industry operators, the EESC and the European Commission.

Refugee Crisis Continues to Dominate the Agenda Following on from what took place in 2014, the European agenda in 2015 continued to be dominated by the refugee crisis which threatens to tear the European Union apart. Following on from his 2013 report, Stefano Mallia was once again tasked by the EESC to draft the Committee’s response to the Commission’s draft action plan on immigration. In undertaking this work, Mr Mallia took a very pro-active role by, amongst other things, undertaking a country mission in Italy with the aim of gathering facts on the ground on the situation at hand. The report as presented by Mr Mallia garnered very strong support within the EESC and was approved with a very strong majority. The report highlighted amongst others the need for member states to face up to their responsibilities and for stronger labour

Biggest Ever Trade Agreement 2015 saw significant progress being made in the negotiations of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the USA. This trade agreement is considered to be the most ambitious trade agreement ever to be signed and negotiations are expected to be concluded some time in 2016. Mr Mallia took an active role in following the negotiations and was appointed on the EESC’s EU-US Liaison Committee. Apart from participating in a number


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The malTa chamber of commerce, enTerprise and indusTry AnnuAL ADMInISTRATIvE REPORT 2015/16

International Scene of international conferences, Mr Mallia was instrumental in the organisation of a national conference in Malta during which TTIP was discussed. Experts and officials from the US Department of Trade, the European Commission, BusinessEurope and EuroCommerce participated together with a considerable audience hailing from the private sector and the diplomatic corps. New Five Year Mandate – Re-election as Group Vice President In July of 2015 the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry once again nominated Stefano Mallia to be its representative on the EESC for the 2015-2020 mandate. This nomination was accepted by Government and in October, Mr Mallia’s nomination was approved by the European Council. Following this appointment, during a Group I extraordinary meeting Mr Mallia was again elected as Vice President of the Employers Group.

Malta Business Bureau In 2015, the MBB achieved excellent results in its advocacy and lobbying efforts with the European institutions, while stepping up its policy work. Throughout the year, the MBB has also taken the lead on a number of EU projects and initiatives impacting the Maltese business community, enabling the organisation to continue raising its profile on both national and EU levels. EU Policy Last year, the MBB lobbied for legal amendments in Article 35 of the General Data Protection Regulation, introducing a mandatory data protection officer for the public and private sector. As a result of the MBB’s contribution, a compromise has been reached whereby enterprises that do not primarily operate in the field of data processing are exempt from the obligation to engage a data protection officer. As part of its lobbying efforts, the MBB contributed to the interinstitutional compromise between the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers for the amendment of Article 77 of the Food Safety Regulations, resulting in the ability of member states to retain the flexibility of shouldering the financial responsibility of carrying out food inspections as opposed to imposing these financial burdens upon businesses. The MBB was successful in including a number of legal amendments in the Working Document on the proposed Single Member Companies Directive; primarily the addition of provisions for the inclusion of intermediaries, safeguards for small companies, and provisions for eliminating language barriers.

As part of its new lobbying strategy, the MBB met with 62 MEPs including 45 per cent of the Legal Affairs Committee, 35 per cent of the Internal Market Committee, 20 per cent of the Civil Liberties Committee, and 15 per cent of the Environmental Affairs Committee in the European Parliament. A stakeholder consultation exercise on the implications of the Transatlantic Trade Investment Partnership (TTIP) was held in July. The sessions were held to discuss the potential implications of the TTIP on specific sectors – namely the manufacturing, financial services, pharmaceutical and healthcare, and the transport and logistics sector. The exercise was later followed by a published report on the potential impact of TTIP on Maltese enterprises. Enterprise Europe Network Following the signing of a grant agreement in March, the MBB together with the Malta Chamber, Malta Enterprise and the Malta Council for Science and Technology formed part of a local consortium to begin the implementation of the work programme for the Enterprise Europe Network in Malta. As one of the local contact points for this service, the MBB now offers its support to ambitious SMEs who wish to expand their business to another country by helping them find competent and trustworthy partners through the network. The MBB participated in the EEN Tourism and Cultural Heritage Sector Group event organised as part of the BMT Tourism Fair, held in Naples last March. MBB also attended the EEN Annual Conference held in Brussels last June – during which the Network’s targeted future milestones were set in motion. MBB’s EEN prospects for 2016 are to play an active role in facilitating a number of successful cross-border partnerships and the coordination of incoming and outgoing trade missions for driven businesses. ESF 4.245 – Innovation Leaders: Improving Knowledge on EU Direct Funds Last year, in collaboration with the European Projects Association (EPA), the MBB provided training on three EU direct funding programmes. Over a span of three cycles in March, April and


The malTa chamber of commerce, enTerprise and indusTry AnnuAL ADMInISTRATIvE REPORT 2015/16

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International Scene

June-July 2015, over 100 managers and executives received training on either one of three programmes that are mostly relevant for businesses: Horizon 2020, Creative Europe and Erasmus+. Throughout the training, several ideas were developed, 44 of which were presented to the MBB and later evaluated by a key expert. The best 15 project ideas were then selected to participate in a Brussels Study Visit in September 2015, with the aim of encouraging them to submit a project application at European level. The MBB continues to work closely with the EPA to ensure that the results obtained through this project continue to be developed by means of the coordination of a number of follow-up initiatives. Innovation through Design Following its participation in the high-level summit European Growth by Design in May 2015, the MBB was invited to become a local representative for the EU-wide Design for Europe project. Upon becoming an active project Ambassador for this project amongst other participant organisations across Europe, the MBB has forged a close working relation with the project’s main coordinator – the Design Council UK. In November, the MBB extended the project’s network to Malta by kick-starting this initiative through the Innovation through Design Conference. This brought together 140 participants from both the private and public sector and encouraged them to better understand how they could benefit from using design as a driver for innovation and growth. A creative presentation by keynote speaker Kamil Michlewski was followed by a vibrant panel debate and a demonstration from the Valletta Design Project Leader on other local design initiatives underway.

The success of the conference has led to approval of the MBB’s proposal to the Design Council and the Danish Design Centre for its support on a pilot project which introduces best practices of service design in Malta. With industry workshops delivered by an international expert in service design and the compilation of the expert recommendations and guidance in using existing design self-assessment tools, in 2016, the MBB will contribute its support in addressing local service design needs. Participant companies in this pilot project are expected to benefit from the ability to assess their business performance from a design perspective and gain knowledge on how to implement a design services approach from their business environment. A follow up seminar in which the companies may present their experiences will be held later this year, to be followed by the MBB’s presentation of Malta’s case study in the final summit due in October.


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The malTa chamber of commerce, enTerprise and indusTry AnnuAL ADMInISTRATIvE REPORT 2015/16

International Scene

Crowdfunding Platform The MBB and the University of Malta jointly set up a Foundation for the Promotion of Entrepreneurial Initiatives. The Foundation’s first initiative was the launch of ZAAR – Malta’s first Crowdfunding platform that was announced in June. Through this initiative, crowdfunding has finally become a local reality for hundreds of individuals and entrepreneurs with innovative business and project ideas but which lack the finances to make it a reality. Water and Energy Efficiency Following its participation in several Green Week sessions at the EGG Conference Centre in Brussels, the MBB was awarded the EU LIFE Best Projects 2014 Award for its successful LIFE+ Investing in Water project. Through this project, the MBB has sought to help businesses and hotels reduce their water consumption. This was done primarily through the provision of expert advice to enterprises regarding water saving opportunities present in their operations and how best to achieve them. The complementary merging of commercial interests and environmental protection has proven to be a win-win situation for all.

In mid-2015, the MBB developed a project concept to assist hotels in achieving further energy and water savings. The concept now applies to both the local and international industry. During a press event at Europe House in June 2015, the MBB presented a report on this debated concept to European Commissioner Karmenu Vella. The report, titled ‘The potential for energy and water savings within the EU through flow rate regulation and greywater treatment’ collected data from hospitality operators in Malta, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Ireland and Slovenia, and built upon the MBB’s previous assessments via its award winning EU LIFE+ Investing in Water Project. The report revealed how energy and water savings of €1.4 billion are possible for the EU hospitality industry. In August 2015, the MBB entered an agreement with the Sustainable Energy and Water Conservation Unit (SEWCU), with the aim of driving industry towards increased levels of energy efficiency. The MBB’s role was to set up a voluntary agreement framework which would lead to the signature of a number of voluntary agreements between non-SMEs and SEWCU. In this way, the MBB has facilitated the implementation of the Energy Efficiency Directive obligations for Malta in the industrial and commercial sectors. Even though the original target was 15 signatories, to date there are already 16 nonSMEs that have signed (or are committed to signing) the mentioned voluntary agreement. The plan for 2016 is to take individual initiatives that the MBB has taken on during 2015 and turn them into a balanced and integrated programme of change. AR


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The malTa chamber of commerce, enTerprise and indusTry AnnuAL ADMInISTRATIvE REPORT 2015/16

Nominees on Government Boards and other Committees BICC - Compilation of a Property Price Index Mr David Xuereb

Film Commission Consultative Council Mr Lino Mintoff

Building Industry Consultative Council (BICC) Mr Charles Zahra Mr David Xuereb

Gaming Malta Dr Simona Camilleri

Business Community Working Group Mr Hugh Arrigo Dr Hugh Peralta

Industrial Tribunals Mr Reginald Fava Ms Mary Gaerty Ms Marlene Seychell

Malta-EU Steering Action Committee (MEUSAC) Mr Mario Spiteri Mr Chris Vassallo Cesareo Mr Kevin J. Borg (alternate) Mr Andre Fenech (alternate) Maritime Malta Mr Matthew Sullivan Maternity Leave Trust Mr John A. Huber

Climate Action Fund Mr David Xuereb

Jobs+ Committee Mr Frank Farrugia Mrs Catherine Calleja

Cloud Working Committee Dr Angelo Dalli

Malta Arbitration Centre Dr Matthew Brincat

MCESD – Restructuring Committee Mr Kevin J. Borg

Corporate Responsibility Task Force (Office of the President) Mr Kevin J. Borg

Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority Mr Reginald Fava

MCAST – Board of Governors Mr Anton Borg

Crafts Council Ms Nevise Said

Malta Council for Economic & Social Development (MCESD) Mr Anton Borg Mr Frank Farrugia Mr Norman Aquilina (alternate) Mr Kevin J. Borg (alternate)

Digital Malta Government Body Dr Angelo Dalli eBusiness Awards Committee Ms Marisa Xuereb eSkills for Jobs 2015-2016 – National Contact Point (NCP) – Malta National Roadmap 2015-2016 Mr Keith Fearne Employment and Training Corporation Mr Frank Farrugia Employment Relations Board & Guarantee Fund Administration Board Mr Frank Farrugia Dr Matthew Brincat eSkills Board of Governors Mr Keith Fearne

Malta Council for Science & Technology (MCST) Board of Directors Ms Marisa Xuereb Ing. Roger Galea Malta Enterprise Board of Directors Mr Anton Borg Mr Frank Farrugia Malta Environment & Planning Authority (MEPA) Users’ Committee Mr David Xuereb Mr Charles A. Zahra Malta Statistics Authority (representing all employers) Dr Emanuel P. Delia

MCA eBusiness Awards Ms Marisa Xuereb

MCAST – Gateway to Industry Ltd – Board of Directors Mr Chris Vassallo-Cesareo MGA Joint Working Group: Outsourcing in Remote Gaming Dr Olga Finkel Dr Simona Camilleri Dr James Palmier Gonzi (alternate) Dr Angelo Dalli (alternate) Ministry for Economy, Investment and Small Business – Family Business Act Committee Mr Lino Mintoff Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Joint Stakeholders Working Council Monitoring Committee for Operational Programme I, Cohesion Policy 20072013: Investing in competitiveness for a better quality of life Mr Andre Fenech Mr Joe Tanti


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The malTa chamber of commerce, enTerprise and indusTry AnnuAL ADMInISTRATIvE REPORT 2015/16

Monitoring Committee for the Structural Funds Mr Andre Fenech Mr Joe Tanti National Accreditation Board (Malta) Mr Charles M. Mercieca Mr Adrian Zahra Ing. Noel Micallef Ing. Charles Brincat

Working Group – Cruise Liner Operations Mr Ivan Mifsud

Employers’ Nominees on Boards and Committees of the European Community (Representing all Malta’s Employers)

National Commission for Sustainable Development Mr David Xuereb

European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (CEDEFOP) Mr Mario Spiteri

National Employment Authority Mr Reginald Fava

European Community Advisory Committee on Free Movement of Workers Mr Hugh Arrigo

National R & I Strategy 2020 Steering Group Mr Anton Borg National Waste Management Plan – Stakeholders Group Mr David Xuereb Panel of Assessors Mr Louis Apap-Bologna Property Market Value Index Mr Louis Apap-Bologna Rent Index Board Mr Reginald Fava Responsible Gaming Foundation Mr George Debrincat Retail Price Index Consultative Committee Mr John B. Scicluna Sectors Skills Committee Mr Frank Farrugia Trade Malta Mr David G. Curmi Mr Frank Farrugia Mr Tonio Casapinta Valletta 2018 Foundation Mr Anton Borg Valletta Alive Foundation Mr Anthony T. Camilleri Working Committee on Pricing of Medicine Products Healthcare Sector (IEG) Pharma Sector (MEG) Pharmacist Pharmacy Owners (IEG) Working Group – Contracts (Standards) Mr Frank V. Farrugia

European Community Advisory Committee on Safety & Health Protection at Work Mr John B. Scicluna European Community Advisory Committee on Social Security for Migrant Workers Mr Hugh Arrigo European Economic and Social Committee Mr Stefano Mallia

Nominees on NonGovernment Boards and Other Committees BUSINESSEUROPE – The Confederation of European Business Mr Anton Borg BUSINESSEUROPE Entrepreneurship and SMEs Committee Mr Lino Mintoff BUSINESSEUROPE Executive Committee Mr Kevin J. Borg Conservatorio Vincenzo Bugeja Committee Mr Frank V. Farrugia Mr Andrew W.J. Mamo Mr David Xuereb EUROCHAMBRES Board of Directors Mr Mario Spiteri EUROCHAMBRES DG’s Committee Mr Kevin J. Borg

EUROCHAMBRES Strategic Committee Board of Directors Mr Mario Spiteri Eurofound Governing Board Mr Martin Borg Malta Business Foundation Mr John Vassallo Mr Charles Zahra Mr Charles Brincat Mr Mario Spiteri Malta Chamber Foundation Mr Frank V. Farrugia Mr Michael Scerri Mr Norman Aquilina Malta Community Chest Fund Mr Anton Borg Malta Trade Fairs Corporation Mr Gino Cutajar Mr Aldo Calleja Mr Mario Spiteri Mr Charles A. Zahra (Leading Rep) Maltese-Arab Chamber of Commerce Mr Frank V. Farrugia Mr Joseph Pace Stop Discrimination Campaign Mr John B. Scicluna Swiss-Maltese Chamber of Commerce Mr Reginald Fava Young Enterprise Mr Christopher Vassallo Cesareo


Malta Chamber Administrative Report 2015/16  
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