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Administrative Report 2016/17 The official annual report of the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry

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A Special Edition of the Commercial Courier Newspaper post


The malTa chamber of commerce, enTerprise and indusTry AnnuAL ADMInISTRATIvE REPORT 2016/17

Contents

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Foreword from President Anton Borg Introduction by Director General Kevin J. Borg Council of the Malta Chamber 2015/2017 Economic Groups Executive Committee Members Malta Chamber Staff Events Highlights Policy Positions 2016-2017 Relations with Diplomatic Corps Economic Groups Importers, Distributors and Retailers Economic Group Healthcare Importers Professional Community Lead Pharmacists Wines and Spirits, Beverages and Tobacco Manufacturers and Other Industries Economic Group Electrical and Electronics Food and Beverage Processors Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Plastics and Rubber Manufacturers Services Providers Economic Group Financial Services Information Technology Logistics Remote Gaming Road Contractors Shipping and Bunkering Tourism Yachting Services Policy Committees Environment and Energy Human Resources Internationalisation Marketing SME and Family Business Executive Committees – Business Sections, Policy Committees and Business Councils Malta Chamber Commissions set up by Statute Consultation Malta Council for Economic and Social Development MCESD Malta-EU Steering Action Committee (MEUSAC) Examination Services Surveys Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) Administration ISO:9001 Public Relations Media Releases International Scene BUSINESSEUROPE EUROCHAMBRES European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) Malta Business Bureau Nominees on Boards and Committees

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Publisher

Editor: Kevin J. Borg

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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 2017. Events occurring after this date will appear in the 2017-2018 report.


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The malTa chamber of commerce, enTerprise and indusTry AnnuAL ADMInISTRATIvE REPORT 2016/17


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Foreword by Anton Borg President of the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry It is my pleasure to address you through the Annual Administrative report of the Malta Chamber, as President. The past two years have been an intense and meaningful journey that I conclude in a spirit of satisfaction.

From the start, together with the then newly elected Council, we chartered an action plan that would help us plot the strategic landmarks we wanted to reach throughout our term. We devised this plan within the context of the much celebrated and widely welcomed Economic Vision for Malta 2014-2020, published during the previous term. It was abundantly clear to us that our mission was to push as hard as we could for the implementation of as many recommendations within the document as possible. It is with a sense of satisfaction, in fact, that I can report that in the past two years we have continued to tick off one recommendation after another, translating our business plan to Government from paper to action. Building on the success of Trade Malta, which has already started registering achievements, we have pushed for the setting up of the other collaborations with Government that were proposed in the Economic Vision. With the objective of promoting the internationalisation of education in Malta and attracting foreign educational entities to establish a presence in Malta, we launched Education Malta. The not-for-profit Foundation aims at primarily harnessing the present economic potential of this growing sector and providing a structure to promote investment and support to stakeholders in this sector. Similarly ICT Malta will be tasked with bringing together the best elements of the private sector and the support of Government to better explore the opportunities of this evergrowing sector. The project is at an advanced stage of implementation, as the approval from the Chamber’s members has already been achieved.


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Foreword by the President Building on the steady interest that the logistics business had been registering of late, we were once again proactive in setting up a Business Section dedicated to the previously underserved sector, in terms of giving it a unified voice to propose ideas and solutions for structured growth. Proposed in our Economic Vision the Business Section has already started to operate and has published a survey which it has carried out among interested members on the operation of the sector. The unprecedented growth of the logistics business has underlined the timeliness of the setting up of this structure within our Chamber. While striving to bring to port the projects we laid out for implementation, during this term, our Chamber also had to react to a number of major issues that were raised by third parties. The timely research and lobbying on issues that would affect the operation of members and businesses across the board, has kept our Chamber at the forefront of the political and economic scenario of the country. One major issue that we have strived to raise awareness about was the prices of energy for businesses. Directly linked to the country’s competitiveness, the prices that Malta-based businesses are still paying for their energy, remains considerably higher than that paid by their peers in fellow EU states, notwithstanding the 25 per cent reduction in tariffs as from 1st April 2015. The Chamber has argued tirelessly that considering the efficiencies gained by EneMalta and the decreasing international price of oil, the Government ought to reduce the prices of energy for businesses. This is having serious consequences on business’ cost competitiveness and is deterring investment. Championing the Chamber’s positions at the MCESD, we brought forward the interests of the country’s economy and businesses. One such subject that we discussed at length in this forum was how the national airline must never become a feeder airline for another larger structure. The state of affairs at Air Malta remains heavily shrouded in mystery which is not helping the company itself and the rest of the tourism industry. We expressed our concern on the way matters seemed to be heading at certain stages of the negotiations, and even proactively proposed solutions to the situation. We were unequivocal in saying that while dealing with the future of Air Malta, the Government must not only consider the company itself, or the tourism industry which is the central pillar of the country’s economy, but it must take into consideration its position in the entire economy of the country. Several sectors of the economy which are not in any way related to tourism, depend directly on efficient and well connected links to European cities in order to carry out their business. It is without any hint of romanticism of wishing to have the country’s own airline, that we say that if Air Malta is grounded, entire sectors will very likely be grounded too, with very serious repercussions to the economy. Also at the MCESD, we threw our weight on the debate surrounding the proposed increase of the minimum wage, which for the Chamber’s members is a matter of serious concern. In fact we studied the issue in detail and presented a position document to the same MCESD. We have always been very clear on this issue – whereas poverty ought to be tackled and eradicated, there are no quick and simple solutions, and raising the minimum wage will unfortunately only result in the generation of a ripple effect in all salary brackets, causing havoc in the country’s competitiveness.

Land-based transportation in Malta has also taken a central spot in our endeavours as more than once the Chamber was forced to voice its concerns on the grave situation which at points seemed beyond solution. We are only hopeful that finally serious decisions will be taken that will make the difference. Organising numerous events bringing together experts and operators in the field, we have said that transport requires a holistic plan that combines various modes that would provide commuters an affordable but most importantly reliable means other than their private vehicle. Though certain major projects like the currentlyunder-construction Kappara junction and the proposed Marsa junction are encouraging, unfortunately the piecemeal approach adopted thus far is only resulting in costly interventions that will not bring any real change to the depressing situation. As you will read on in this publication, we have been busy in the past year continuing to fulfil our Chamber’s mission to best represent companies from all economic sectors, ensuring that they enjoy the best competitive environment. The above issues I have mentioned are only the tip of the body of work that we carried out. We have done this in every forum and context possible. Being elected Vice President of BusinessEurope ahead of Malta’s Presidency of the EU, and participating at every BusinessEurope Council of Presidents or EU Council Tripartite Social Summit, I have promoted the interests of Maltese business and industry at a European level. I have done so at every board on which I represented the Chamber such as Malta Enterprise, and at every conference or seminar I addressed, from EY’s annual Attractiveness Conference to The Economist’s Mediterranean Leadership Summit. Accompanying the President of Malta, the Prime Minister or leading any other business delegation beyond our shores, we have sought to strengthen commercial ties between Malta and potential business partners across the globe, from Russia to Algeria. It was my honour as President of the Chamber to welcome and lead talks with leaders and decision makers from Europe and beyond such as Emma Marcegalia and Markus Beyrer of BusinessEurope, Paul Drechsler of the Confederation of British Industry and Turkey’s Prime Minister H.E. Binali Yildirim among others. From the start of my two-year stint as President, I have sought to empower the structures within our Chamber while building bridges of collaboration with all and any entities that could help us achieve our goals. I have invested all my energy to continue to build on the good that I have found, and bring about the necessary changes that were needed. At the end of these two years, I can only hope that together with the dedication of my colleagues in the Board of Management, Council, Business Councils and Economic Groups, as well as the Director General Kevin J. Borg and all the Permanent Staff, we have left the Malta Chamber perhaps slightly better than we have found it. AR


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Introduction by Director General Kevin J. Borg

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


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Introduction by Director General Kevin J. Borg The year under review was characterised by a number of milestones achieved through the joint effort of the Malta Chamber’s active members and that of the 18-strong team. Among these were the launch of our new business portal; unveiling Education Malta; a comprehensive review of the Statute; the completion of a landmark study on regional aid and position papers on other matters of economic policy; as well as the rolling out of new projects, such as the launch of a new Business Section dedicated to logistics. This, besides the organisation of a number of well-attended, high-level events for the benefit of members and a successful ISO:9001 re-classification for the organisation according to the new (2015) Quality Management Standard.

Policy and Consultation During the period under review, I oversaw the formulation of a number of policy positions adopted by the Malta Chamber and its autonomous groupings. The successful outcome of an enhanced internal mechanism for consultation involving policy committees and business sections with different interests is worth mentioning at the outset. This took place through improved coordination and resulted in a better understanding of wider complexities. Principal amongst the matters of policy tackled by our team and internal committees were the following: Budget and other Policy Consultations As is customary and in line with its mission, the Malta Chamber participated actively in the consultations leading to the National Budget for 2017 as well as in giving our comprehensive opinion after the Budget. In all instances, we called for fiscal consolidation as a primary objective to complement Malta’s relative economic strengths; as well as to make certain of a stable and competitive economic environment which could generate enough wealth to finance the social security system that our people have become accustomed to. Further to the presentation of the Budget, the Chamber acknowledged that the focus of the 2017 Budget speech concentrated on further supporting low income earners and pensioners through the redistributive role of Government. At the same time, the Chamber commented that the 2017 Budget gave secondary importance to the private sector and its primary role to finance the country’s social structures. The Chamber noted that wealth generation in the country continues to be hampered by uncompetitive industrial energy tariffs as well as by loss of productivity through the traffic situation. These hindrances are supplemented by the announced extraordinary COLA increase which, although not unaffordable, exceeded the figure calculated by the established mechanism. Of further and more urgent concern was the fact that shortly after the Budget, political forces compromised discussions with the social partners on the minimum wage issue. These discussions were regular and intense, and continued until the time of writing. During this period, the Chamber teamed up with the MEA and GRTU in an effort to present a consolidated position on behalf of all employers. Furthermore, post-Budget discussion was also characterised by the representations that were rendered necessary by Government’s persistence in replacing Eco-Contribution with excise duties on a wide range of essential products. Besides being regressive and socially unjust,

the Chamber opposed this measure because, in practice, it did not replace one tax with another but introduced an additional tax burden on responsible companies that were previously rewarded for taking active measures to recover and recycle the packaging waste they place on the market. This reward, through exemptions from Eco-Contribution, no longer applied under the Excise Duty regime. On further matters related to policy, during the year under review, the Chamber commissioned a team of world-renowned expert consultants to research the subject of EU state aid restrictions for large undertakings in industry and how these apply to small and peripheral island states. The Chamber’s intention is to present this study to the European authorities in advance of a review of the pertinent regulations in 2018, with a request for equal treatment between islands in the EU irrespective of whether these are regions or states. The formulation of the study entailed the coordination of surveys with manufacturing companies and interviews with industry leaders, experts, Government officials and authorities. The study, which was completed in January this year, quantified the added costs incurred by operators in remote small island states. It also highlighted certain inconsistencies in the treatment of various peripheral and island regions and states by the EU in its state aid regulations. Most importantly, it proposes some constructive recommendations for resolving the current situation which penalises island member states. In the process, the report quantified the risk of back-shoring, which is likely to occur in the case of foreign-owned production plants when the factors for investment become less favourable and head offices may take decisions to relocate their plant or facility elsewhere to an alternative (typically lower cost) location inside or outside of the EU. As a result of back-shoring, the study estimates that exports from Malta could drop by €451.3 million or 19 per cent. This would reduce Malta’s GDP by 5.1 per cent. The report was presented to the Prime Minister at a special event organised by the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), at the Chamber in early February.

Internal Projects Maltachamber.org.mt The Chamber celebrated an important milestone in May 2016 with the launch of its new business portal – Maltachamber.org.mt – which took its online presence to a higher level and added relevance to the organisation. In fact, the new medium is wider in scope and targets the business audience at large rather than solely Chamber members. The new portal, which is updated with business stories through the backing of a journalistic team also includes a searchable B2B directory for companies, an area reserved for blogs, international financial news, an online poll and real-time feeds from the Malta Stock Exchange. Corporate information about the Chamber and our policy positions remain a key ingredient of the medium. We are particularly proud of the traction Maltachamber.org.mt has generated since its launch. In fact, traffic figures show that it is the top business portal in Malta – and the most frequently visited business-related website (with the exception of bank websites).


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Introduction by Director General Kevin J. Borg RSM Project The Malta Chamber was proud to welcome RSM Malta as a new GoldTier Collaborating Partner alongside Bank of Valletta and HSBC Malta. Together with RSM, the Malta Chamber launched a new project which was intended to provide tangible benefit to members. The project centres around a survey on economic performance which is targeted at middle market enterprises that employ between 50 and 250 people. Official data indicates that this segment accounts for around 24 per cent of the local workforce in Malta, making it one of the larger employer sectors in the country. The survey is designed to achieve a better understanding of the economic, financial and employment factors affecting medium-sized enterprises, and it is intended that the project will eventually facilitate an online benchmarking application allowing respondents to measure their performance against sector or population averages. A conference during which survey conclusions will be published and discussed is being planned for October 2017. CHamber Statute The Chamber statute was revised after a long process of consultation by an extraordinary general meeting held on 12th September 2016. All in all, the changes were intended to render the statute more workable and complementary to the running of a modern and dynamic organisation. In fact, a number of articles which were considered to be overbureaucratic were simplified or deleted. Moreover, certain articles which were subject to interpretation were clarified in accordance with the spirit of the statute and other articles which, since the merger in 2009, were found to be contradictory and amended to ensure compatibility and coherence. The bulk of the changes made were recommended by the Statute Revision Committee appointed by Council in April 2015. Internationalisation The internationalisation activity of the Chamber this year was strengthened and refocused with a view to ensure the best value to members whilst maximising the outputs and outcomes derived from the financial and human resources available within the Chamber, complementary organisations and EU sources such as Trade Malta and the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN), of which the Chamber now forms an intrinsic part as a partner in a local consortium. EEN has the aim to bring together around 600 business support organisations from more than 50 countries, with the principal aim of helping small companies seize the unparalleled business opportunities in the EU single market. The Chamber’s Internationalisation Desk mission is based on trade consultation, supporting the activities of Business Councils and the delivery of value added services such as partnering activities, tangible contacts and information and events that promote trade cooperation which raise awareness of business opportunities that exist in markets overseas. We also support in the necessary follow-up by facilitating the pursuit of collaboration through our international counterparts.

Staff Reorganisation and Quality Management The Chamber’s new responsibilities and targeted commitments within the EEN consortium necessitated a notable degree of staff reorganisation and training. A new Internationalisation and Projects Department was set up under the responsibility of a Head, Lino Mintoff. Over the course of the year, the organisation migrated to a new Quality Management System – ISO (9001:2015) which is an update on the previous 2008 standard and more relevant to a service organisation such as the Chamber. Last November, following a full-blown threeday audit by the Standards and Metrology Institute of MCCAA, the Chamber was classified as ISO compliant under the new standard.

European Affairs and Malta’s Presidency of the European Council The Malta Chamber continued in its active participation in EUROCHAMBRES – the European Association of Chambers of Commerce representing over 20 million businesses in Europe through 45 members and a European network of 1,700 regional and local Chambers. To this end, the Chamber participated in both General Assemblies which took place over the course of the year as well as in the fourth edition of the European Parliament of Enterprises (EPE) which was held in Brussels last October. The EPE is held on alternate years in the European Parliament building and brings together over 750 businesspeople from across Europe who become MEPs for one day and engage in debate and voting on some of the most topical subjects affecting private companies at European level. Besides EUROCHAMBRES, I also represented the Chamber at the level of BusinessEurope through regular participation in Council of Presidents meetings, the Executive Committee and the Executive Bureau on which I was appointed for the duration of Malta’s Presidency of the European Council. As a result of Malta’s Presidency, it was tangibly clear that our country was put firmly on the map in terms of EU policy making. A number of high-powered delegations from prominent business organisations such as MEDEF (France), BDI and BDA (Germany), CBI (UK), Amcham Europe (USA), DEIK (Turkey) and BusinessEurope itself visited Malta and the Chamber with a view to promote their causes higher up the European agenda through the Presidency. Within this context, together with my team, I look forward to organising the Malta Chamber’s turn to host BusinessEurope’s Council of Presidents meeting, which is planned to take place in May this year. In conclusion, I thank all my colleagues at the Malta Chamber for their dedication and team-work. Under the guidance of the Board of Management, Council, Economic Groups and Committees, I look forward to another active year of service to the business community. AR


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Council of the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry 2015-2017

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

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

Hon. Legal Advisor: Dr Hugh Peralta Hon. Architect: Mr Stephen Mangion Hon. Chaplain: Fr Thomas Moore


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Economic Groups Executive Committee

Malta Chamber of

Members

Commerce, Enterprise and

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) 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

Industry – 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 Ms Johanna Calleja, Manager – Statutory Affairs and Administration Mr Edward Bonello, Manager – Communications Mr Stefan Bajada, Executive – Sectors Ms Rachel Bartolo, Executive – Projects and Internationalisation Ms Lina El Nahhal, Executive – Internationalistion* Mr Nigel Mifsud, Executive – Policy Ms Elena Scicluna, Executive – Education Mr Anthony Tanti, Examinations Clerk Ms Bernice Chircop, Accounts Administrator Ms Roberta Pisani, Office Administrator Ms Cheryl Cardona, Coordinator – Front Office Mr Joseph Fenech, Support Staff Mr Charles Maione, Support Staff *Resigned in February 2017

Photo by Luis Lopez Rodriguez

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 Martin Borg Mr Frank V. Farrugia Mr Reginald Fava Mr Charles Borg (co-opted member) Mr Aldo Calleja (co-opted member) Mr Anthony T. Camilleri (co-opted member) Mr Eman Castagna (co-opted member)


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EVENTS Highlights 1

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FEBRUARY 2016: 1. Albania-Malta Business Forum 2-3. Yachting Services Social Event MARCH 2016: 4-8. Doing Business with Vietnam 9. Tripartite Social Summit (TSS) - Integrating refugees into the labour market 10-12. Kosovo Institutional Meeting


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MARCH 2016: 13-15. Malta Chamber’s Annual General Meeting 16-18. Council Dinner with H.E. The President APRIL 2016: 19-20. Signing of MOU with Jordan Chamber 21-23. Visit by Jacek Krawczyk, President of the Employers Group within the EESC


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APRIL 2016: 24-25. Malta Chamber and RSM sign a Gold Partnership Agreement MAY 2016: 26-27. The Chamber and Other Unions Address a Conference Titled Integration Through Employment 28. Signing of MOU with Malta Industrial Parks on the Management of Industrial Estates 29. Malta Chamber President and DG attend BusinessEurope Copres 30. Visit by German MPs 31-33. Company Mission to Turkey


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JUNE 2016: 34-36. Malta Chamber Hosts the Meet Your Ambassador Event 37. GMBC Organises a Seminar to Study the Traffic Situation in Malta 38. Visit to Montenegro 39-41. Malta Chamber Holds Economic Cooperation Seminar with Poland JULY 2016: 42-44. Data Protection Commissioner Updates Members During an Info Session Organised by the Marketing Committee


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JULY 2016: 45-47. EY Launch their Annual Conference at the Malta Chamber 48. US Ambassador Visits the Chamber AUGUST 2016: 49-51. Council Meeting with the Prime Minister 52. New Logistics Committee is Elected 53. Logistics Committee meets Minister Christian Cardona SEPTEMBER 2016: 54-56. Annual Summer Drinks Organised by the Chamber at Verdala Palace


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SEPTEMBER 2016: 57-58. Extraordinary General Meeting Approves the Setting Up of Education Malta and ICT Malta 59. Malta Chamber Staff Undergo Training about Certificates of Origin OCTOBER 2016: 60-61. Malta Qatar Business Forum 62-63. Malta Qatar Dinner 64. Malta Chamber Attends EPE 65-66. Malta Chamber Organises a Seminar on Access to Finance 67-68. Malta Chamber Participates in SME Week Organising an Event Titled Digitalisation Do or Die


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OCTOBER 2016: 69-70. Launch of Education Malta 71-74. Meeting with MEDEF NOVEMBER 2016: 75. Meeting with President of EESE 76. Launch of EcoFrench Initiative 77. GMBC Holds Stamtich 78-79. Malta Chamber Participates in High Level Trade Delegation to Dubai and Abu Dhabi


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DECEMBER 2016: 80-85. Malta Chamber Organises an Information Session on Voluntary Pensions Scheme 86. Mediterranean Business Networking Forum 2016 87. Meeting with BDA Delegation 88-90. Chamber Hosts a Promotion Conference on China’s Largest Fair


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DECEMBER 2016: 91-96. Annual Christmas Reception JANUARY 2017: 97. Meeting with Representatives of the Confederation of German Industries 98. BusinessEurope Tax Policy Meeting with Minister Edward Scicluna 99. BusinessEurope DG Markus Beyrer Signs the Chamber’s Visitors’ Book 100. BusinessEurope President Emma Marcegalia and DG Markus Beyrer Meet the Prime Minister


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JANUARY 2017: 101-104. Malta Chamber Hosts a Seminar on Brexit with the Participation of Paul Drechsler, President of CBI FEBRUARY 2017: 105-107. Meeting with H.G. the Archbishop of Malta 108-112. Turkish PM Participates in High Level Business Meeting at the Chamber


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Policy Positions 2016-2017

During the year under review, the Malta Chamber was involved in formulating a number of position papers and documents pertaining to legislation with both a national and European dimension.

1. Safeguarding businesses’ RIGHT to geo-block in e-commerce As part of the Digital Single Market – E-Commerce and Content Package, in late 2015 the European Commission published proposals for a regulation to address geo-blocking and other forms of discrimination based on customers’ nationality, place of residence or place of establishment within the single market. Following detailed research into the effects of the Commission’s proposals to address geo-blocking on local businesses, the Malta Chamber and Malta Business Bureau rigorously participated in the policy making process by submitting feedback on the unique situation of Maltese businesses to the Commission, lobbying Government to push for amendments through the European Council and lobbying with influential MEPs forming part of key committees related to the dossier.

A final version of the proposed regulations remains forthcoming, however, the outcomes of numerous meetings within the European institutions during which geo-blocking proposals were discussed reliably brought promising outcomes for Maltese businesses. In its position, the Chamber called for the termination of the practice of unjustified geo-blocking in support of consumers’ open access to goods or services. However, the Chamber supports and advocates BusinessEurope’s proposals in favour of geo-blocking when a company has justifiable reasons to block the provision of the goods or services requested by the customer due to the customers’ nationality or place of residence. The proposed list of justifiable reasons for geo-blocking include different market (and price) conditions, different compliance and standards regulations, additional costs that render the provision of the service or goods costs at the customer’s location unfeasible, issues with security of transactions, contractual obligations, different VAT rates and for strategic marketing reasons.


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Policy Positions 2016-2017 The Malta Chamber believes that the adoption of a regulation that balances e-commerce consumers’ access to goods and services while also protecting business with justifiable reasons is the best compromise for a digital single market that is beneficial to all European citizens. Throughout the forthcoming year, the Chamber shall follow further developments on this policy dossier and endeavour to achieve a favourable outcome for the business sector.

clearly show that their billboards had all the necessary permits and licenses should not need to go through an application process.

2. Employment of People with Disability

4. Manifesto of Employer Priorities for Malta’s Presidency of the Council of the EU

In 2014, Government announced the enforcement of a 1969 law establishing administrative penalties for companies that do not meet a stipulated quota of employees with disabilities as a means to increase active labour market integration for persons with disabilities. Building on the Chamber’s initiatives in 2014 and 2015, 2016 saw the successful negotiation and adoption of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Malta Chamber, Jobsplus and Malta Employers’ Association. Negotiated by Deputy President Frank V. Farrugia, the MOU includes 13 points of mutual understanding and is expected to provide a solid structure within which involved parties will be able to move forward on the employment of persons with disability. The MOU was co-signed by Malta Chamber President Anton Borg, MEA President Arthur Muscat, and Clyde Caruana, Executive Chairman of Jobsplus in the presence of the Prime Minister, Minister for Employment and Education, Parliamentary Secretary for Rights of Persons with Disability and Active Aging, and Chairman of the National Commission for people with Disability (KNPD). This event was held at Castille on 24th April.

3. Billboards and AdvERTisements During the months of April and May, the Malta Chamber’s Policy Unit was busy with the impact of the recently published Legal Notice about Billboards and Advertisements. The Chamber categorically refused to accept any law which was introduced without prior consultation, especially given its direct impact on the business community. The Chamber had noted that the LN was published in the Government Gazette on 5th April, giving operators six days to comply with its provisions. During a meeting with Parliamentary Secretary Deborah Schembri, the Chamber said that it was in favour of the intention to harmonise current legislation in this area but it condemned the fact that no consultation whatsoever took place prior to the implementation of this Legal Notice. In order to conclude its feedback, the Chamber held extensive consultations with its members including a technical focus group with a large number of members on the implication of this legal notice. During the same meeting, the Chamber informed members that the imposition of a €1,500 yearly fee payable to Transport Malta on all signs, billboards and advertisements included in the law was going to be removed following interventions from the Chamber’s side. The Chamber submitted extensive feedback and proposed further amendments to the law. This included the need to simplify the application and screening process by the Planning Authority that only billboards or adverts of a certain size should be obliged to have a reference number printed on them. The Chamber further recommended that different limitations can be set according to the characteristics and surroundings of a particular location. It further stated that those operators who could

The Chamber was thereafter further involved in a meeting with the Parliamentary Secretary who showed willingness to amend the law accordingly. At the time of writing, an amended version of the law was meant to be discussed again with all stakeholders.

In preparation for Malta’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union, the Malta Chamber and other employer organisations saw fit to propose a manifesto of business-driven priorities to Government as it prepared to take on the role as the Council’s primary agenda setter. This unique opportunity, which comes once every 14 years, allows Malta to influence the EU’s agenda more than the country’s size usually permits it to. The Malta Chamber proposed three priority areas wherein swift finalisation of important dossiers or amendments to existing directives and regulations may have significant benefits for Malta and the Union’s economic growth. Firstly, the Chamber urged Government to work towards establishing a level playing field with regards to the financial aid and other compensatory measures allowed to island regions and island states. The existing regional aid guidelines stipulate island states as ineligible to benefit from compensatory measures allowed to island regions, notwithstanding the presence of the same geographic and/or economic limitations in both island states and island regions. The Chamber proposed legislative action to review the regional aid guidelines in order to allow the same compensatory measures to all remote islands in European territories as well as a review of the methodology of which regional aid intensities are calculated, as in the case of imbalanced economies, the present calculations based purely on annual GDP figures has further detrimental effects on economic sectors that are suffering. Secondly, the Presidency must endeavour to unlock the full potential offered by the single market, by smoothing over persistent non-tariff barriers to trade and protecting enterprises from suffering legislative collateral damage. Efforts to address geo-blocking in a manner that is fair to both consumers and enterprises, fostering a collaborative economy, facilitating cross border provision of services with the introduction of a service passport and further incentives for SMEs to embrace digital technologies shall ensure success for the Maltese Presidency in terms of tapping more potential offered by the single market. Thirdly, as Europe’s research and innovation lags behind other major economic blocs, it is imperative that Europe rediscovers its innovation capabilities, particularly at the level of SMEs – the backbone of the European economy. Stronger innovation performance leads to higher labour productivity, employment rates and economic growth. It is the opportune moment to implement policies and actions necessary to foster a competitive economy built on innovation. The Malta Chamber proposed the Maltese Presidency must focus on tailoring the Innovation Union to the needs of SMEs by reducing the bureaucracy involved in obtaining Horizon 2002 and SME Instrument funds and by creating an incentive framework to attract and retain talent from third countries.

5. Initiative to reduce fines incurred by delivery vehicles Over the past year, the impact of excessive road congestion has been felt by the business sector not solely in terms of lost productivity and


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Policy Positions 2016-2017 efficiency due to the traffic, delays and disruption to operations it causes, but also through the excessive number of fines being incurred by delivery vehicles that are not provided with adequate facilities to perform their duties, particularly in areas with the largest concentration of commercial operations requiring frequent services by suppliers. The Malta Chamber gathered data on the frequency and cost of fines incurred by delivery vehicles carrying out essential services for the survival of both the supplier and the purchaser, and established dialogue with relevant authorities on a viable way forward. Discussions with the Local Enforcement System Agency, led by Deputy President Frank V. Farrugia and accompanied representatives of a selection of the largest distributors, resulted in a temporary agreement that has led to a reduction in the number of fines incurred by delivery vehicles primarily in Paceville and St Julian’s. The Malta Chamber has also drafted and discussed a number of proposals aimed at ameliorating the situation in the long term. Four specific areas in and around Paceville were identified for delineation as commercial vehicle zones during business hours. Distributors agreed that, if provided with adequate area in which to stop and load/unload vehicles safely, delivery persons would be willing to affect the last leg of a delivery using trolleys. This proposal would improve the traffic flow in a highly-congested area while also reducing the excessive number of unfair fines issued to deliver vehicles.

6. The Equality Act and Act establishing the Human Rights and Equality Commission Following the announcement that Government will be proposing comprehensive bills on equality and non-discrimination in Malta, the Chamber commended ongoing efforts to strengthen the legal instruments protecting and safeguarding equality and non-discrimination of persons in Malta. Analysis of the initial draft proposals for an Equality Act and an Act establishing the Human Rights and Equality Commission, the Chamber raised a number of grave concerns and proposed suitable amendments, which, through lengthy consultation at MCESD level as well as through direct contact with the responsible ministry, were accepted and implemented. A number of concerns were related to the legislative duplication of a number of provisions seeking to protect the equal treatment and on discrimination of all individuals as a number of provisions already exist in the Employment and Industrial Relations Act, and the Civil Code amongst others. The Chamber argued how such duplication does not offer any additional protection to the rights of individuals but only serves to multiply the burden on the parties assumed guilty until proven innocent, as the aggrieved party would have numerous methods of recourse to follow.

7. The National Transport Strategy During the months of July and August, the Malta Chamber worked on its feedback in response to the Government’s National Transport Strategy 2050 and Transport Master Plan 2025, which had just been published. The Chamber welcomed the two documents, having always insisted that transportation is a value-added sector and an economic enabler for the entire Maltese economy. The Chamber carried out an extensive consultation with its members on the two documents and submissions in this regard were made to the competent authorities. The Chamber believes that the acute traffic situation in Malta is having an

impact not only on people’s daily lives, but also on the economy and the environment. The country needs a coherent, holistic, long-term strategy to permanently address the gridlocks that the country is currently facing. The 2015 study by the Institute for Climate Change and Sustainable Development from the University of Malta found that unless there are changes, Malta will experience a total of €274 million in traffic related costs a year, increasing to well over €300 million by 2020. The Chamber’s feedback therefore focused on the following principles, namely: • An economically, environmentally and socially sustainable plan • A multimodal transportation infrastructure investment plan • A stronger involvement of the private sector through PPPs or other joint ventures • A competitive regulatory and fiscal environment • A long-term vision for the country’s transport needs. The Chamber further argued that the transport plan should be drafted in sync with the Strategic Plan for the Environment and Development (SPED). The Chamber further augmented its position by proposing ideas on how to finance the multitude of initiatives proposed, proposals in relation to multimodal and alternative modes of transport and increased sea links between Malta and Europe and within internal harbours. The Chamber further proposed ideas and concepts which could have potential in the long term. As a follow-up to this discussion, the Policy unit within the Chamber organised a seminar titled ‘Transport Strategy – What’s Next?’ in collaboration with the University of Malta. The event focused on a multistakeholder analysis of Transport Malta’s Transport Strategy and Master Plan.

8. The Annual Government Budget – Proposals and Reactions Amidst a very turbulent international climate, Malta’s economy is currently experiencing strong economic growth overall and gave rise to expectations that the annual Budget would seek to distribute the wealth being generated. In the proposals discussed with Government during the pre-Budget consultation period, the Chamber advocated that the present scenario must not be taken for granted. Surrounded by realities such as a looming Brexit, terrorism and political instability in neighbouring regions, the economy may not be allowed to coast on present achievements, and that time and time again, it has been proven that positive economic performances present the opportune situation during which to prepare for less positive times. Following a vast and thorough consultation process, the Chamber’s vision and proposals for Budget 2017 focused on two overarching priorities, namely: 1) Continued consolidation of public finances 2) Implementation of policies that safeguard and enhance the many factors that contribute to competitiveness such as energy costs, adequate labour supply and transportation. Continued consolidation of public finances is of utmost importance, as having the country’s financial house in order is the main platform on which to ensure sustainable economic growth, continued job creation and improvements in the quality of life of all social strata.


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Policy Positions 2016-2017 In the field of energy, the Chamber laid out a number of viable proposals to align energy costs with rates closer to the European Union averages such as another general reduction in the rates of energy, an overhaul of the night tariff system that renders off-peak operations more attractive, a system of purchasing flexibility from a variety of sources and an energy voucher scheme proportionate to investments carried out in renewable energy sources and efficient operations. As the economy undergoes drastic reshaping, the labour market is being stretched to its limits and a number of gaps have surfaced in recent years. The Chamber supported the Making Work Pay initiatives of recent years that have resulted in increased participation rates of females and the long-term unemployed. Nevertheless, this is not enough. The Chamber stressed the rapid establishment of the Cabinet-approved National Skills Council and the vital need for a holistic skills gap analysis coupled with the necessary updates to schools’ curricula. The Chamber also stressed the need to recognise that foreigners are an essential human resource that is significantly contributing to present economic performances. A package of incentives that works to attract and retain foreigners in the national labour market is well overdue, coupled with the need for a simpler and more efficient process to obtain the required work and residency permits. Regarding transportation, the Chamber consistently insisted that transportation is a value-added sector and economic enabler for the entire economy. The acute traffic situation is negatively impacting daily lives, the economy and the environment, and initiatives taken thus far have been piecemeal. With the launch of Transport Malta’s National Transport Strategy 2050 and Transport Master Plan 2025, Government clearly understands transportation’s strategic importance requiring major investment. The guiding pillars proposed by the Chamber are to have an economically, environmentally and socially sustainable plan, based on multimodal transportation infrastructure, stronger involvement of the private sector through PPPs, a competitive regulatory and fiscal environment and a realistic long term vision of the country’s transportation needs. In a similar vein, the Chamber continually iterated the vital strategic importance of a healthy national airline. In its proposals, the Chamber also laid out a number of concrete recommendations on policies and strategies put forward to Government that, with correct and timely implementation, would preserve existing performances, sustain economic growth and improve areas of cost and non-cost factors that may hinder continued progress and prosperity for all strata of the economy and society if unchecked. Following the Budget speech delivered in Parliament on 17th October, the Chamber undertook a comprehensive analysis of all the measures and detailed its reactions. In light of impressive economic expansions and serious improvements in the standing of public finances, there was no doubt that the Budget would concentrate on further supporting lowincome earners and pensioners through redistributive policies, however, the seemingly secondary importance shown to the private sector raised significant concerns, despite its primary role in generating the economy’s wealth. The Budget did introduce a number of measures that could help the competitiveness of Maltese enterprises but by no means could these measures be considered priority areas for business. These measures were significantly outweighed by the effects of continued uncompetitive energy tariffs and a COLA figure larger than that calculated by the established mechanisms. The Budget also underlined Government’s persistence in replacing Eco-Contribution with excise duties on a wide range of essential products – a repressive and anti-social measure. The Chamber opposed this trend because companies were exempt from

Eco-Contribution if they participated in a waste management scheme. With this measure, companies must pay the excise duty as well as the fee for the waste management scheme.

9. Access to Finance Information Session Access to finance remains one of the most significant obstacles for the growth of companies. During such times of economic prosperity, many seek to expand, modernise or diversify their operations, yet are faced with numerous difficulties to secure capital from commercial banks and other sources of financing. The Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry, together with Grant Thornton, Bank of Valletta p.l.c. and Malta Stock Exchange saw fit to organise a timely information session on three diverse financing options currently available to Malta’s enterprises and entrepreneurs, held on 14th September. In one afternoon, the event condensed substantial information on the ERDF 2014-2020 Grant Schemes for Enterprises, totalling a co-financing pool of €50 million, the Bank of Valletta JAMIE Financing Package, MSE’s Prospects as well as the role of a corporate advisor in tapping these funds. AR

Relations with Diplomatic Corps Country Ambassador/Honorary Consul Turkey

Candidate for Honorary Consul to Malta in Turkey, Mr Sinan Ozer Turkey Candidate for Honorary Consul to Malta in Turkey, Mr Mehmet Derya Adiguzel Germany Ambassador of Germany in Malta, H.E. Ms Gudrun Maria Draga Turkey Consul General for Malta in Turkey, Mr Franklin Aquilina France Candidate for Honorary Consul to Malta in Marseille, Mr Michel Pezet Mexico Ambassador of the United Mexican States to Malta (based in Rome), H.E. Juan José Guerra Abud France Minister-Counsellor for Economic affairs at the French Embassy in Rome, Mr Paul Hunsinger Lebanon Honorary Consul to Lebanon in Malta, Mr Tonio Fenech Seychelles Candidate for Honorary Consul of Malta in Seychelles, Mr Antonio Rolfini Uganda Deputy Head of Mission for Uganda in Rome, Dr Mumtaz Kassam, and Honorary Consul of Malta in Uganda, Ms Nita Thakrar UAE Ambassador (designate) of the UAE to Malta, Mr Salem Issa alkattam Alzaabi Bosnia & Ambassador of Bosnia and Herzegovina to Malta, Herzegovina H.E. Zeljana Zovko USA Ambassador to the USA, H.E. Ms Glenna Kathleen Hill Uruguay Ambassador of the Oriental Republic of Uruguay to Malta, H.E. Mr Gastòn Lasarte Nigeria Candidate for Honorary Consul of Malta in Nigeria, Prof. Chris Onalo Germany Candidate for Honorary Consul of Malta in Munich, Dr Malik Englmaier France Candidate for Honorary Consul of Malta in Montpellier, Ms Henriette Gleizes Belarus Ambassador of the Repulic of Belarus, H.E. Mr Aleksandr Guryanov Spain Candidate for Honorary Consul of Malta in Galicia, Mr Gabriel Baltar Giraud Spain Candidate for Honorary Consul of Malta in Asturias, Mr Pablo Junceda Moreno Peru Ambassador of Peru to Malta, H.E. Ms Maria Elvira Velasquez Rivas-Plata Mexico Commercial Counsellor at Embassy of Mexico in Rome, Mr Oscar Camacho Vietnam Economic & Commercial Counsellor at Embassy of Vietnam in Rome, Mr Bui Vuong Anh Bangladesh High Commissioner of Bangladesh to Malta, H.E. Mr. Md. Jashim Uddin El Salvador Ambassador of El Salvador to Malta, H.E. Ms Sandra Elizabeth Alas Guidos Australia Australian High Commissioner to Malta, H.E. Ms Julienne Hince Ukraine Ambassador of Ukraine to Malta, H.E. Mr Yevhen Perelygin Indonesia Candidate for Honorary Consul of Malta in Indonesia, Mr Jonas Hudaja


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Economic Groups


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Economic Groups Importers, Distributors and Retailers Economic Group The Importers, Distributors and Retailers Executive Board continued meeting in 2016 to work on keeping members informed and abreast of relevant developments in the sector and to address any issues at a practical and policy level. The Board organised a number of presentations on matters of interest such as the Eco-Build Initiative aimed at promoting green building technology. The initiative includes the development of a website where local companies can promote green products and materials and their use in energy efficient buildings. Another issue directly relevant to the Economic Group members discussed by the Board was the European Commission’s proposals for a fully harmonised set of rules for businessto-consumer contracts concerning the online or other distance sale transactions of tangible goods. The geo-blocking practice of restricting access to products and services available online to one particular market or markets based on geographical location was also discussed by the Board in view of its implications for members. The Executive Board addressed a number of significant matters for operators in the sector such as the matter of insufficient unloading bays, particularly in commercial areas such as Sliema, Gzira and St Julian’s, which was leading to problems for goods deliveries as well as substantial costs in fines for parking contraventions. Another issue concerned changes instituted by the port terminal operator regarding re-export of trailers containing empty pallets, where clarifications were obtained

regarding the charges that such exports were being subjected to. From an employer’s perspective, the Board touched on the requirements for employment of persons with disabilities and the new arrangements regarding the maternity leave contributions and refund mechanism. The services for a new job-matching system introduced by Jobsplus and its impact on the reduction of recruitment costs also featured in the Board’s discussions. A main issue of concern for the Board and Economic Group members remained the situation of an unlevel playing field brought about by the abuse of free movement of goods. The Board had extensive discussions on the matter to identify proposals that could be made to Government to address this situation. Apart from pressing for the setting up of a unit which could take on the role of a Guardia di Finanza, and for progress in the merging of the VAT, Customs and Inland Revenue departments to enhance the identification of illegal business practices in imports, the Board felt that it should write to the Prime Minister to highlight the situation and to promote the wider use of non-invasive scrutiny technology by the Customs department to identify incoming goods which were breaching regulations including the excise tax regime. The excise tax issue also featured in the submissions which the Board and members made in connection with the Chamber’s position regarding the 2017 Budget measures. The extension of the regime to still more products was seen as further incentivising imports of goods which evaded these taxes perpetrating the unlevel playing field which such imports brought about. On a positive note, the Board welcomed efforts in the Budget which were meant to address such unfair competition.

Healthcare Throughout the year, the HealthCare Executive Committee continued to work on and further develop the channels of communication with the Central Procurement and Supply Unit (CPSU). The Executive Committee participated in ongoing CPSU consultations vis-a-vis; establishing a company profile, electronic invoicing and a revised model for High Volume Tender to create a fair level playing field for the local healthcare industry. In representation of the HealthCare Business Sections, the Executive Committee participated as speakers in the fourth Suppliers Conference 2016 organised by the CPSU in November.


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Economic Groups The HealthCare Executive Committee met with Vitals Global HealthCare to open a channel of communication to better understand Vitals Global vision for the future of Malta’s healthcare. The Executive Committee has worked closely with the Professional Community Lead Pharmacists Business Section and the Pharmaceutical Business Section on matters of mutual interest including the National Medicines Verification Organisation (NMVO) task force.

Importers The central topic of discussion for the Importers Executive Committee remained the availability of parking slots in Valletta with the issue being the diminishing number of white slots and the effect this was having on businesses operating from Valletta. During a meeting in November, the Executive Committee met Chamber DG Kevin J. Borg to discuss the role of the Importers Business Section within the structure of the Chamber. Mr Borg explained how the Importers Distributors and Retailers Economic Group and the relevant Executive Board came about after the merger between the FOI and the Chamber of Commerce and how this then led to an overlap of remit between the Importers, Distributors & Retailers Executive Board and the Importers Executive Committee.

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The Committee discussed the situation, where since both it and the Board tackled import related agendas, this often resulted in the duplication of efforts on certain issues. To strengthen the area of Importation, Wholesale and Retail, it was suggested that the ID&R

Executive Board could co-opt the members of the Importers Executive Committee to the Board; the intention being that in the March 2017 elections, the Importers Business Section would be dedicated to Retail and Wholesale and would then report on these issues to the ID&R Executive Board. The members of the Importers Executive Committee were co-opted to the Executive Board in January 2017.

Professional Community Lead Pharmacists During the course of the last year the Pharmacists Pharmacy Owners Business Section agreed to change the name of the Business Section to the Professional Community Lead Pharmacists Business Section. It was expected that the change of name would serve to widen the section’s scope and increase its membership. The proposal was approved by the Chamber’s Council. The Executive Committee was involved in discussions with Government regarding a Service Level Agreement dealing with the distribution of medicines. The agreement is yet to be concluded. In the meantime, another agreement has been signed by Government with the GRTU and the Malta Chamber of Pharmacists providing for the extension of the POYC and the introduction of a pilot project providing domiciliary deliveries. Members also discussed pharmacy regulations, in particular the direction of patients to specific pharmacies by the medical profession


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Economic Groups and other institutions or bodies for the purpose of acquiring medicines, principally when such medicines or medications are financed by public funds. The right of tenancy for pharmacists was also discussed, as well as the packaging by pharmacists of tablets into blister packs.

Wines and Spirits, Beverages and Tobacco The Wines and Spirits, Beverages and Tobacco (WSBT) Executive Committee continued meeting in 2016 and maintained a constant dialogue with the Customs Department to follow up on the agenda they brought forward from 2015. During the year, excise duties on wines, spirits, beverages and tobacco, market surveillance and declarations of imports under groupage cargo, continued to be the main priorities of the Executive Committee. The Committee also undertook to establish a channel of communication with the Customs Department through which the Chamber, on behalf of the members of the WSBT Business Section, could exchange confidential information regarding possible instances of non-compliance with Customs regulations. This contact was established in the beginning of 2017. Following a communication from the Customs department highlighting the possibility of the seizure of the whole consignment of groupage cargo in the event that an individual consignment was found to be non-compliant, particularly because of undeclared excisable goods, the Committee undertook to seek clarifications from the Department. In these efforts to minimize such a serious inconvenience to legitimate importers of goods being transported in a groupage container/trailer, the Executive Committee drafted amendments to the Customs Ordinance to address such situations. These amendments were forwarded to the Customs Legislative Framework Review Board.

With the introduction of excise tax on a considerable number of new products through the 2016 Budget measures and the concessions for deferred payment of excise tax being afforded to a number of these products, the Executive Committee held discussions with Customs to try to extend the credit period on spirits and tobacco. The matter is currently under Customs’ consideration. The Executive Committee is committed to follow through and will keep the channels of communication open. The Committee was also involved in the Chamber’s efforts to find a solution to the problem of the limited availability of un/loading bays, in the St Julian’s and Sliema area. This problem affects the Business Section members which make a large number of deliveries in the area and hence suffer from traffic contraventions as a result.

Manufacturers and Other Industries Economic Group The Manufacturers and other Industries Executive Board continued acting on the work plan structured in the first year of its appointment by focusing on promoting and safeguarding the sector’s competitiveness. The key factors contributing to this objective had been identified as the need for competitive energy costs, efficient and competitively priced transport links and effective investment aid incentives. The Board lost no opportunity to emphasise with policy makers the manufacturing sector’s vital contribution to the economy, not least through the provision of stable employment for workers across a whole range of skills and competencies, as well as the generation of a substantial percentage of the national export bill apart from the economic spill-overs into other sectors, notably through the services provided to industry. A number of meetings were held at ministerial level on specific issues as well as to ensure that the sector’s competitiveness remained at the top of the political agenda. During the year, the Board focused mainly on a number of core initiatives such as: • Continuing the dialogue with Malta Enterprise to address the impact on the attractiveness of the manufacturing sector to foreign direct investment as well as seeking ways to maintain the level of investment from the operators already on the island; • Finalising the Memorandum of Understanding with Malta Industrial Parks outlining a framework for the setting up of effective tenants associations in six identified parks as well as the funding mechanism to provide for their maintenance programme; • Following up with the authorities on the findings of the study on the maritime transport framework; • Working on making the case with the authorities regarding the need to reduce the cost of energy for the manufacturing sector; • Collaborating with academics from Belgian universities to finalise the study about the need for investment incentives to mitigate for the pressures on the competitiveness of the manufacturing sector in small and peripheral island regions and states.


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Economic Groups

Malta Enterprise The Manufacturing Economic Group continued meetings with the management of Malta Enterprise to further discuss the priority areas which have a direct impact on Malta’s competitiveness. The Board sought to convey their concern regarding Malta’s regional classification and advocated a more proactive and determined stance to identify options through which investment support could still be made available to the sector. These meetings were ongoing also in the interest of maintaining a good working relationship with this entity and to seek ways for further collaboration. Malta Industrial Parks Following changes in the management of the Malta Industrial Parks, the Manufacturing Economic Group took up again the finalisation of the Memorandum of Understanding developed in 2015 with Joshua Zammit – then CEO of MIP. In discussions with Mario Galea, who took over as CEO in February 2016, the final draft was agreed and eventually signed in the presence of MIP’s Chairman, Tony Zahra, by Malta Chamber President Anton Borg and Manufacturers Executive Board Chairman Norman Aquilina in May 2016. The MOU sets out the devolution of the maintenance responsibilities for the common areas in the six identified Industrial Parks. Its puts the onus on the respective Tenants Associations to come up with a maintenance programme and the relative budget request while the MIP would finance the cost of the approved programme. The Tenants Associations would also be able to raise funds from the tenants of their estate through a specific service charge which will cover the cost of any additional project

for the embellishment or enhancement of the services provided in the estate, following approval by MIP. The Manufacturing Executive Board organised a number of meetings for Chamber members operating in the parks covered by the MOU to assist them in setting up their Tenants Associations and help in preparations for the Service Level Agreements with MIP. Following the appointment of Karl Azzopardi as MIP CEO in October, a meeting was organised where the Board reiterated its commitment to see the MOU implemented in 2017 and possibly also eventually rolled out to other industrial estates in the islands. Maritime Transport Study In 2015, the Manufacturing Executive Board, acting on its belief that a more efficient and cost effective export and import framework could benefit the industrial sector and Malta’s economic performance, had, together with the Malta Chamber’s Shipping and Bunkering Business Section, commissioned a study to consider the impact of maritime transport related costs on the industry. The preparation of the study included a survey carried out with all the members of the Manufacturing Economic Group to collect relevant data regarding costs, volumes, destinations, competitors and other export related information and on how the situation had developed over a number of years. This data was used to complement other information obtained from desk research and other sources to come up with the study findings. The draft report outlining the findings was presented to the Board in March 2016 and was further refined following discussions with the


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Economic Groups


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Economic Groups consultants. The report, apart from providing an analysis of unitised cargo costs, considered other relevant factors such as Malta’s permanent disadvantages as an island on the periphery of the Internal Market, port work practices and charges, market access to port services and other elements which impinge on the final transport costs to the industry. The report made a number of conclusions emphasising the permanent disadvantages inherent in the island’s geographical position and the manufacturing sector’s dependence on efficient and reliable links with the European mainland. The report also noted the difficulties manufacturers face to increase producer prices while still facing growing internal transport costs compounded by inflexible port practices. Whilst per-kilometre transport costs were similar to those of manufacturers in other countries, local manufacturers were clearly disadvantaged by the time taken for their imports and exports to reach their destinations, as well as by the added costs inherent in the substantially longer distances. The Manufacturers Executive Board communicated the report to the Minister for the Economy, Investment and Small Business and to the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry whilst offering to discuss the findings and possible remedial measures. Energy Costs for the Manufacturing Industry The Manufacturers Executive Board has consistently called on Government to address another major element affecting the competitiveness of the sector, particularly in view of the more advantageous energy costs prevailing in the main competing countries. Despite the tariff reduction implemented in March 2015, the prevailing energy rates still put Maltese manufacturing at a disadvantage vis-à-vis a number of direct competitors which benefit from considerably lower official rates as well as various schemes to decrease costs even further. Throughout the year, the issue was raised by the Chamber in a number of Ministerial meetings which often included the service provider, Enemalta. In the run up to the 2017 Budget, an exercise was carried out which included a survey with the highest energy consumers being mainly manufacturers. Through this survey, the level of energy costs and consumption levels were established for these operators as a basis on which the cost of changes in tariff levels and structure could be worked out so as to provide grounds for policy decisions. Eurostat data showing electricity rates for industrial and domestic consumers in the EU member states over the previous three years were also factored into the development of a number of proposals which were put to the Ministers responsible for energy and the economy. This data shows that in all member states except Malta, the domestic rates are higher than the industrial tariffs, which are also substantially cheaper in a number of eastern European countries which are direct competitors in the manufacturing sector. Among the proposals made to Government, the Board recommended a widening of the tariff bands together with discounted tariffs on all bands, and a decrease in the threshold for night tariffs as well as offpeak tariffs. These Budget proposals were unfortunately not taken up, however the Executive Board will continue to work to ensure that this major disadvantage to Malta’s manufacturing sector’s competitiveness is addressed effectively and as soon as possible.

Analytical Study on the Competitiveness of Peripheral and Island Regions The Manufacturers Executive Board continued working on the commissioning of a study looking into the effect on the competitiveness of the manufacturing sector in peripheral and island regions brought about by their geographical position, the disadvantages of size and the distances from their main markets. The research focused on identifying solutions to mitigate for these pressures on the competitiveness of such islands and regions by putting together a case for effective compensatory measures. The team of researchers from the College of Europe in Bruges and other Belgian universities provided their terms of reference whilst the Board lobbied Government to obtain the financial backing for this project which was confirmed mid-year. The Board met with the academics a number of times and provided comments throughout the term of the study, which included two surveys in which feedback was sought from the Manufacturing Economic Group members focusing on competitiveness issues as well as on the logistics aspect if their operations. A number of meetings with individuals having relevant experience and insight in the area of research were also organised to ensure as wide a perspective as possible. The project brief for the study emphasised the need to have it finalised by the end of the year so that the period of Malta’s Presidency of the Council could be put to the best use in terms of ensuring that the subject can be put on the European agenda and presented to the right fora. The Executive Board in collaboration with the Malta Business Bureau developed a communication strategy to ensure that these objectives were reached. The study was concluded by the end of the year and was presented to the Prime Minister and other Ministers and officials in the first week of February 2017.

Electrical and Electronics The Committee continued meeting during 2016 and focused on the main objectives of the agreed work plan. Continuous Development of Human Resources The Committee continued discussing options to address the lack of availability of human resources. The common thread in discussions was the difficulty in replacing employees that leave despite the lowering of requirements to basic levels. Members also discussed the difficulties in the recruitment processes including of non-Maltese nationals, where they identified the time required for the issuing of permits as a major obstacle. The Committee also undertook to assess the training needs of Business Sector Members by circulating a short questionnaire which identified a number of training areas relevant to the sector. The response was not sufficient to take this initiative further.


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Economic Groups Promotion of the Industry as an Attractive Career Path The Committee also continued working on the objective of improving the image of the electronics manufacturing industry to dispel the negative public perception which was affecting students opting for this career path. In order to move forward on this objective, the Committee organised a meeting with MCAST CEO Stephen Cachia, followed with another meeting with a number of other officials from the College. As a result of these meetings, a Joint Working Group was established with representatives from the industry, MCAST, the Education Department and the College Career Advisors. The group met eight times and discussed initiatives addressed towards career practitioners and science teachers, towards primary and secondary students and generally towards parents and media influencers. A programme for career practitioners was developed to be delivered over three sessions as well as other similar options for science teachers. Opportunities for students to experience the operating environment in the electronics industry as well as to participate in practical laboratory sessions at MCAST and the University of Malta were explored as means to heighten the students’ interest in the sector as a career option.

Food and Beverage Processors The Food and Beverage Processing Executive Committee identified ACT No. III of 2016 (establishing and ensuring an inter-ministerial lifelong approach favouring physical education and healthy balanced diets for a healthy lifestyle and reducing the level of non-communicable diseases throughout all age groups), of the new EU Proposals on packaging and waste packaging as part of the Circular Economy Package and the issue of obesity and related national policy actions to address it (sugar tax), as one of its main priorities for 2016. Meeting with the University of Malta The Committee met the University of Malta’s Food Science Department and discussed the courses it offers in Applied Food and Nutritional Science, Nutrition and Dietetics, and Environmental Health. The Executive Committee members also discussed possible collaborative initiatives that benefit the education process of food and environmental scientists as well as the food and beverage production industry in Malta. As a result of this meeting, two main options were identified for possible action, namely that of the possibility of cooperation with the Department regarding use of laboratory facilities by the industry, as well as the possibility of providing placements with industry for students following FSEH courses. The secretariat undertook to contact Chamber members and eventually also non-members to identify companies in the sector who were able and willing to offer student placements. The required number of placements were identified and were taken up by third year students of the Food Studies & Environmental Health BSc (Hons) course in October. The Department expressed its satisfaction at the outcome of the initiative and augured that the exercise could be repeated for the next scholastic year.

Meeting with then Hon. Parliamentary Secretary Chris Fearne The Committee organised a meeting with then Hon. Parliamentary Secretary Chris Fearne in relation to Government’s stated priority to put the issue of obesity on the agenda during Malta’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union in 2017, and the Government’s envisioned strategy to tackle obesity at a national level. In the meeting, the discussion initially focused on the Advisory Council as envisaged by the Healthy Lifestyle Promotion Act (Cap 550) and the fact that the ministry responsible for the economy is not represented on this Council. The Committee also expressed their readiness to contribute to discussions in this Council. Members also expressed the opinion that the strongest tool in the fight against obesity is education rather than taxation on specific products, and agreed with the Parliamentary Secretary’s comment that the industry should be proactive and take initiatives to promote healthy lifestyles in their operations. Circular Economy Package and Other Issues The Committee discussed the EU Commission’s proposals in the Circular Economy Package. This proposal contains a number of initiatives of interest to national producers such as the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) schemes, the additional re-use targets which include packaging, as well as the promotion of deposit schemes as the solution to the littering problem. The Chamber wrote to the Ministry for Sustainable Development, the Environment and Climate Change reiterating its position on these issues. The Committee also discussed a number of issues of relevance to the sector, such as the lack of parking facilities for delivery vehicles, particularly in the Paceville/St Julian’s area; the requirements of the Billboards Legal Notice; the employers refund mechanism under the Maternity Fund scheme; the voucher system for employment of immigrant workers and the export container gross weight verification required by the SOLAS Convention.


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Economic Groups Pharmaceutical Manufacturers The Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Executive Committee met a number of times throughout the year and the main subject under discussion was the implementation of the Falsified Medicines Directive. The Committee’s Chairman also represented it in the meetings of the task force set up to identify the best option to implement these requirements. The directive requires that a legal entity is to set up in Malta with a mandate to: • study the various implementation alternatives, • establish the costs associated with each option, and • present the above to all stakeholders with a view to establishing the way forward. This process entailed discussions with a number of different parties including Government entities, with the main issue being the identification of the preferred solution, its related costs and their distribution amongst the stakeholders. Meetings were held with representatives of the European Medicines Verification Organisation (EMVO) which made available a blueprint model for the national version, and with representatives of suppliers of the repositories system, in which information was provided on the software and hardware specifications required to set up a depository to enable the verification of the authenticity and identification of medicinal products on the local

market. The task force had also worked on and approved a Memorandum of Understanding for the National Medicines Verification Organisation (NMVO) as well as on reaching an agreement on the distribution of voting rights among the various entities. The Committee also discussed the implications of Brexit on the pharmaceutical sector in Malta. The different scenarios of this eventuality, such as the effect on parallel imports of medicines and the imports of medicines licensed in another member state were discussed. Another aspect discussed was the effect on the Unitary Patent System, which includes pharmaceuticals, particularly since the UK has its own patent system.

Plastics and Rubber Manufacturers In 2016, the Committee continued to work on the identified objectives, namely: o promoting the significance of the local polymer industry and its contribution to the economy, o improving the labour pool available to the industry, o assisting members in reducing the carbon footprint of their operations, o promoting networking not only amongst members, but also other industry players in order to promote commerce amongst local operations, o serving as a platform for the promotion of new technologies in the polymer processing industry.


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Economic Groups Polymer Processing Course Over a number of meetings, the Committee discussed the possibility of cooperating with MCAST to develop a Polymer Processing Course intended to allow members to upskill their current workforce in view of the lack of suitable recruits. This work included ensuring that the course content was in line with current work practices and industry needs. The committee consequently developed a course content which addresses both the skills-gap, and also current and future technologies. The aim was to achieve a balance between theory and practice with a manageable number of hours suited to existing employees.

economy, it was important to identify new niche markets such as the logistics sector. A number of operators, albeit with different interests within the sector, felt that it would be positive to organise as a Business Section in the Chamber. The Board noted that discussions would need to take place to ensure that there was no overlap with the Shipping and Bunkering Business Section as well as the Association of Ship Agents, even though the section would cater for Logistics in its widest sense.

This work included a number of meetings with MCAST staff to discuss key elements such as the MQF level, modularity, course duration, lecturing resources, venue, cost, minimum uptake of applicants, etc.

The Board members also showed an interest in the activities of ZAAR Crowdfunding Platform and asked Karl Grech to deliver a presentation on crowdfunding. Mr Grech informed the Board that ZAAR was the first crowdfunding initiative in Malta with the aim to promote entrepreneurship and support local start-ups based on a donation/ reward crowdfunding platform. The platform was set up by the University of Malta and the Malta Business Bureau as a foundation to promote entrepreneurship in Malta. ZAAR also received the support of various entities and organisation including the Ministry for the Economy, Investment and Small Business, the Arts Council Malta, Grant Thornton as well as Junior Achievement Young Enterprise.

In November, MCAST submitted a Training Proposal for a course spread over two years at MQF3 level, with 560 hours of tuition and a minimum of 15 participants. The Committee undertook to contact the Business Section members to identify those companies interested in enrolling a number of employees in the course.

Services Providers Economic Group The Services Providers Executive Board represents a wide range of Business Sections covering members with a varied background in the services sector. This makes it imperative for the Board to keep in close contact with the Sections to ensure a good understanding of the sectoral issues and promote cooperation on any cross-cutting matters. This is achieved by inviting the Chairpersons of the Business Sections’ Executive Committees to report to Board meetings. The Board held a number of discussions on specific issues brought up by the Executive Committees such as the reputation of the financial services sector, the setting up of ICT Malta, the Eco-Contribution issue, Malta Marittima and a number of initiatives in the yachting sector One of the areas identified by the Board for action during 2016 was the promotion of the setting up of new business sections in the services sector. A number of areas were identified, amongst which were the aviation, sustainable building construction and the renewable energy sectors. This initiative was also seen as contributing to attracting new members to the Chamber. The idea of a potential new Energy Efficiency and Renewables Business Section was followed up through a communication to the Economic Group members to establish the level of interest in a new section as well as through the identification of non-members operating in the sector who could be approached in the eventuality that the Section was set up. In view of possible overlaps with the Chamber’s Energy and Environment thematic committee, a meeting was held, during which it was concluded that instead of a new business section, the objective could be better achieved through a sub-committee of the Energy and Environment Committee. This would be able to cater for members from all three Economic Groups having an interest in the sector. Another new Business Section in the Services Economic Group that was established during the year was the Logistics Business Section. The idea to promote this section was explained to the Board by Ronald Attard from E&Y who noted that with a view to further diversify Malta’s

The Logistics Business Section was set up in August 2016 and its activities are reported separately under this Economic Group.

In another meeting towards the end of the year, Matthew Caruana, Manager of the ZAAR Crowdfunding Platform, went over the details of the progress achieved by the platform as well as the plans to take the initiative forward. Mr Caruana also referred to a discussion paper published by the MFSA seeking views on a legislative framework for investment crowdfunding in Malta, and noted that a strong legislative framework could also be the means to attract other crowd funding platforms to set up in Malta. Mr Caruana also suggested that the Chamber could continue promoting the platform and extending the network of collaboration as well as possibly instigating direct individual support for specific campaigns.

Financial Services During the year in review, the Executive Committee held numerous meetings to discuss developments in the Banking Sector such as the difficulties and delays in opening bank accounts for foreign professionals, mostly due to the strict international regulations imposed on banks. The Executive Committee agreed that while it is understandable that banks are entitled to take commercial decisions, the resulting delays are sending the wrong message, which does not coincide with the ‘efficiency’ image the country is trying to convey. Furthermore, the Executive Committee also discussed delays related to the shareholders’ tax refunds mechanism. It was noted that while the maximum period of two weeks for settlement of a claim was meant to be the norm, the process was resulting in some shareholders receiving the refund after six months. The Committee felt that the industry cannot risk having any negative publicity from clients that may think that Malta does not have the funds to affect the refunds. Throughout the year, the Executive Committee also continued to closely follow the setting up of the Arbiter for Financial Services. In this regard, the Executive Committee noted that the industry was disappointed by the fact that the stakeholders’ recommendations outlined in a letter sent to the Finance Minister in 2015 were not taken on board.


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Economic Groups In October, the Malta Chamber in collaboration with the Financial Services Business Section, Grant Thornton, Bank of Valletta plc and Malta Stock Exchange co-organised an event titled ‘Access to Finance’ which served as a fruitful information session for SMEs. The event provided businesses with information and guidance on the ERDF 20142020 Schemes, the Bank of Valletta JAMIE Financing Package and the Malta Stock Exchange ‘Prospects’ programme. Brexit, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, and the announcement of the Malta Development Bank are amongst other topics that continue to be monitored by the Executive Committee.

Information Technology Early in the year, the ICT Executive Committee organised a meeting for all its members with MITA Executive Chairman Tony Sultana, with the participation of Emanuel Darmanin and Ivan Alessandro. The meeting served as an update of Government plans for E-mobility services, as well as the Procurement Outlook. The meeting also discussed the joint press release which the ICT Executive Committee issued through the Malta Chamber with MITA in March, titled ‘Local ICT Entrepreneurs key partners in Mobile Government Strategy’. In this regard, Business Section members were also presented with the plan for development of the Mobile Government Strategy. During the year, the Executive Committee continued focusing its efforts on the setting up of ICT Malta, intended to strengthen the push for internationalisation opportunities and marketing of the local ICT Industry. Following several meetings and the Cabinet re-shuffle which saw Hon. Emmanuel Mallia appointed as the new Minister for Competitiveness and Digital, Maritime and the Services Economy, the Malta Chamber put the setting up of ICT Malta on the agenda of an extraordinary general meeting of its members, during which the Chamber’s participation in ICT Malta was approved. Following Cabinet approval and the allocation of the required funding by Government, Francois Grech was nominated as Chairman and another three Chamber members as Board members. Government nominated three Board members as its representatives. Following the resignation of Keith Fearne from the eSkills Malta Foundation, Marcel Cutajar, Deputy Chairman of the ICT Executive Committee, was appointed as the Malta Chamber’s representative to serve on the foundation’s Board. The ICT Executive Committee also discussed several other topics that are ongoing issues for operators in the industry, the most pertinent of which remains the current skills gap and difficulties in recruitment in particular areas within the sector. The Committee recognised that the issue lied not only with the quantity of students graduating, which is not sufficient to meet the demand, but also the quality of their preparation. In this regard, the Executive Committee is focusing on identifying potential solutions in a bid to ensure industry expectations are met through collaborating with educational Institutions, but also with Government entities to potentially attract the human resources required from the EU or third countries if necessary.

Logistics The new Logistics Business Section was set up to meet the needs of a number of Chamber members in view of the growing importance of the sector in the Maltese economy. The election for the Executive Committee was held on 23rd August 2016, and the Committee’s first task was to gather more information about Government’s plans for the development of the Maltese logistics sector. To this effect, the Committee organised a meeting with Minister Christian Cardona to introduce the newly formed Logistics Committee and to understand Government’s policies in order to be able to work in the same direction. The Committee also sought to ensure that it would be included in consultations on decisions to be taken in the development of the sector. The Executive Committee then organised a meeting with Malta Enterprise to understand further what Government’s plans were for the Logistics Hub project and the request for proposals to design, construct, finance, operate and maintain an International Logistics Hub in the Hal Far Groupage Complex. With the insight and information in hand, the Committee organised a meeting with all the stakeholders in the industry – namely the Shipping and Bunkering Business Section within the Chamber, the Association of Ship Agents, the Association of Groupage Operators, the Association of Tractor and Trailer Operators, the Association of Air Freight Forwarders and Express Couriers – to discuss and gather the main strategic and operational issues which needed to be addressed in order to make progress in the development of the logistics sector in Malta and to ensure that the logistics hubbing project would incorporate proper planning and would form part of a national Logistics Strategy. To strengthen its position as a promoter for the logistics sector, the Committee sought to adopt an internationally recognised standard for all local logistics operators. Under the umbrella of the Malta Chamber, the Logistics Business Section was approved as an Associate Member of the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Association (FIATA). The Committee held an information session for all its members and all the associations in the industry on 1st December 2016. The Committee announced the Associate Membership with FIATA and highlighted the benefits such a prestigious international membership would bring to the local logistics sector. In the meeting, the Committee also announced plans for the introduction of its internationally recognised Standard Trading Conditions and the launch of a survey intended to establish the priority areas on which it would concentrate in its efforts to enhance the logistics sector in Malta. The survey attracted a substantial number of responses, thus amply meeting its objective.

Remote Gaming The Remote Gaming Executive Committee touched on a number of issues in its discussions during 2016. These issues included the implications of the fourth Anti Money Laundering Directive both from a legal perspective as well as from an industry viewpoint. The review of the regulatory regime by the Malta Gaming Authority was another issue considered by the Committee, as was the MGA’s consultation on the Code of Commercial Communications due to its implications for the sector.


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Economic Groups The Executive Committee also considered the possible restructuring of the Business Section in order to put in place a structure that could support the employment of personnel to lobby in the common interest of the Group, both in Malta and in Brussels. This development included the requirement for the payment of adequate membership fees to cover these expenses.

Road Contractors The Road Contractors Executive Committee continued meeting with the participation of the members of the Business Section participating under Level III of the Framework Agreement with Transport Malta. The members agreed on the need to request compensation from Transport Malta to make up for the increase in concrete costs due to the addition of Excise Duty on cement. The Committee commissioned an architect to calculate the necessary increases to the rates for concrete works and prepared a letter to the Transport Malta Chairman, copying the Director General Contracts, to submit a claim for a revision of the rates in their contracts and compensation for works completed over the previous months.

Shipping and Bunkering Representatives of the Shipping and Bunkering Business Section held a meeting with the newly formed Logistics Business Section. The main items discussed were cooperation between the sections and the proposed hubbing project for which a request for proposals had been issued. Also present at the meeting were representatives of the Association of Ship Agents and the Association of Groupage Bond Operators. A joint press release was issued in favour of the project which, it was felt, could be a valuable asset to the logistics sector. It was agreed that its successful development required good planning and centralised control. The Executive Committee continued to follow the introduction of the National Single Window (NSW). Agents have tested new software and hold regular meetings with Transport Malta in order to iron out difficulties. It is expected that the new software will shortly be in use. The Executive Committee cooperated in a study on transportation costs commissioned by the Manufacturers and Other Industries Economic Group and carried out by PricewaterhouseCoopers. The Executive Committee also discussed the proposed Ship Agents Act, conveyances, crew changes and new customs regulations.

Tourism In 2016, the Tourism Executive Committee continued meeting regularly to discuss matters of interest to the sector such as developments regarding Air Malta and the efforts to find a strategic partner for the company. On a number of occasions, the Executive Committee published its views and suggestions via press releases issued by the Chamber. The main issue on which the Committee concentrated was, however, that of the application of the Eco-Tax on tourist bed nights. This provision in the 2016 Budget provided for the imposition of a new environmental

contribution of â‚Ź0.50 per night on every tourist over 18 years of age arriving in Malta as from 1st April 2016. The contribution per tourist was meant to be capped at â‚Ź5 per visit. Following the deferment of the start date to 1st June, the Committee organised a meeting on 19th April for a number of stakeholders to discuss a reaction to the implementation of the Eco-Tax. This was attended by representatives of FELTOM, FATTA, the Malta Chamber, GTA and MAHE. The meeting discussed the main issues faced with the way the tax was being implemented and agreed on a position to communicate to the Minister and to lobby for a deferment of the starting date and to ensure a wide consultation to include all the identified concerns. Following repeated representations, a meeting was held with Hon. Minister Zammit Lewis in which the Malta Chamber and its member associations made known their views and asked for postponement of the planned implementation, so that their concerns could be addressed. When this request was not accepted, these associations together with the Malta Chamber decided to ask the Maltese Courts for a Prohibitory Injunction to stop Government from bringing the Eco-Tax into force. The basis for this request was the lack of meaningful consultation by Government with all stakeholders in deciding on the manner for implementation, as is required by the Small Business Act (Cap 512). The Court provisionally upheld the request on 30th May, and following representations by all parties, the Court came to a decision on the 9th June not to grant the prohibition because of a clause in the quoted legislation which exempted a Ministry from the requirement for a proper consultation. During the year, the Executive Committee discussed a number of other issues facing the sector, such as the difficulties faced by foreign students when applying for a Third Country National Visa to the detriment of a very important sector in the tourism industry. Because of such excessive bureaucracy, the Committee held that Malta is losing out to other European countries, and consequently held talks with Identity Malta and Hon. Owen Bonnici in a bid to find a solution.


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Economic Groups Yachting Services The Yachting Services Committee was very active during 2016 with regular meetings held to organise events, information sessions, meetings with third parties and Government entities, with the aim of building on and continuing to strengthen Malta’s reputation and performance in this sector and addressing any challenges being faced by the industry. In February, the Executive Committee held a social event for members and stakeholders. Through the organisation of such an event, the Executive Committee aims at adding to the value, services and communication with both stakeholders and existing members, and focusing its efforts on highlighting the importance of both membership retention and membership attraction. On the 23rd March, the Yachting Services Executive Committee also organised an event in collaboration with the Malta Maritime Law Association and Transport Malta regarding the compliance of the yachting sector with the Maritime Labour Convention, in which an excellent panel of speakers provided the stimulus for an interesting debate.

Photo by Renata Apanaviciene - viewingmalta.com

On 13th April, then Parliamentary Secretary for Competitiveness and Economic Growth Hon. JosĂŠ Herrera launched Malta Marittima, an agency aimed at bringing industry and Government stakeholders together to promote the continued and enhanced development of the marine and maritime industries in Malta. The Board was made up of five Government representatives coming from Transport Malta, Malta Freeport Corporation, the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture, the Regulator for Energy and Water Services and Malta Enterprise, and five private industry representatives, three of which representing the Malta Chamber including Dr Alison Vassallo (Chairperson of the Yachting Services Business Section), and one representative each from the Malta Maritime Law Association and the Malta Maritime Forum. In June, Chairperson of the Executive Committee Alison Vassallo was invited to speak at a conference organised by the Malta Institute of Management.

In May, the Executive Committee also announced its membership to the Association Alliance within the International Superyacht Society (ISS). The Alliance is composed of representatives from international associations and countries including Australia, the UK, France, the Netherlands, Italy, the USA and the Isle of Man. The Executive Committee felt that it is very important that Malta participates and is kept in the loop of such important discussions that would eventually also impact operators in the local market. The Yachting Services Business Section will be invited to attend meetings held periodically by the Alliance, and Dr Vassallo, in representation of the Executive Committee, has already participated in the Summit held on 10th September prior to the Monaco Yacht Show and a meeting in Amsterdam on 14th November prior to the commencement of the Global Superyacht Forum. During these meetings, the unique opportunities for the superyacht industry provided by Malta’s Presidency of the Council of the EU were highlighted. In July, the Executive Committee held a meeting with Yachting Malta to ensure that continuous dialogue and consultation with such an important stakeholder in the industry was maintained. The Executive Committee also held a number of meetings with Customs Controller Joe Chetcuti and Director of Excise Marisa Hewer regarding procedures for the obtainment of duty free fuel by commercial yachts following developments resulting from two ECJ rulings. The Committee also met with VAT Director Technical Frank Borg to discuss the VAT action plan for a single EU VAT area. The Committee is currently researching the developments in the VAT regime which may result in the widening of the use of the MOSS (mini one-stop shop) vis-a-vis yachting operations with a view to proposing mechanisms to attract further business to and from the island. AR


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POLICY COMMITTEES Environment and EnergY The Energy and Environment Committee met seven times and organised two events for members during the period under review, tackling numerous issues related to the greening of enterprise and promoting environmentally conscious business decisions as beneficial for a company’s bottom-line. Circular Economy Strategy – Waste Package The European Commission’s ambitious Circular Economy Strategy will have substantial effects on all operations at a local level as it aims to stimulate Europe’s transition towards a circular economy which boots global competitiveness and fosters sustainable economic growth. The circular economy strategy sets out an ambitious and concrete programme of action that seeks to close the product lifecycle loop through greater recycling and re-use of products. Having understood the overarching effects that such a strategy will have on Malta, the EEC agreed that significant efforts are to be devoted to understanding and implementing its provisions at a local level. In order to commence these efforts, the Committee was briefed by the Environment and Resources Authority’s Waste Management Unit on the strategy’s Waste Package about the resulting changes to local operations and targets. As the strategy continues to progress, the EEC and ERA agreed to consult and collaborate on environmental issues, regulations and targets that are to impact the nature and costs of business operations. Familiarisation meeting with new Minister for Sustainable Development, the Environment and Climate Change Hon. Herrera Shortly following the Cabinet reshuffle of May 2016, the EEC met with the new Minister for Sustainable Development, the Environment and Climate Change Hon. Herrera to discuss relevant matters of importance and to ensure continuity on the positions and initiatives undertaken by the outgoing Hon. Brincat. The Committee’s horizontal nature and overarching aim to advocate sustainability at the core of business operations was presented, followed by discussion on the circular economy strategy, the state of Wasteserv and private sector waste management, the local construction sector, the effects of national gridlock on the environment and the concerning lack of water conservation and water efficiency. The meeting discussed the realities that may hinder Malta’s progress to implement a circular economy and the challenges that must be overcome, as well as the areas of Wasterserv’s operations that are in harmful competition with the private waste management sector and the detrimental effects this competition is inflicting. The Committee also raised discussions on the ongoing efforts to create a national discussion on the future of transport, and the Chamber and MBB’s initiatives to promote water efficiency within the largest tourism industry establishments.

The Minister commended the Committee’s work and encouraged more fruitful collaboration between the expertise at the Committee’s disposal and the decision makers within the Ministry. Public Consultation on the updates to Malta’s Renewable Energy Action Plan The EEC analysed and provided feedback to the authorities on the proposed updates to Malta’s Renewable Energy Action Plan launched in November 2016, and provided Government with detailed feedback. The EEC noted that the updates were long overdue given that over three years ago, it became evident that the country would not meet its energy targets by 2020 due to the derailment of major wind projects that were planned to contribute significantly to Malta’s renewable energy targets. The Committee expressed concerns with the plan as a whole, as it assumes citizens’ willingness to invest in renewable energy for their households. However, as the cost of energy continues to reduce and Government continues to invest in more efficient fossil fuel energy generation, consumers feel less inclined to invest in renewable sources of energy as the return on investment is lengthy and minimal. The plan’s large reliance on significant contributions to the targets by PV panels is therefore misguided. The Committee also felt that the plan overlooked waste to energy as a significant renewable energy source. With waste to energy playing a larger role in Malta’s renewable energy mix, the country also stands to gain on a number of environmental fronts. The amounts of landfilled waste, exported waste and other leakages in the waste framework would be minimised, while a large part of the circular economy would already be operating successfully. The Energy and Environment Committee is convinced that with the cost-effective investment in the required infrastructure, waste to energy can in fact deliver a major share of the country’s renewable energy by 2020 and beyond. The EEC stressed that Malta’s policymakers must keep these realities in mind and set out plans that promise the most sustainable renewable energy supply for the coming decades, rather than easy to implement band aid measures to cover the next three years. Supporting Young Entrepreneurs Collaboration with ECO-French

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A group of established French entrepreneurs living in Malta came together to contribute to the Maltese economy by coaching young Maltese emerging entrepreneurial interest in the areas of the environment and sustainable business. This initiative led to the development of EcoFrench. The French Embassy reached out to the EEC to support Eco-French in the development of a programme aimed at supporting the development of business plans by young entrepreneurs. The EEC pledged its support and collaboration with Eco-French, and also agreed to contribute to the formation of tomorrow’s leading entrepreneurs. Eco-French was launched on Friday 18th November 2016 at the Malta Chamber by the Minster for the Environment Hon. José Herrera and under the patronage of her Excellency the Ambassador for France,


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Policy Committees Beatrice Le Fraper Du Hellen. The initiative is also supported by MEUSAC. Eco-French, represented by its Chair, Pierre Emanuel Crepin, noted that the initiative will organise a contest that will follow a format featuring young entrepreneurs pitching their business ideas in order to secure investment finance and mentorship from a panel of experienced French partners. These green business ideas will avail themselves of the extensive wealth of experience and business sense that will be provided by Eco-French. The initiative is to be based around the efficient use of resources allowing the country to maximise the opportunities the business initiative is set out to generate. €140 million Support Scheme for Large Scale Renewable Energy Investment Following the announcement that the European Commission has approved plans for a scheme to support investment in large scale renewable energy projects, the Energy and Environment Committee organised an information session for members considering investing in renewable energy. The scheme will provide operators with a premium payment exceeding the market price and was granted a budget of €140 million for the 2016-2020 period. Ing. Sandro Lauri informed members of the details pertaining to the scheme, namely the eligibility criteria, deadlines and timelines as well as the premium feed in tariffs and contractual nature of the scheme agreement. Ing. Lauri explained that the rationale behind the scheme is to set up the additional 110MW capacity alongside the existing 80MW of PV capacity which are required if Malta is to meet its 2020 energy targets. Apart from the obvious benefit that this scheme will allow Malta to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels and therefore improve air quality, the scheme will also encourage investment in green energy, providing a boost in a growing economic sector. The European Commission has approved a proposal which will give financial assistance to operators of solar and wind energy installations in Malta.

Human Resources The Human Resources Committee met five times and organised three events during the period under review, discussing a number of issues and policy areas relating to the labour market. Information Session about Jobsplus’ new Job Matching System Following the recent launch of the Jobsplus new Job Matching System, the HR Committee organised an information session for members’ human resources personnel on 27th July 2016. Representatives from Jobsplus’ Employer Relations Unit Wilma Plaehn and Marika Busuttil as well as Jobsplus’ Senior Software Developer Clint Cassar delivered an informative presentation and answered numerous queries on the steps that employers should follow in order to identify the best possible candidates for their vacancies. Attendees were informed that the Job Matching System was modelled on a similar system implemented with great success in Belgium. The innovative system matches vacancies and job seekers not based solely on experience and formal qualifications, but also on soft skills and a fully

customisable list of over 12,000 competencies. This allows employers to post highly detailed vacancies with specific lists of necessary competencies and qualifications. The efficiency of the recruitment process has thus been improved as only those jobseekers in possession of tallying competencies and qualifications will be matched with the posted vacancy. Frank V. Farrugia, Deputy President of the Malta Chamber, noted that the importance of skills and their correct application is even more pronounced in the dynamic economy we operate in today. Some skill mismatches are inevitable as the labour market involves complex decisions by employers who are often desperate to recruit. However, persistent skills mismatches and vacant positions are costly for employers, the economy and society at large. Mr Farrugia also commended the vision employed in the re-dimensioning exercise of the Employment and Training Corporation into Jobsplus. He stated that the exercise ensures the agency remains relevant in an environment where Malta’s human resources requirements have undergone, and will continue to experience, very rapid changes. Linking Enterprise – ‘Integrating Upward Feedback into Performance Management Review’ On 26th January 2017, the HR Committee organised a Linking Enterprise session on the importance of employee feedback. PricewaterhouseCoopers Malta were identified as a member company with a best practice in the area of employee feedback. Members in attendance were informed of the process, scope and benefits of PwC’s Upward Feedback Mechanism, whereby, through purpose built software, a manager can request feedback on diverse areas relevant to performance and operation from handpicked members of the team. As the request for feedback is personalised and targeted, the response rate achieved by PwC reliably exceeds expectations, generates quality feedback and eventually leads to performance and operations improvements. Members in attendance engaged with PwC’s Human Capital Department in order to gain insight into how such a system could be implemented in their particular business setups in order to generate effective improvements in the performance and workplace wellbeing of employees. Job Brokerage Offices Act The HR Committee believes that migrants and foreign workers in general are not a burden to society but rather an opportunity waiting to be tapped. At the same time the country and our labour market needs to offer migrants in particular a sense of purpose and an opportunity to grow in life, providing for their families while simultaneously reducing skill mismatches. When Government announced the proposal to establish a Job Brokerage Office, the Committee actively participated in the formulation of a position and consultation. The Job Brokerage Office seeks to regularise the temporary employment of migrant workers. Businesses or individuals will be able to purchase vouchers directly from the Office and pay the workers with the vouchers. Workers will then be able to cash in their vouchers at the same Office. The Office will also be responsible for the payment of national insurance on the workers’ behalf. The Committee and the Chamber welcome the proposal as a shortterm measure to integrate migrant workers further into the local labour


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Policy Committees market while also tackling the issue of irregular work and exploitation of workers. As demand for workers outweighs supply, the Committee’s position is wholly in favour of integrating every possible human resource into the formal labour market and offer fair opportunities to all.

with MAPFRE MSV Life, Ganado Advocates and PwC served to successfully generate significant interest in the numerous potential benefits companies stand to gain by offering voluntary private pensions to their employees.

However, the Committee noted the windows for abuse in the proposal document and recommended a number of solutions to mitigate potential abuse and exploitation of workers, stressing that the system must not become a way to circumvent labour rules. The Committee also expressed the urgent need for further cooperation between the numerous authorities and social partners to truly integrate migrant and foreign workers into the labour market and Maltese society.

Bernard Attard, Partner at PwC, provided context on the recent political and economic developments in fields of state and private pensions, while Matthew Brincat, Partner at Ganado Advocates, presented the legal aspects surrounding private pensions including relevant regulations and how a private pension functions. David G. Curmi, CEO at MAPFRE MSV Life p.l.c., explained how workplace savings are a simple and effective alternative to mandatory second pillar pensions.

Work Based Learning and Apprenticeship Act

Scott Robinson, Director at Zenith Actuarial Ltd, travelled from the UK to provide vision into the successful implementation of a similar system in the UK, and the pension freedom thus enjoyed by UK workers and pensioners after previous speakers acknowledged the UK’s system as an exemplary best practice.

The Ministry of Education and Employment developed a proposal for a Work-Based Learning and Apprenticeship Act in order to provide for the development of effective work placements, apprenticeships and internships. The proposal, based on best practices within countries with leading vocational training frameworks, was thoroughly reviewed by the HR Committee, followed by direct participation during the stakeholder consultation phase. In its essence, the Act proposes the introduction of a Government subsidy to bridge the gap between the learner’s income and the minimum wage rate, establishing the rights and obligations of learners as employees for the duration of the work-based learning part of the training programme, and creating the governance structure for trainees and employers. The HR Committee welcomed the proposals for a Work Based Learning and Apprenticeship Act announced in November 2016. In its feedback, the Committee expressed that the Act is a long overdue development in the modernisation of Malta’s education. The Committee stressed that seamless collaboration between this Act, the National Skills Council and continued investment in the modernisation of education institutions and teaching methods is vital so as to “contaminate education with as much reality as possible” (Hon. Minister Bartolo, Employee Skills Gap Survey Conference, July 2016) for the benefit of the labour market, and hence the economy. As demand for labour continues to vastly outweigh supply and the national skills gap widens, members of the HR Committee positively noted that such relevant initiatives are being taken to counter this worrying trend that will otherwise threaten Malta’s continued economic growth. Better governed work-based learning, apprenticeship and internship opportunities shall serve to equip a larger portion of tomorrow’s workforce with essential workplace skills that are otherwise unobtainable from traditional education, thereby increasing employability and productivity. While numerous employers have continually recognised the value of their investments to offer opportunities to students, interns and apprentices over recent years, the HR Committee shall endeavour to encourage more of the Chamber’s members to offer such opportunities. Voluntary Occupational Pension Schemes – Instruments and Incentives for Employers Following Government’s announcement to offer fiscal incentives to employers offering voluntary private pensions to their employees, the HR Committee saw fit to drive a national discussion on the matter. A conference held on 2nd December, organised in collaboration

In conclusion, a panel discussion chaired by HR Committee Chairperson Catherine Calleja engaged HR practitioners from Simonds Farsons Cisk, GO, UNIBET and BOV on whether implementation of voluntary private pensions will be considered. The panel also discussed the benefits of an opt-out system as opposed to an opt-in system, resulting in agreement that the opportunity to tailor-make schemes according to a company’s needs will ensure more widespread implementation of such workplace savings systems.

Internationalisation 2016 saw new additions to the Internationalisation Desk within the Malta Chamber of Commerce. Lino Mintoff was appointed Head of Projects and Internationalisation as of January 2016, and Rachel Bartolo was appointed Executive Projects and Internationalisation as of September 2016. The Malta Chamber, through its Internationalisation Desk, supports its global vision by providing initiatives and events, raising awareness and facilitating the pursuit of collaboration with other international organisations to foster business growth for its members, to achieve the following goals: 1. Assisting members to participate in partnering activities that develop and foster business growth through internationalisation. 2. Promoting and providing business opportunities in markets that give tangible economic growth to members. 3. Fostering the development of international trade cooperation through appropriate institutions. 4. Maintaining excellent relations with international institutions that share similar aspirations for business growth through international cooperation. 1. The Internationalisation Survey This is a database which bases itself on an ongoing survey. The Internationalisation Desk identifies Malta-based companies which are engaged in international activities and conducts interviews with them. The data gathered identifies the countries in which the company does business, as well as the countries in which they 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.


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Policy Committees 2. 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. 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. Brokerage Events 8-10 March 2016 – ITB 2016 Five Maltese companies held B2B meetings at the international matchmaking event held during the ITB Fair in Berlin, the world’s leading travel trade show. This event was organised by EEN partner in BerlinBrandenburg, and targeted a wide spectrum of start-ups, companies, universities, researchers and clusters from all over Europe interested in expanding their business and sharing new project ideas in the tourism sector. 26-27 May 2016 – Match4Industry Seven Maltese businessmen participated in the Match4Industry matchmaking event held within the SANTEK Industry and Technology Fair. The matchmaking event was organised by Enterprise Europe Network partner ABiGEM East Marmara in Kocaeli, with the support of the Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Turkey and the Kocaeli Chamber of Industry. The Match4Industry matchmaking event included a dedicated space within the fair where one-to-one meetings took place over the course of two days. The participating countries included Turkey, Malta, the Netherlands, Bulgaria and Hungary. The Maltese entrepreneurs held pre-scheduled B2B meetings with entrepreneurs from the participating countries. The delegation also visited the TOSB Automotive Supplier Industrial Park and the Ford manufacturing plant as a leading automotive company in Kocaeli. 20-21 October 2016 – Meet @ K 2016 Four Maltese companies participated at the matchmaking event held during the K Fair, the world’s leading trade fair in Plastics and Rubber, in Dusseldorf, Germany. Participants were able to set up pre-arranged one-to-one meetings according to their co-operation interests. 18 meetings were held by the Maltese companies in total. The program included matchmaking and networking events, direct search for business partners via EEN’s network of stakeholders, presentations/workshops by experts in the sector, a guided tour at the fair to regional companies and company visits within the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. 15-17 November 2016 – MEDICA 2016 MEDICA 2016 international matchmaking event was organised by Enterprise Europe Network partner ZENIT GmbH in Dusseldorf, Germany. Three Maltese companies participated and held 23 B2B meetings. The aim of this event was to assist enterprises, universities and research institutions in finding partners in Europe for product development, manufacturing and licensing agreements, joint ventures or other types of partnership. This international healthcare matchmaking event at MEDICA fair has been taking place for more than 15 years.

Company Missions 8-11 June 2016 - Company Mission to Montenegro A delegation of Maltese entrepreneurs formed part of a state visit to Montenegro led by the President of Malta, H.E. Dr Marie Louise Coleiro Preca. The delegation attended a Malta-Montenegro Business Forum, which was organised and coordinated by the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry and the European Enterprise Network (EEN). The 20 Maltese companies forming part of the delegation came from the construction and real estate sector, tourism, alternative energy and business materials sectors. The Business Forum was attended by H.E. The President of Montenegro Filip Vujanovic, the President of Malta and officials from both countries, including the Minister for Foreign Affairs Hon. Dr George Vella and Minister of Environment, Sustainable Energy and Climate Change Hon. Dr José Herrera and other senior officials. The forum was also addressed by Vice President, Tonio Casapinta. Over seventy B2B meetings followed, during the networking session, with the Maltese companies continuing their follow-up contacts the following day. Incoming Delegations 10 November 2016 - Piemonte Business Breakfast Meeting: Introducing Novelty in Interior Design As part of the Malta EEN Consortium, the Malta Chamber in collaboration with the Piemonte Agency for Investments, Export and Tourism, organised a matchmaking meeting between Maltese and Italian companies under the Services and Retail Sector Group. An Italian delegation of front-liners in interior design, highlighted the latest in design, innovation and technology. The Business Breakfast meeting was followed by 42 individual B2B meetings and visits to Maltese companies where requested. Business Councils Asia Pacific Business Council • Mr Ian Mizzi, Mizzi Holdings – Chairman • Mr Pierre Attard, CMA CGM Malta Agency Ltd • Mr Bernard Bartolo, KSI Malta • Ms Dorien Bianco, Toly Products Ltd • Mr David Biron, Airsped Express Ltd • Mr Nick Callus, Computer Domain Ltd • Mr Kenneth Camilleri, Chetcuti Cauchi Advocates • Mr Tonio Casapinta, Casapinta Design Group • Mr Chris Curmi, Deloitte • Ms Josette Gera, Easy School of Languages • Mr Devid Melillo, Foster Clark Products Ltd • Mr Anthony Micallef, Office Group • Mr Nicholas Zahra, Alpine Holdings The Asia Pacific Business Council was set up in 2016 as a result of increasing interest shown by Maltese companies in this region. During the first few meetings of the Asia Pacific Business Council, it was agreed by the Committee members to focus on specific countries at a time. It was agreed to start with Japan, China and Vietnam. The Japan Committee was the most active committee in 2016. With the assistance of H.E. Andre Spiteri, Ambassador of Malta to Japan, this committee held regular meetings and discussed a number of issues and matters related to Malta-Japan trade relations. This included promoting


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Policy Committees Malta’s visibility in Japan, the Working Holiday Agreement and the EUJapan Free Trade Agreement. Members of the Japan Committee • Mr Anthony Micallef, Office Group – Committee Chairman • Mr Bernard Bartolo, KSI Malta • Mr Vincent Bezzina, Endeavour Internet Business Solutions Ltd • Mr Roger De Gaetano, Link School of English • Ms Josette Gera, Easy School of Languages • Ms Tomie Makita, Richmoore & Anderson Ltd • Mr Ian Mizzi, Mizzi Holdings • Ms Kumi Seino, Japan to Malta Tourism • Mr Marco Spiteri Binett, Sullivan Maritime Ltd • Ms Akiko Takahashi, Easy School of Languages Events: • 9 June 2016: ‘About Japan’ Cross-Cultural Workshop German-Maltese Business Council • Mr Armin Eckermann, Eckermann Partners – Chairman • Mr Simon Alden, Bavarian Technology Systems • Ms Adrienne Buedinger, Lufthansa German Airlines (Malta) • Mr Ruben Cuschieri, Seifert mtm Systems Malta Ltd • Mr Matthias Fauser, Playmobil (Malta) Ltd • Mr Michael Farrugia, Simonds Farsons Cisk p.l.c. • Mr Edward Micallef, World Express Logistics Ltd • Mr Ivan Mifsud, Mifsud Brothers Ltd • Ms Marisa Xuereb, Raesch Quarz (Malta) Ltd The German-Maltese Business Council has been very active in 2016, focusing mainly on sustainable mobility and organising a series of two events. The first event was dedicated to setting the scene and assessing the current transport situation. Local experts were invited to identify and address the different aspects that are affecting the transport situation in Malta, be they social, economic or sustainable. The second event focused on ideas/solutions that the private sector can implement to contribute to fixing the transport and traffic issue in Malta, as well as ideas and proposals for the Maltese government to implement. During this event, short-, medium-, and long-term solutions and ideas were proposed. Events & Meetings: • 8 March 2016: German Maltese Networking Event with Tim Kriegeskorte, Operations Manager of IBG Malta • 24 May 2016: Meeting with German Members of Parliament • 8 June 2016: Towards Sustainable Mobility in Malta – Part 1 Setting the Scene • 29 September 2016:Towards Sustainable Mobility in Malta – Part 2 Business Opportunities in Alternative Transport • 13 October 2016: Meeting with delegation from Export Club Bavaria •21 November 2016: German Maltese Networking Event with Hon. Dr Ian Borg, Parliamentary Secretary for EU Funds and 2017 EU Presidency and Ambassador Victor Camilleri, Executive Director Programming and Training of the 2017 EU Presidency Maltese-Turkish Business Council • Dr Mark Bencini, Valletta Legal – Chairman • Mr Roger De Gaetano, Link School of English – Vice Chairman • Mr George Barbaro Sant, Alberta Fire and Security • Mr James Bonavia, Deloitte • Ms Sarah Borg, HBM Malta Ltd • Mr Ray Calleja, Strand Palace Agencies Ltd • Mr Tonio Cini, Liberty International Malta Ltd

• • •

Mr Mustapha Gulen, Carisma Spa Mr Charles Mercieca, Brands International Ltd Mr Simon Mifsud Bonnici, PriceWaterhouseCoopers

The Maltese Turkish Business was launched on 9th April 2015 following an interest from our members in the Turkish market. Since its launch, this Business Council has engaged in meeting key stakeholders and initiating contact with Turkish counterparts. In 2016 the MTBC welcomed a delegation from DEIK, Turkey’s Foreign Economic Relations Board in April. A Company Mission to Istanbul and Kocaeli was also organised in May. A delegation of seven Maltese businessmen visited Istanbul and were hosted by DEIK. In Kocaeli, the delegation participated in the Match4Industry matchmaking event that was held within the SANTEK Industry and Technology Fair. The matchmaking event was organised by Enterprise Europe Network partner, ABiGEM East Marmara in Kocaeli, with the support of the Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Turkey and the Kocaeli Chamber of Industry. The Match4Industry matchmaking event included a dedicated space within the fair where one-to-one meetings took place over the course of two days. The participating countries included Turkey, Malta, the Netherlands, Bulgaria and Hungary. The Maltese entrepreneurs held pre-scheduled B2B meetings with the entrepreneurs from the participating countries. The delegation also visited the TOSB Automotive Supplier Industrial Park and the Ford manufacturing plant as a leading automotive company in Kocaeli. Events: • 22 April 2016:Visit by Turkish Maltese Business Council within DEIK • 24-28 May 2016: Company Mission to Turkey Middle East Business Council • Mr Tonio Casapinta, Casapinta Design Group – Chairman • Mr Peter Frendo, Mondium Ltd – Vice Chairman • Ms Liz Barbaro Sant, Alberta Fire & Security • Mr Ivan Cachia, QP Management Ltd • Mr Joseph Camilleri, PriceWaterhouseCoopers • Mr Sarmad Qazi, BPC International • Mr Mark Vassallo, Servgroup Ltd • Mr Ravi Viroomal, Sovereign Trust (Malta) Ltd • Dr David Zahra, David Zahra & Associates Advocates The Middle East Business Council has been extremely active since its establishment and has been constantly engaged in meeting key stakeholders in government, organisations, institutions and private companies with the aim of promoting and facilitating business linkages between Malta and the Gulf region. In October 2016, the Middle East Business Council welcomed a delegation led by H.E. Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Bin Faisal Al Thani, Chairman of Al Faisal Holding and the Qatari Businessmen Association, during a Malta-Qatar Business Forum which was organised at the Malta Chamber. The Middle East Business Council participated in a number of Business Delegations to Qatar in 2012, 2014 and more recently in a visit to Doha which was led by Malta’s Prime Minister in 2015. The Business Forum was also addressed by Al Faisal International for Investment CEO Michael Anthony Collis, Malta Enterprise CEO Mario Galea, Trade Malta Chief Officer Joe Schembri and FinanceMalta Head of Business Development Ivan Grech.


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Policy Committees Events & Meetings: • 29 March 2016: Roundtable meeting with local stakeholders with a view to evaluate action taken in these last three years to create further visibility for Malta in the Middle East. • 29 April 2016: Meeting with Dr Roberta Metsola, Member of the European Parliament • 5 October 2016: Malta-Qatar Business Forum held on the occasion of the visit of H.E. Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani, Chairman of Al Faisal Holding. North African Business Council Members interested in this Committee: • Mr Simon Alden, Bavarian Technology Systems – Chairman • Mr Tonio Casapinta, Casapinta Design Group – Vice Chairman • Mr Tonio Briffa, MIB Insurance Agency Ltd • Mr Joseph Cutajar, MIB Insurance Agency Ltd • Mr Mario Duca, 2M Management Consultancy Ltd • Mr Anthony Farrugia, Cyber Pass Ltd • Mr David Fenech, Medelec Switchgear Ltd • Mr Ivan Mifsud, Mifsud Brothers Ltd • Mr John Naudi, PB Group • Mr Roberto Pachi, Ghada Security • Mr Edward Papps, FCM Travel Solutions • Mr Sandro Pecorella, Multi Packaging Ltd • Mr Alexei Sciberras, Motherwell Bridge Industries Ltd • Mr Patrick Spiteri Staines, Attard & Co (Industrial) Limited • Mr Sami Arebi, Computime Ltd • Mr Saviour Zammit, Medelec Switchgear Ltd In 2016, meetings were held with the Embassy of Egypt in Malta and possible collaboration in 2017 was discussed. There are also plans to organise institutional visits to Tunisia and Morocco in 2017 to explore both markets, identify the main sectors of each market and, consequently, identify potential trade exchanges. Scandinavian Business Forum Malta • Dr Mark Fenech, Fenech & Fenech Advocates – Chairman • Mr Neville Cutajar, 3a Malta Limited • Mr Karl Diacono, Fenech & Fenech Advocates • Dr Gege Gatt, ICON Studios Ltd • Mr Christer Gustafsson, Maltaqua Limited • Mr Pierre Mifsud, EMD Advisory Services Ltd The following are other activities organised by the Internationalisation Desk in 2016: •28 March 2016: Malta-Kosovo Institutional Meeting and signing of MoU with Kosovo Chamber of Commerce. • 31 May 2016: Doing Business with Bulgaria in collaboration with the Embassy of Bulgaria in Rome. • 3 June 2016: Malta Chamber participated in Meet Your Ambassador event organised by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs at Fort St Angelo. • 23 June 2016: Polish – Maltese Economic Cooperation Seminar on the occasion of the visit by H.E. Ms Jolanta Janek, Ambassador of Poland to Malta and National Chamber of Commerce. • 19 July 2016: Malta-Russia Institutional Meeting held on the occasion of the visit by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation. • 14 December 2016: Promotional Conference on the 121st session of the China Import and Export Fair, in collaboration with China Foreign Trade Centre and the Economic and Commercial Counsellor’s Office at the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Malta.

Outgoing Business Delegations and Internationalisation Trips A number of outgoing business missions were organised in 2016 by Trade Malta, the national trade promotion agency, as well as the Malta Chamber. Trade Malta 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 overseas. In 2016, there were outgoing business missions to the following destinations: 16-19 January 2016: Tirana, Albania Mr Anton Borg, Business Delegation led by Trade Malta 10-13 April 2016: Amman, Beirut Jordan, Lebanon Mr Anton Borg, Business Delegation led by Trade Malta 08-11 June 2016: Montenegro Mr Tonio Casapinta, Mr Lino Mintoff, Company Mission led by Malta Chamber 20-25 November 2016: Dubai, Abu Dhabi, UAE Mr Tonio Casapinta, Business Delegation led by Trade Malta The following are seminars and meetings organised abroad: 11-13 April 2016: Dubai, UAE Mr Frank V. Farrugia, Mr Tonio Casapinta, Annual Investment Meeting 12-14 July 2016: London, UK Mr Tonio Casapinta, Meeting with Libya-British Business Council 20-22 July 2016: Berlin, Germany Mr Frank V. Farrugia, Mr Tonio Casapinta, Meeting with GermanAfrican Business Association 13-16 November 2016: Mr Lino Mintoff, Enterprise Europe Network Annual Conference 23-25 November 2016 Mr Frank V. Farrugia, Mr Lino Mintoff, SME Assembly 2016 Incoming Business Delegations Throughout the year, a number of foreign delegations came to Malta on business-related missions, be they institutional visits, delegations of businessmen or politically led missions. The following are some of the delegations that we have received this year at the Malta Chamber: 28 March 2016: Working visit led by H.E. Ms. Atifete Jahjaga, President of Kosovo 22 April 2016: Visit by DEIK, the Foreign Economic Relations Board of Turkey 10 May 2016: Visit by delegation led by Mr Mohamed Benamore, President of Algiers Chamber, Algeria 30 May 2016 22-24 June 2016: Visits by delegation led by H.E. Ms. Jolanta Janek, Ambassador of Poland to Malta, Poland 18-22 July 2016: Visit by delegation led by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation, Russia 2-8 October 2016: Visit by delegation led by H.E. Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani, Chairman of Al Faisal Holding, Qatar


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Policy Committees 14 December 2016: Visit by delegation led by China Foreign Trade Centre, China MoUs signed The Malta Chamber continuously cooperates with its counterparts and business organisations in other countries with the aim of strengthening its relations with them, collaborating in bilateral events and delegations as well as keeping 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 2016, the Malta Chamber had the opportunity to sign cooperation agreements with the following Chambers and business associations: •12 February 2016: Annual Investment Meeting, UAE • 28 March 2016: Kosovo Chamber of Commerce • 11 April 2016: Jordan Chamber of Commerce • 10 May 2016: Algiers Chamber of Commerce and Industry • 14 December 2016: China Foreign Trade Centre Meetings with Stakeholders and the Diplomatic Corps One of the declared objectives of the Desk is to work closely with stakeholders, especially Trade Malta, Malta Enterprise, Finance Malta, relevant ministries and the diplomatic corps in Malta as well as that of Malta abroad. The Internationalisation Desk is also represented at the Joint Stakeholders Working Council of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs by Tonio Casapinta, Vice President of the Malta Chamber. Monthly meetings are held during which stakeholders discuss market strategies, outgoing and incoming delegations, as well as events.

Marketing Throughout the year in review the Marketing Committee within the Malta Chamber continued to contribute to the development and recognition of the marketing profession, to help businesses to embrace the marketing function, to set standards in the same profession, offer guidance on marketing matters to the Malta Chamber, and promote an ethical approach and best practices in marketing. As part of its endeavours, the Marketing Committee organised a seminar on issues tied to data protection and how these may affect the marketing operation of a business. The seminar was addressed by Information and Data Protection Commissioner Saviour Cachia who explained how the protection of personal data in relation to the processing of such data is a fundamental right within the European Union. On the same occasion, Malta Chamber President Anton Borg said that the event was yet another case of the Chamber providing its members with the proper tools and foresights in an array of subjects, central to their operation, not less the ever-increasingly challenging area of marketing.

Providing a context to the talk, within the Marketing Committee’s strategy, Chairman Louis Olivieri noted that data protection and marketing are two elements that go hand in hand. He said that proper adherence to legislation, not least Data Protection norms, helps to build a relationship with customers, based on communication, trust, respect for privacy and engagement. Currently, the Marketing Committee is in the process of organising a company mission to Marketing Week Live in London. The aim of this mission is for participants to acquire knowledge, obtain exposure about the latest marketing trends and for local marketing professionals/executives to possibly meet international counterparts congregating at this event.

SME and Family Business The SME Committee continued to meet in 2016 and retained its focus on procurement issues in the interest of facilitating the participation of smaller enterprises in the public procurement process. The Committee organised an information session in which the Department of Contracts gave a presentation outlining the main changes in the procurement regulations brought about by the transposition of the relevant Directives through the Legal Notices 351, 352 and 353 of 2016. One of the main changes of these regulations is the new role of the Contracts Department, which has assumed the role of regulator rather than that of an operator of the public procurement process. Apart from this decentralisation process, other developments are the changes to the appeals process intended to address the possibility of abuse and the exclusion process for companies found to be non-compliant with a number of other regulations such as those related to employment, social security contributions and tax evasion. The Committee also organised a number of presentations for its members on such topics as the BoV JAIME Financing package, the EU funding SME Instrument and the Horizon 2020, and the Malta Stock Exchange’s new Prospects instrument to facilitate the listing on the exchange for smaller enterprises. To further promote the digitalisation of businesses the Committee organised a Conference in connection with the SME Week entitled ‘Digitalisation – Do or Die’. The similar theme of the use of social media by enterprises was the topic of another conference while the Committee also organised information sessions for Chamber members on the subjects of the container gross weight verification requirements in the SOLAS Convention, the implications of the new Union Customs Code and the initiatives envisaged in the EU Commission’s VAT Package. AR


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Executive Committees Business Sections, Policy Committees and Business Councils Electrical and Electronics Mr Simon Alden – Chairperson Dr Ing. Conrad Pace – Deputy Chairperson Ing. Anthony Galea Mr Stefan Farrugia Mr Joseph Gingell

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

Financial Services Mr David Zahra – Chairperson Mr James Bonello – Deputy Chairperson Mr Mark Richard Hogg Mr George Mangion Mr Michael Scerri Mr Kenneth Farrugia (co-opted)

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

Food and Beverage Processors Mr Stephen Bonnici – Chairperson Mr John Sammut – Deputy Chairperson Mr Benjamin Brincat Mr Joseph Pace HealthCare Mr Paul Apap Bologna – Chairperson Mr Marcel K. Mifsud – Deputy Chairperson Mr Robert Magri Ms Vanessa Said Salomone Mr David Stellini

Professional Community Lead Pharmacists Mr Reginald Fava – Chairperson Ms Marisa Dalli – Deputy Chairperson Ms Eliza Vella Ms Pierina Zammit (co-opted) Remote Gaming Dr Olga Finkel – Chairperson Dr Angelo Dalli Mr George Debrincat Dr James Palmier Gonzi

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

Road Contractors Mr Vincent Borg – Chairperson Mr David Bonnici – Deputy Chairperson Mr Mario Agius Mr Joe Vella

Information and Communications Technology Mr Francois Grech – Chairperson Mr Marcel Cutajar – Deputy Chairperson Mr Ruben Azzopardi Mr Roland Scerri

Shipping and Bunkering Mr Peter Sullivan – Chairperson Mr Alfred Pace – Vice Chairperson Mr Edward Houlton Mr Stephen Parnis-England Mr Thomas Sullivan Mr Matthew Sullivan (co-opted)

Logistics Mr Robert C. Aquilina – Chairperson Mr David Fleri Soler – Deputy Chairperson Mr Hugh Arrigo Mr Pierre Attard Mr Ronald Attard

Tourism Business Section Mr Ian Fitzpatrick – Chairperson Ms Genevieve Abela – Deputy Chairperson Mr Alan Arrigo Mr Ivan Mifsud Mr Joseph Attard (co-opted) Mr Iain Tonna (co-opted)

Wines, Spirits, Beverages and Tobacco Mr Alexander Arrigo – Chairperson Mr Tarcisio Piscopo – Deputy Chairperson Mr Stephen Ellul Mr Stephen Rausi Mr Pierre Stafrace Yachting Services Dr Alison Vassallo – Chairperson Mr Niki Travers Tauss – Deputy Chairperson Mr Peter Fiorini Lowell 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 Perit David Xuereb – Chairperson Mr Godwin C. Micallef – Vice-Chairperson Ing. Charles Cuschieri Ing. Mario Schembri Ing. Adrian Vigar Mr Adrian Mallia Ms Mary Gaerty Mr Mark Bajada Mr Nigel Mifsud Human Resources Ms Catherine Calleja – Chairperson Ms Antoinette Caruana Mr Ray Debattista Mr Jonathan Ferrito Ms Alexia Frendo Ms Ruth Farrugia Mr Michel Ganado Ms Monica Incorvaja Dr Matthew Brincat Mr Nigel Mifsud Internationalisation Mr Tonio Casapinta (Chairperson) Mr Kevin J. Borg Mr Lino Mintoff Marketing Mr Louis Olivieri – Chairperson Mr Morgan Parnis Mr Chris Vassallo Cesareo Mr Edward Bonello


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SME and Family Business Mr Frank V. Farrugia – Chairperson Ms Liz Barbaro Sant – Deputy Chairperson Mr Alfred Attard Mr Franco Azzopardi Mr Etienne Borg Cardona Mr Charles Farrugia Mr Andrew W.J. Mamo, Mr Marcel K. Mifsud Mr Kynan Muscat Scerri Mr Chris Vassallo Cesareo Mr William Spiteri Bailey Mr Anton Spiteri CHAMBER ADMINISTRATIVE COMMITTEES COPRES Organising Committee Ms Helga Ellul – Chairperson Mr Norman Aquilina Ms David G. Curmi Mr Kevin J. Borg Ms Johanna Calleja Statute Revision Commission Mr David G. Curmi – Chairperson Mr Matthias Fauser Mr Reginald Fava Mr Stefano Mallia Mr Kevin J. Borg Ms Johanna Calleja Business Council Executive Committees Asia Pacific Business Council Mr Ian Mizzi – Chairperson Mr Pierre Attard Mr Bernard Bartolo Ms Dorien Bianco Mr David Biron Mr Nick Callus Mr Kenneth Camilleri Mr Tonio Casapinta Mr Chris Curmi Ms Josette Gera Mr Devid Melillo Mr Anthony Micallef Mr Nicholas Zahra

Members of the Japan Committee (sub-Committee of the Asia Pacific Business Council) Mr Anthony Micallef – Chairperson Mr Bernard Bartolo Mr Vincent Bezzina Mr Roger De Gaetano Ms Josette Gera Ms Tomie Makita Mr Ian Mizzi Ms Kumi Seino Mr Marco Spiteri Binett Ms Akiko Takahashi

German-Maltese Business Council Mr Armin Eckermann – Chairperson Mr Simon Alden Ms Adrienne Buedinger Mr Ruben Cuschieri Mr Matthias Fauser Mr Michael Farrugia Mr Edward Micallef Mr Ivan Mifsud Ms Marisa Xuereb

Maltese-Turkish Business Council Dr Mark Bencini – Chairperson Mr Roger De Gaetano – Vice-Chairperson Mr George Barbaro Sant Mr James Bonavia Mr Tonio Cini Mr Mustapha Gulen Mr Charles Mercieca Mr Simon Mifsud Bonnici

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Middle East Business Council Mr Tonio Casapinta – Chairperson Mr Peter Frendo – Vice-Chairperson Ms Liz Barbaro Sant Mr Ivan Cachia Mr Joseph Camilleri Mr Sarmad Qazi Mr Mark Vassallo Mr Ravi Viroomal Dr David Zahra

North African Business Council Mr Simon Alden – Chairperson Mr Tonio Casapinta – Vice-Chairperson Mr Sami Arebi Mr Tonio Briffa Mr Joseph Cutajar Mr Mario Duca Mr Anthony Farrugia Mr David Fenech Mr Ivan Mifsud Mr John Naudi Mr Roberto Pachi Mr Edward Papps Mr Sandro Pecorella Mr Alexei Sciberras Mr Patrick Spiteri Staines Mr Saviour Zammit

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


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Malta Chamber Commissions set up by Statute Electrical and Electronics Commercial Agents Commission (Statute Art 11.1) Mr Charles A. Zahra – Chairperson Mr Anthony T. Camilleri Mr Josie Ellul Mercer Mr Frank V. Farrugia Electoral Commission (Statute Art 6.1) Mr Josie Ellul-Mercer – Chairperson Mr Louis Apap Bologna Mr Victor Camilleri Mr Michael Cutugno

Conflicts Resolution Panel (Statute Art 10.1) Dr George Hyzler – Chairperson Mr Victor A. Galea Mr Mario Duca Mr Joe Pace Mr Michael Scerri Ethics and Disciplinary Commission (Statute Art 8.2) Mr Albert P. Mamo – Chairperson Mr Louis Apap-Bologna Mr Louis A. Farrugia Mr Martin Galea Mr Michael Scerri


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Consultation

Malta Council for Economic and Social Development MCESD The MCESD met on 17 different occasions between February of 2016 and February of this year. The Malta Chamber is represented by 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 MCESD and social dialogue restructuring, amendments to the ETC legislation, the Equality Act, the Caritas report entitled ‘A Minimum Essential Budget for a Decent Living’, crowdfunding, discussions on the minimum wage and related measures based on the outcomes of the latest Household Budgetary Survey and Retail Price Index, as well as the future of the national airline. In September, the Council also had the opportunity to hold a fullday meeting with the Minister of Finance during the Pre-budget consultation phase. All the different social partners, including the Chamber had the opportunity to present the main highlights of their pre-budget submissions and recommendations. (More information about the Malta Chamber’s submissions can be found under the Policy Positions section)

During the latter part of 2016, the Malta Chamber through its Director General, was involved in a sub-committee made up of employers’ representatives whose main aim was that of establishing a position in relation to the calls to increase the minimum wage. The Chamber through Andre Fenech was directly involved in a sub-committee focused on data and statistics which met on a number of occasions with the National Statistics Office to discuss which data was missing and required by social partners. The NSO officials also had the opportunity to go into detail on which data is collected and published.

The Chamber was also actively engaged in discussions about the future of Air Malta within the Council. The Chamber reiterated its position in favour of strategic alliances for the airline with a view to render the national airline financially viable. Any alliance must keep the entire perspective of Malta’s economic scenario well in focus. The Chamber stated that business and tourism in Malta need direct connectivity to Europe. Tourism markets are best served when direct flights are present. Malta cannot risk becoming fully dependent on other airlines to sustain entire markets within the tourism industry. Sectors such as diving, language schools and the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events (MICE) have sustained local operators throughout the shoulder months for years. The MCESD also met on two occasions to discuss the implications of the Equality Act and the establishment of the Human Rights and Equality Commission. The Chamber participated actively in these discussions and presented its submissions to Government. (More information about the Chamber’s recommendations can found in the Policy Positions section.)

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The Malta Chamber in collaboration with the MEA and GRTU worked jointly to come up with a single position about a possible increase to the minimum wage. The three organisations prepared a document in response to the research carried out by MCESD in which they voiced their concern that increasing the minimum wage would not eradicate poverty but directly impact Malta’s competitiveness. The three organisations stated that the MCESD report showed that it was doubtful whether raising the minimum wage was the ideal measure to solve poverty. The report itself suggested that it would be more meaningful to use more direct and targeted measures. The three bodies clearly stated that the main issue was not of raising the minimum wage but rather the spiral effect this would trigger on wages across the board. At the time of writing discussions to determine a compromise between all social partners is ongoing.


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Consultation During the December discussion, the PM together with Parliamentary Secretary Ian Borg officially presented the programme of the Malta Presidency of the Council of the EU for the first time. The PM then explained that Europe was at a crossroads experiencing difficulties from all sides, and made reference to Brexit and the increase in oil prices as a result of OPEC’s policy change. He also delved into the issue of migration from Syria and North Africa.

Malta-EU Steering Action Committee (MEUSAC) During the period under review the MEUSAC Core Group met on nine different occasions. Malta Chamber Council member Christopher Vassallo Cesareo and Mario Spiteri, Chairman of the Services Providers Economic Group represented the organisation whilst Andre Fenech acted as their substitute. During these meetings, a number of issues were discussed including the National Reform Programme, assistance to tap EU funding opportunities for social partners, Malta’s upcoming EU Presidency in 2017, BREXIT, European Pillar of Social Rights.

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The core group also had the opportunity to hold two meetings with the Prime Minister to discuss the agenda prior to the June and December European Councils. During the meeting before the June Council, the Prime Minister spoke at length about the impact of Brexit on Malta, especially in view of the fact that the UK would most probably invoke the exit clause during Malta’s six-month Presidency. He said the Maltese Government had been preparing for a Brexit scenario and conducted several studies in the run-up to the referendum to address issues in certain sectors which may be affected as a result. Furthermore, the PM stated that while the UK should be given a fair deal, it should be made clear that not being a member of the EU is a disadvantage.

During the March joint MCESD-MEUSAC meeting with the Minister of Finance different stakeholders had the opportunity to discuss the National Reform programme. Minister Scicluna explained how the Government was addressing the European Commission’s Country Specific Recommendations (CSRs) and initiatives underway to meet the targets. He remarked how the inflow of investment, improved labour market conditions and low inflation rate led to a real GDP growth of 6.3 per cent in 2015. On the CSR dealing with education, initiatives were being undertaken to improve the basic skills of both students and teachers, to reduce the number of early school leavers and to promote the continuous professional development of teachers. Referring to pension reform, another of the CSRs, Minister Scicluna stressed Government’s commitment to progress with ongoing reforms by gradually implementing a number of recommendations proposed by the Pensions Strategy Group. The Minister mentioned incentives for individuals who invest in third pillar pension schemes and also announced a working group tasked with recommending fiscal incentives for employers opting to introduce occupational pensions on a voluntary basis.


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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 confirms 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 in the last few years and in 2016 IELTS Malta offered 18 test sessions for a total of 901 candidates. 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. Additional information pertaining to the IELTS test can be sourced at www.maltachamber.org.mt/ielts

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.

The Malta Chamber’s Survey Work The Directorate General for Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN) conducts regular harmonised surveys for different sectors of the economies in the European Union (EU) and in the applicant countries. The objective of these surveys is to gauge perceptions and expectations of operators in their respective sectors. Internationally, these surveys serve as a lead and timely indicator of actual performance and the data gathered is used to build composite indicators to track cyclical movements, both in specific sectors and also in the economy as a whole. However, they are not meant to substitute official data on the performance of the sector. Emphasis is on short-term performance rather than on structural issues which would require more in-depth study. The programme allows for comparisons among different countries’ business cycles and has become a recognised tool for monitoring the evolution of the EU and the euro area economies, and applicant countries. 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 Pricewaterhousecoopers for the provision of bespoke survey software and this relationship exists to date. In November 2016, Malta Chamber Head – Quality and Administration John B Scicluna attended the annual workshop on business and consumer surveys, which was organised by the European Commission in Brussels. The workshop was attended by representatives from various institutes and organisations that undertake the surveys in their respective countries throughout the EU. 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 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). The Enterprise Europe Network is the world’s largest support network for small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) with international ambitions. It has 3,000 experts across 600 member organisations in more than 60 countries. Member organisations include chambers of commerce and industry, technology centres, and research institutes. The role of EEN is to help SMEs to internationalise. This is done through the various services that EEN offers which include advisory support, partnering, organising company missions and brokerage events, as well assisting in applying for EU funds and internal auditing. In 2016, the Malta Chamber participated in two sector group meetings, co-organised four brokerage events, organised one Company Mission, and hosted one incoming delegation, through the Enterprise Europe Network. Services and Retail Sector Group Meetings The Malta Chamber, as part of the Enterprise Europe Network, actively participated in two Services and Retail Sector Group meetings that were held in Malta and in Brno, Czech Republic on 14-15th April 2016 and 4th October 2016 respectively. The Sector Group is a delegation of business experts from various countries that come together to offer tailored support for services and retail companies with the aim to help them innovate and grow internationally. The meetings discussed challenges and strategic initiatives that are being organised in Malta and on a pan-European level by combining international business expertise with local knowledge. The Sector Group meetings presented Network partners with a platform to stimulate the exchange of best practice and knowledge and foster innovation in traditional services and retail companies. The Malta Chamber also coordinated a visit to the Malta Life Sciences Park during the Services and Retail Sector Group meeting which it organised in Malta, in an effort to promote and enhance co-operation between companies, research centres and universities.

Administration Staff Rachel Bartolo transferred from the Sectors Department to become Executive – Projects and Internationalisation in August 2016. Stefan Bajada joined the Chamber to become Executive – Sectors, while Roberta Pisani became Office Administrator in June 2016. Certificates of Origin In September 2016, all the staff at the Malta Chamber participated in a three-day training course on Certificates of Origin. Martin Van Der Weide, Deputy Chair of the International Chamber of Commerce Certificate of Origin Council and Certificate of Origin Manager at the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce travelled to Malta to deliver the training. In January 2017 David Gauci, Country Manager from Saybolt delivered a presentation on Petroleum Operations in which all staff participated.

The processing of Certificates of Origin is an important service offered by the Malta Chamber and Chambers of Commerce throughout the world. The purpose of the training was to reinforce and consolidate the Chamber’s knowledge and expertise, to update staff on recent developments and also to prepare for the next step which will be the introduction of electronic certificates and the Chamber forming part of the International Chamber of Commerce Accreditation Chain. During 2016 the Chamber issued a total of 2640 Certificates of Origin. Maintenance Maintenance work at the Exchange Buildings is constantly required and carried out on a regular basis. Major projects undertaken during 2016 included the refurbishment of three rooms in order for them to be of greater use to the organisation. Additional flagpoles were placed on the façade of the building. The Chamber flag together with the national flag and the flag of Valletta 2018 Foundation are hoisted every morning.

ISO:9001 Since December 2010, the Malta Chamber has been certified by the Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority (MCCAA) to be in compliance with the requirements of MSA ISO 9001:2008. A revised version of the 2008 standard was released by the International Standards Organisation on 23rd September 2015. Changes introduced in the 2015 revision are intended to ensure that ISO 9001 continues to adapt to the changing environments in which organisations operate. Some of the key updates include the introduction of new terminology, restructuring of some of the information, an emphasis on risk-based thinking to enhance the application of the process approach, improved applicability for services and increased leadership requirements. The objective of the Malta Chamber Quality Management System (QMS) is to support, safeguard and promote the interests of members, influence the formation of policy at national and European level, and to ensure effective support services. The QMS is designed to provide documented procedures and a control mechanism to assure the quality of its service, provide controls for the prevention of non-conformities, and assure consistent delivery. In 2016 the Chamber’s management and permanent staff worked hard and in unison to update its QMS to comply with the latest ISO version. 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. In December 2016 the Malta Chamber was re certified by the MCCAA on the latest ISO version 9001:2015.


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Public Relations and Communications 2016 was a very important year for the Malta Chamber as it launched Malta’s first business news portal on Monday 2nd May. The Chamber, along with its exclusive media partner Content House Group, launched an unprecedented package of online products that filled a gap in Malta’s online scenario with quality business oriented content.

The Malta Chamber business portal, www. maltachamber.org.mt, is the first business portal of its kind in Malta and is providing readers with regular business news from Malta and around the world, as well as updates about the work of the Malta Chamber. The business portal is a source of quality content for every business person in Malta who is interested in staying up to date with current business affairs, business opportunities and leading opinions. This was also complemented by a new business directory – Malta’s first official business directory, which is user friendly, intuitive and interactive, making it easy for users to exploit the benefit of listings on the directory. The third product in this portfolio was the revamping of the weekly newsletter Chamberlink. The newsletter was redesigned to reflect the ambitious goals that the Malta Chamber wants to achieve through its renewed online presence, and to offer readers a quality experience, delivered directly to their inboxes on a weekly basis.

Throughout the year in review, the Malta Chamber also continued to reinforce its strong presence and exposure through traditional media channels namely TV and leading newspapers, as it continued to contribute to the national debate on economic and business matters. The Malta Chamber also kept its members and the public updated with its work as well as with its positions and opinions, through its own media channels. During the period in review 55 press releases were issued to the media. Six editions of The Commercial Courier magazines were published. The Annual Administrative report was also sent to members well in advance of the Annual General Meeting. The Malta Chamber also produced a third special edition of The Commercial Courier in December 2016. ‘EV/2017’ featured comments by Malta’s leading politicians including the Prime Minister, Leader of the Opposition, spokespersons for finance from both sides of the house, leading economists and other commentators about their verdicts on 2016 and their ambitions for 2017.


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Press Releases 15 January 2016 21 January 2016 5 February 2016 19 February 2016 29 February 2016 7 March 2016 10 March 2016 18 March 2016 15 April 2016 18 April 2016 20 April 2016 28 April 2016 2 May 2016 3 May 2016 5 May 2016

Speech by Anton Borg, President, on the occasion of a Dialogue Session for members of the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry with the Prime Minister Malta Chamber welcomes findings in IMF report Malta Chamber urges timely action following EP resolution to address island-states permanent handicaps 10.8 per cent increase in registrations of super yachts welcomed by Yachting Services Business Section Malta Chamber welcomes diversification of financial services sector Good governance is not an option – it is a must Local ICT entrepreneurs key partners in Mobile Government Strategy Obesity needs to be fought by other means Laws cannot be enacted without prior consultation One step forward. a few more to go Malta Chamber attends top FDI conference in Dubai Chamber encouraged by Alitalia-Etihad Partnership and offers support towards a successful conclusion for all stakeholders Integration through employment Chamber launches Malta’s first business news portal Signing of an MOU with MIP

9 May 2016 11 May 2016 17 May 2016 25 May 2016 25 May 2016 30 May 2016 9 June 2016 10 June 2016 14 June 2016 16 June 2016 24 June 2016 11 July 2016 12 July 2016 21 July 2016 2 August 2016 5 August 2016 22 August 2016 23 August 2016 29 August 2016 1 September 2016 7 September 2016 13 September 2016 13 September 2016 23 September 2016 30 September 2016 5 October 2016 14 October 2016 14 October 2016 16 October 2016 20 October 2016 24 October 2016 27 October 2016 31 October 2016 18 November 2016 15 December 2016 16 December 2016 20 January 2017 30 January 2017 7 February 2017 17 February 2017

Chamber calls for postponement of tourism tax Ministry not grasping full extent of tourism tax issue Malta Chamber illustrates position on tourism tax Yachting Services Business Section with the Malta Chamber announces membership to the ISS’s Association Alliance Malta Chamber President Anton Borg elected Vice President of BUSINESSEUROPE Eco-Contribution – Prohibitory Injunction Chamber maintains reservations on tourism tax Montenegro is open to business opportunities with Malta Sensitive matter ignored Room for collaboration with Montenegro.pd Brexit – rationality and considered decisions needed to restore business confidence The logistics sector in Malta – what prospects Parties need to keep a realistic view of matters Malta Chamber congratulates new Malta Enterprise Chairman Chamber welcomes higher stipends for B.Sc Pharmaceutical Science students Chamber supports Medicines Agency bid Any Air Malta business plan must be beneficial to tourism and business in a wider context New Logistics Business Section within the Malta Chamber established €140 million for renewable energy will give businesses a needed boost A closed case Agreement reached on the regulation on road-side bill-boards Good sense and enforcement Chamber EGM approves Education, ICT PPPs Time to change procedures in relation to employment of foreign nationals Rights of the public and investors ought to be safeguarded at all times Malta and Qatar share a great ambition towards economic growth Malta Chamber and Malta Business Bureau present priority issues to the European Parliament of Enterprises Chamber welcomes tax evasion unit Budget Speech – a preliminary reaction by the Malta Chamber Chamber far from happy with energy rates An irresponsible tax on daily life Education Malta launched Employer organisations advocate a less rigid and more business-friendly EU, with PM ahead of EU Presidency Malta Chamber hosts the launch of Eco-French, in support of young Maltese entrepreneurs Chamber signs agreement with China Foreign Trade Centre Chamber deeply disappointed with Government’s intransigence regarding excise tax What BREXIT means for business Quick agreement for Brexit needed Integrating islands in the European Industrial Value Chain Speech by Anton Borg addressing a business delegation from Turkey


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International Scene BUSINESSEUROPE BusinessEurope is the leading business lobby group in Europe. It represents all-sized enterprises in 34 European countries and its direct members are the national business federations in each of those states. It plays an influential role as the main business voice in Brussels. BusinessEurope is recognised as an official social partner at European level, giving it a strong institutional role. The group is involved in a wide range of economic and social decisions, and cooperates with a large number of stakeholders and business partners. It actively promotes and defends the interests of corporate citizens to ensure that public policy supports a thriving European economy.

MT Presidency The Chamber was particularly active at BusinessEurope level this year as a result of Malta’s Presidency of the European Council. Anton Borg was, in fact, nominated as a Vice President and invited to attend Vice President meetings and Tripartite Social Summits. Kevin J. Borg, on the other hand, was nominated to sit on the Executive Bureau which is made up of six national federation DGs and is chaired by the BusinessEurope President. The Chamber President and Director General participated actively within these new channels besides brokering meetings with Malta’s Prime Minister. Such meetings were brokered for the President of the Confederation of British Industry, Paul Drechsler as well as for the President and Director General of BusinessEurope, Emma Marcegaglia and Markus Beyrer. Besides, a number of high-powered delegations from prominent business organisations such as MEDEF (France), BDI and BDA (Germany), CBI (UK), Amcham Europe (USA) and DEIK (Turkey) visited Malta and the Chamber with a view to promote their causes higher up the European agenda through the Presidency. In this context, the Chamber spoke about the vulnerabilities associated with small and peripheral island states and the inconsistencies in EU regulation arising from a one-size-fits-all approach. It argued that businesses incurred added operating costs if they were located in peripheral island states compared to the mainland. It also highlighted certain inconsistencies in the treatment of various peripheral and island regions and states by the EU in its state aid regulations. In the process, the risk of ‘back-shoring’ was consistently highlighted and that this could have devastating repercussions on Malta’s exports to the tune of €451,3 million or 19 per cent – equivalent to a 5 per cent drop in GDP. To this end, it consistently argued for equal treatment between all islands in the European Union irrespective of whether they are regions or states. At the same time, the Chamber also argued consistently in favour of the single market as the single-most European instrument to create jobs and growth. This is in line with BusinessEurope policy and the appeals for de-globalisation that are raising their head worldwide. Within the European fora where it is represented, the Chamber consistently argued that the Maltese economy is amongst the most open (and therefore vulnerable) in Europe with imports and exports typically totalling one and a half times the value of its Gross Domestic Product. The sustainability of Malta’s economic prosperity is dependent on export-led activity in well diversified activities (manufacturing, tourism, maritime, financial

services) so therefore talk about closing borders and protectionism would diminish our chances of economic success and participation in international value chains. Meanwhile, the Chamber also expressed concern on geopolitical tensions and fallouts citing the fact that instability in North Africa cancelled lucrative opportunities for Maltese and European businesses. It called on the need for Europe to play a bigger part in counteracting the prevailing risks and negative forces in a united and concerted effort. These three priorities were included in a document entitled the EU Presidency – A business agenda by the employer bodies in Malta in which these three objectives and other priorities were presented to the local authorities and European entities. This document was also presented by the Malta Chamber’s Director General, Kevin J. Borg to BusinessEurope’s President and Director General on the occasion of an executive bureau meeting in which Mr Borg was presenting Malta’s priorities during the upcoming Presidency.

Council of Presidents (COPRES) Meetings The President and Director General participated in both COPRES meetings held during 2016 in The Hague (May) and Bratislava (November). The May meeting was addressed by the Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who outlined his country’s experience in dealing with the prevailing challenges through reform and innovation, and the prospects for the Netherlands in the coming years following crucial decisions and measures taken by his government. The main item for discussion was the rise of nationalism in Europe and the then impending UK referendum on Brexit. On this occasion, the Heads of Delegation held an exchange of views with King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands. Discussions during the Bratislava COPRES centred around Brexit and the positions of Europe and the UK with respect to the eventual negotiations between the two sides. Participants discussed the potential business implications of this unprecedented situation for the Union. The political situation in other EU member states, particularly those facing general elections such as France, Germany and the Netherlands also featured prominently in the discussions. Meanwhile, the purposely nominated internal committee was actively finalising plans for the May 2017 COPRES which is to be held in Valletta.

BusinessEurope Day – Industry Matters The President and Director General travelled to Brussels on 3rd March for BusinessEurope Day. This high-profile event was addressed by Emma Marcegaglia, President of BusinessEurope, Donald Tusk, President of the European Council and Mark Rutte, Prime Minister of the Netherlands besides other prominent speakers including: • Elżbieta Bieńkowska, Commissioner in charge of the Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs • Markus J. Beyrer, Director General of BusinessEurope • Carolyn Fairbairn, Director General of the Confederation of British Industries, CBI • Juan Rosell, President of the Confederation of Employers and


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International Scene Industries of Spain, CEOE • Julio Linares, Vice President of Telefónica • Luca Visentini, General Secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation, ETUC • Ann Mettler, Head of European Political Strategy Centre • Ulrich Grillo, President of Federation of German Industries, BDI and Chairman of the Executive Board of Grillo-Werke AG • Mark Hutchinson, President and CEO of GE Europe • Georg Kapsch, President of the Federation of Austrian Industries, and CEO of Kapsch AG • Peter Olesen, Chairman of Governing Board of the European Institute for Technology, EIT • Hans de Boer, President of the Confederation of Netherlands Industry and Employers • Carola Lemne, Director General of Confederation of Swedish Enterprise In a brief intervention, Anton Borg remarked that the BusinessEurope position on the European Industrial Compact was clear, decisive and well-timed. The Malta Chamber supported the view that production in Europe has increasingly involved value chains stretching across countries, with each country specialising in one or several stages. In this regard, he recommended that Europe needed to ensure that peripheral regions and states were given a fair opportunity to make their contribution to European industry. This could be achieved through the adoption of the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities rather than the easy ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach.

Tripartite Social Summits As part of the rotating EU Presidency, Anton Borg was invited to address the Tripartite Social Summit (TSS) on two occasions. The TSS is a forum for dialogue between the EU institutions at President level and the European social partners at top management level. The summit is co-chaired by the President of the European Council, the President of the European Commission and the Head of State or Government of the rotating Presidency. Employers are represented by BusinessEurope, European Centre of Employers and Enterprises providing Public Services (CEEP) and the European Association of Craft, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (UEAPME). Trade unions are represented by the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC). During the first summit, which was held in March under the Dutch Presidency, Mr Borg spoke about the integration of refugees into the EU’s labour market, the progress made so far and the role of social partners. The second summit was held on 19th October during the Slovak Presidency and Mr Borg had the opportunity to speak of the new skills agenda for Europe and its practical objective, and the role of social partners. Mr Borg emphasised the need for further vocational and educational training. Mr Borg said that “employers are the right vehicles to provide quality apprenticeships that provide technical, soft and social skills,” and that industry and academia should create stronger synergies for the benefit of both sides.

EUROCHAMBRES

Created in 1958, Eurochambres is the European Association of Chambers of Commerce and Industry, and forms one of the key

pillars of business representation to the European institutions. Eurochambres voices the interest of over 19 million member enterprises in 45 European countries through a network of 2,000 regional and local Chambers represented by 45 national and one transnational organisation. The Malta Chamber has been a member of Eurochambres since 2004, having been an associate between 1989 and 2004. Dr John Vassallo Elected Eurochambres’ Director as well as Member of the Budgetary Committee Malta Business Bureau President, John Vassallo was elected as a Director on the Eurochambres Board. Furthermore, he was also elected to sit on the Eurochambres Budgetary Committee. These elections took place during the 120th Plenary Assembly taking place in Brussels. The main role of the Budgetary Committee is to oversee the organisation’s overall finances and present them during plenary assemblies where all the European national Chambers are represented. 119th and 120th Eurochambres Plenary Assemblies Outgoing MBB President and Eurochambres Director, Mario Spiteri represented the Chamber at the 119th Eurochambres plenary assembly held in Zagreb – Croatia on 17th June 2016. Subsequently, Dr Vassallo, accompanied by the Vice President and Director General of the Chamber participated actively in the Eurochambres’ 120th plenary assembly held in Brussels on 15th October 2016. Both fora served as an opportunity to meet and discuss bilateral cooperation with the other 46 delegations and discuss future projects for Eurochambres including ERIAS (see separate section below). Furthermore, the Assembly discussed routine administrative matters such as the President’s Report; 2017 Priorities; Budgetary Issues; Membership; and Elections for Board of Directors, Vice Presidents and the Budgetary Committee. Eurochambres Economic Survey 2016-2017 For the 17th 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. Termed the Eurochambres Economic Survey (EES), this is the largest annual European qualitative survey of business expectations. It is conducted across the whole of Europe and gathers the expectations of approximately 53,000 businesses on six economic indicators: business confidence, total turnover, domestic sales, export sales, employment and investment. The survey enables 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 questionnaire design, data collection and interpretation of results. As expected, an overwhelming majority of Maltese business experienced increased national sales, exports, employment and investment in 2016 when compared to the previous years. Of notable importance is the fact that Maltese businesses, as opposed to the majority of other member states, made reference to the lack of skilled workers and increased labour costs as the factors that may negatively impact similarly strong results in 2017.


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International Scene through quality apprenticeships, enabling young people to benefit from a smooth transition between school and the world of work, and suggested that on the job, experience should become further integrated in the educational process.

European Parliament for Enterprises

On 13th October 2016, a Malta Chamber delegation headed by Vice President, Tonio Casapinta participated in the fourth edition of the European Parliament for Enterprises (EPE) organised by Eurochambres at the European Parliament Hemicycle in Brussels. Over 750 SMEs from the 45 European countries attended this year’s event. The Chamber delegation also included John Vassallo, Charles Zahra, Kevin J. Borg and Daniel Debono. The concept of the EPE originated from the consideration that there exists a democratic gap between the EU institutions and the main actors of economic growth which are the entrepreneurs. During the EPE, entrepreneurs also exercised their voting rights on major EU business-related issues. These included four different sessions which focused on issues of interest to the business community, namely single market, trade, skills and sustainability. The event was addressed by among others, the then Vice President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani, Eurochambres President and Secretary General, Richard Weber and Arnaldo Abruzzini respectively. Other keynote speakers included • Christoph Leitl, Chairman, Global Chamber Platform • Daniel Calleja Crespo, Director-General for Environment, European Commission • Anna Maria Corazza-Bildt, Member of the European Parliament, Vice Chair of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (EPP, Sweden) • Ivan Korčok, State Secretary and Government Plenipotentiary for the Slovak Presidency of the Council of the EU • Jyrki Katainen, Vice President of the European Commission responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness • Malcolm Harbour, Senior Adviser to the European Policy Centre on the Single Market • Maria Åsenius, Head of Cabinet of Cecilia Malmström, EU Commissioner for Trade Two thirds of entrepreneurs at the EPE voted that Brexit was certainly going to harm their business. A UK entrepreneur openly declared that he was relocating to another European country in order to remain in the EU. Speaking during the session on the subject of skills, Tonio Casapinta said that the ultimate priority for economic success lies in having a labour force which is well equipped with digital as well as Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) skills. He said that as countries compete not only with each other, but also in a global economy, whoever hosts the best skills, has a comparative advantage over the rest in terms of productivity and innovation. He expressed agreement with the EU Skills Agenda as an initiative that aims to shape the European labour market of the future and that institutional collaboration and societal engagement were the key to address the challenging issues ahead of us. He concluded by saying that enterprises have a central role to play

Also addressing the EPE, John Vassallo President of the Malta Business Bureau said that in spite of the European single market, online crossborder sales remained substantially low when taking into account the expectations and the great potential that a single market of 500 million consumers offers. He said that while single market fragmentations remained, traders and particularly SMEs, experienced reduced confidence to engage in cross-border economic activity due to having to comply with various national rules. With reference to the debate on geoblocking, Dr Vassallo strongly argued that the right for traders not to be obliged to deliver cross-border should be safeguarded. For further information on proceedings refer to www.parliament-ofenterprises.eu

ERIAS Action Plan During the course of the year, Eurochambres took the initiative to establish discussions with the EU institutions in order to enact an action plan to integrate refugees within the EU’s labour market. The proposed project entitled ERIAS (European Refugees Integration Action Scheme) is meant to build an action plan covering a number of areas, among them: - identify and classify refugee skills - offer vocational guidance - information campaigns with businesses via Chamber across Europe - organise a network of enterprises to host refugees on a voluntary basis - Chambers to assist refugees with training placements - the organisation of other programmes such as linguistic and social/ cultural for better integration - support for businesses taking on the qualification and training of refugees - placing refugees in qualification courses - helping refugees start new businesses At the time of writing, discussions between Eurochambres and the European Investment Bank (EIB) were ongoing to identify a pilot project and secure a financial aid instrument. The Malta Chamber firmly believes that the country currently possesses all the factors necessary for such a pilot project to be successful and eventually serve as a best-practice example for other member states. To this end, Mr Borg accompanied the President of Malta during a meeting with Mr Abruzzini, CEO of Eurochambres, to discuss the factors making Malta ideal for such a pilot project. Mr Borg and Dr Vassallo also met with representatives of the President’s Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society and a number of NGOs engaged in the integration of refugees into Maltese society with the intention to learn about the ongoing projects and devise a comprehensive plan that encompasses all the ongoing fragmented initiatives and brings refugees closer to employment opportunities for the benefit of society and the economy.


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The malTa chamber of commerce, enTerprise and indusTry AnnuAL ADMInISTRATIvE REPORT 2016/17

International Scene preparation for the Maltese Presidency of the European Council which would start on 1st January 2017. In view of this, key visits to Malta were undertaken by the President of the EESC George Dassis as well as the President of the Employers Group Jacek Krawczyk. The aim of these two visits was to engage with the Maltese authorities and Malta’s social partners to discuss possible topics of European interest which could form part of the Presidency agenda. Mr Mallia was asked by both George Dassis and Jacek Krawczyk to lead the visits and to act as point of contact for all follow-up initiatives.

European Economic and Social Committee (EESC)

2016 – Dealing with Key Issues of Relevance and Consolidating the Work of the Previous Mandate 2016 was the year during which Stefano Mallia as a member of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) continued to work on influencing the discussion and debate in Brussels on key issues and initiatives that can or will have an impact on Maltese employers and the Maltese economy. This work was carried out in close collaboration with the other four Maltese members of the delegation within the EESC and key players such as the employer bodies in Malta, the Maltese Permanent Representation in Brussels, the Malta Business Bureau and the Malta EU Steering and Action Committee (MEUSAC). Beginning of a New Mandate 2016 saw the beginning of a new 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, trade 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 Maltese employer organisations in Malta. The other members of the Maltese delegation are: Tony Zahra (Group I), Philip Von Brockdorff, Charles Vella (Group II) and Ben Muscat (Group III) Brexit – Appointment as Employers’ Rapporteur On 23rd June 2016 the UK voted to leave the EU. Predictably, this decision created an earthquake within the whole of the EU and added further uncertainty on the future of the EU itself. Ever since the June vote, Brexit continued to dominate the EU agenda especially in view of the fact that this was the first time that a member of the EU actually decided to leave. There was and continues to be a considerable amount of debate as to how exactly the UK will disengage from the EU after 40 years of EU membership but more importantly on the full impact of Brexit on both the UK and the rest of the EU. As one would expect Brexit has also been on the agenda of the EESC and more specifically within the Employers Group. A decision was taken that a select group of three members would be appointed as rapporteurs within the Group to provide monthly updates on developments on the issue as well as to formulate the position of European employers. Stefano Mallia was appointed as one of the three rapporteurs. In view of this appointment and his close following of the situation Mr Mallia has been invited as a key speaker to a number of events in Malta and Brussels on the topic. Preparing for the EU Presidency – Putting Forward a Business Agenda The second half of 2016 also saw a number of activities taking place in

One of the key initiatives to emerge from these visits was the decision by all the employer bodies in Malta to put forward a common business agenda to the Maltese Government in view of the Maltese EU Presidency. This initiative was coordinated by Mr Mallia with the participation of the Malta Chamber, the MEA, the GRTU, the MHRA and the MBB. The final document was presented to the Prime Minister and key cabinet ministers in November 2016. Directly Involved on Key Issues Throughout his work, Mr Mallia sought to promote the interests of Maltese employers by following and contributing to the formulation of opinions on key issues which are of relevance to the Maltese economy as well as to Maltese society. In doing so he has over the past year worked either as rapporteur or study group member on issues such as EU industrial policy, the single market, the Anti-Tax Avoidance Package, the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), the Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base (CCCTB), EU transposition practices and illegal migration. On the issue of migration, Mr Mallia took an active role within the committee with a view to continuing the work which was carried out in 2015 with the formulation of a number of opinions as well as the undertaking of field visits in a number of countries such as Greece and Italy. In January 2016 a field mission was organised in Malta during which meetings with the various Government authorities and NGOs took place and immigration facilities in the country were inspected.

Malta Business Bureau 20th Anniversary 2016 marked the MBB’s 20th anniversary. To celebrate this milestone, MBB organised a high-profile lunchtime concert and reception at the Malta Chamber. Welcome speeches were delivered by MBB President John Vassallo and co-founders Chevalier Anthony Cassar and Joseph R. Darmanin. The concert was performed by the ‘re:Orchestra’ of Rotterdam, considered by specialised media as one of Europe’s best chamber orchestras.


The malTa chamber of commerce, enTerprise and indusTry AnnuAL ADMInISTRATIvE REPORT 2016/17

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International Scene Advocacy and Policy Work The MBB continues to strengthen its advocacy role in communicating to businesses the latest developments at EU level. MBB consults the local business community to put forward the Maltese perspective in the political and technical debates that take place in Brussels at various levels. To further strengthen its message and pro-activeness with the institutions, the MBB is working closely with several practitioners from industry, who voluntarily support its work by sharing their expertise in their respective fields. This has been instrumental to consolidate the MBB’s positions; participate in EU consultation processes; communicate the Maltese business perspectives within BusinessEurope, Eurochambres and Hotrec; and conduct direct lobbying with the EU institutions particularly Council and Parliament. Apart from advocacy work, the MBB’s Brussels operations is also responsible for coordinating the participation of delegates in several high-profile events in Brussels. This year the MBB facilitated the participation of Malta Chamber in the Tripartite Social Summit and the European Parliament for Enterprises events. Build-up to Malta’s EU Presidency of the Council in 2017 Presiding on the Council of the EU is an extraordinary event that comes around once in a generation. 2017 marked the first opportunity for Malta to take the driving seat and facilitate the debates taking place in Council at different levels, with an opportunity to find compromises and negotiate with Parliament and the Commission to conclude legislative processes on various dossiers. To this effect, together with EESC Vice President of the Employers Group Stefano Mallia, the Malta Business Bureau coordinated a process involving all employer representative organisations in Malta to come up with one set of priorities of Maltese businesses for the Malta-led EU Presidency. The outcome focused on three main priorities including (i) a flexible business friendly Union based on a strong single market, (ii) promoting an EU entrepreneurial culture, and (iii) an EU that matters in the region. This document was presented and welcomed by Prime Minister Joseph Muscat. The MBB was pleased to see that a number of its proposals made their way into Government’s own list of priorities for the EU Presidency. New MBB Office in Brussels Last year, the MBB moved its Brussels operations to a highly strategic location at the centre of the European quarter. The offices are now situated at the well-known Rond-point Schuman, where the European Commission’s Le Berlaymont and the European Council buildings are located. Registered Address: Malta Business Bureau, Rond-point Schuman 6, Level 5, 1040 Brussels, Belgium. To contact MBB Brussels call +32485469737 or email infobrussels@mbb.org.mt EUROPEAN PROJECTS: SUPPORTING THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE ENERGY EFFICIENCY DIRECTIVE IN MALTA The MBB continued to promote energy efficiency for non-SMEs in 2016. Building on the 2015 initiative, which saw the MBB and the Malta Chamber draft a voluntary agreement for non-SMEs to enter with Government, more enterprises were approached to join as signatories. Through the agreement, signatory non-SMEs have been awarded an Energy Initiative partner logo and have been aided with identifying any applicable funding instruments for energy efficiency projects they might

be considering. In return, non-SMEs committed to implementing regular energy efficiency measures and to sharing relevant best practices. Over 2016 the number of signatories rose to around 40 per cent of nonSMEs in Malta. Measures which the non-SMEs identified represent an annual reduction of 8,500 tons of CO2 emissions. These results show that industry is committed to improving its energy performance, and have been warmly welcomed by the Energy and Water Agency. The success of the non-SME initiative led the MBB to develop a project to promote energy efficiency within medium-sized enterprises – the Investing in Energy project. Launched in December, the project offers medium-sized enterprises within the manufacturing and importer/ retailer sectors complimentary energy audits, staff training, and the possibility to participate in a mentoring programme. Through the mentoring programme medium-sized enterprise staff will be teamed up with staff from best practice non-SMEs which have energy efficiency operations transferable to the medium-sized enterprise. Visit www.mbb.org.mt for more information. Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) – Helping SMEs make the most of business opportunities in Europe and beyond In 2016, MBB together with the other members of the consortium running the project, aligned its work as a local EEN contact point with the aim of providing additional advisory services and guidance to startups and businesses in various sectors to help them better understand means and ways of tapping EU funding streams. In 2016, the MBB organised a successful outgoing company mission for companies in the ICT, tourism, food and drink, design, healthcare and manufacturing sectors. EEN Malta has also offered local businesses representation on European policy on issues pertaining to improvements to the double taxation mechanisms; new directives and proposed amendments to public procurement legislation; limiting the use of cash in the wake of the fourth Anti Money Laundering Directive; EC Regulation No 1924/2006 on nutrition and health claims; the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA); the impact of the Transatlantic Trade Investment Partnership (TTIP), the European Commission Action Plan for Fair and Efficient Corporate Taxation in the EU, the Single Member Company dossier (SUP) and geo-blocking. Another highlight for EEN Malta in 2016 are the six cross border business partnerships that have since been established. For more information visit www.enterprise-europemalta.com Design for Europe – An initiative to support design driven innovation in Europe The success of the MBB’s participation in various European projects and networks over the years led to its engagement with Design for Europe in 2016. As ambassador for Design for Europe and with the support of EEN, MBB organised a range of knowledge transfer activities for the benefit of the business community. Encouraging businesses to


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The malTa chamber of commerce, enTerprise and indusTry AnnuAL ADMInISTRATIvE REPORT 2016/17

International Scene uptake design thinking methods and utilise design tools was a central component in MBB’s mission to support enterprises in 2016. Last year, MBB embarked on a new pilot initiative comprised of a series of workshops which targeted 15 local companies from the various services sectors. The workshops built capacity for the companies to perform a design diagnostic using self-assessment tools for their specific requirements. The pilot ran over several months and resulted in a compilation of expert recommendations to guide the businesses on how they can improve their services and how they can use readily available design self-assessment tools. The pilot brought five international service design experts to explore the specific requirements for each local company and elaborate a set of actions to improve the customer experience of their service. Following the implementation phase, a follow up monitoring visit took place in autumn, allowing the companies to share their experiences and achievements. The key outcomes of MBB’s pilot over the year were later presented to a group of local stakeholders at a high-level policy workshop held in September. For more information visit www.designforeurope.eu

University – Business Cooperation

The agency is still looking out to engage more companies on the platform, particularly those involved in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) sectors. For more information visit www.goandlearn.eu INVEST – Financial and Forecasting Models for Entrepreneurs MBB has formed part of a consortium of partners on the Erasmus+ project INVEST. The partners have pooled in their various areas of expertise to develop a training model to support micro-entrepreneurs, aged 18 to 34 (also known as Generation Y). This will enable entrepreneurs to make responsible economic, financial and investment choices, in function of their business growth plans and development perspectives. The challenges faced by entrepreneurs in their attempt to gain access to finance accentuate the relevance of this project. Such challenges mainly arise from the entrepreneurs’ lack of confidence and lack of financial literacy, which may go on to hinder their capability to make investments and manage their financial assets. For more information visit www.investproject.eu ZAAR – Crowdfunding Platform

International Study Bridging the gap between academia and business is a top priority for Europe. In this regard, the MBB has engaged in two distinct initiatives, the first being a study on the State of University – Business Cooperation in Europe (2016-2017). The project, executed for the DG Education & Culture within the European Commission, was used to investigate the state of collaboration both from academia’s perspective and that of private businesses across Europe. The survey sought to identify clarity on the mechanisms supporting any existing cooperation as well the barriers and challenges at hand. Through the project, MBB’s close collaboration with the University of Malta, particularly in terms of entrepreneurial initiatives such as the recent establishment of Malta’s first crowdfunding platform ZAAR, has been identified as a local good practice case study. As part of the study, two major quantitative surveys addressed to the business sectors and the higher education institutions were launched in September. Over the subsequent weeks, the MBB played an instrumental role in the dissemination of the surveys among local entrepreneurs and academics. Overall, the number of survey responses received have made this the largest international study ever completed on the topic of universitybusiness cooperation. NETWORK ENHANCEMENT Last year, MBB also embarked on a second distinct initiative with the aim of bridging the gap between academia and business, through the Go&Learn network. MBB is collaborating with the University of Malta, which are together acting as the Maltese agency within a multilateral network of 17 European regions. MBB is managing an international catalogue of thematic training seminars and study visits in companies as part of this project. To date, the Maltese Agency has onboarded eight local companies in the ICT, Digital gaming, food manufacturing, nutrition and labelling industries.

ZAAR Crowdfunding Platform Manager Matthew Caruana addressing the audience at the Investment-Based Crowdfunding Discussion Workshop event, MFSA

Since its launch in 2016, the MBB – University of Malta crowdfunding platform ZAAR has supported an average of two campaigns each month. This had led to a total of 26 projects so far; five campaigns of which were still active in the first part of this year. Of those projects, 57 per cent were successful, with 12 of the 21 completed projects securing the desired funding. In total, over €65,000 has been channelled through ZAAR into local initiatives. Over the past year, ZAAR has also been active on a number of other fronts to raise the profile of crowdfunding in Malta by attending numerous events and conferences locally and abroad. For more information visit www.zaar.com.mt AR


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The malTa chamber of commerce, enTerprise and indusTry AnnuAL ADMInISTRATIvE REPORT 2016/17

Nominees on Boards and Committees BICC – Compilation of a Property Price Index Mr David Xuereb

e-Skills Malta Foundation Mr Marcel Cutajar

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

Film Commission Consultative Council Mr Lino Mintoff

Business Community Working Group Mr Hugh Arrigo Dr Hugh Peralta Climate Action Fund Mr David Xuereb Cloud Working Committee Dr Angelo Dalli Corporate Responsibility Task ForcE (CORE) Mr Kevin J. Borg Crafts Council Ms Nevise Said Digital Malta Government Body Mr Francois Grech E.Business Awards Committee Ms Marisa Xuereb Education Malta Ms Marisa Xuereb Mr Kevin J. Borg Employment Relations Board and Guarantee Fund Administration Board Mr Frank V. Farrugia eSkills Board of Governors Mr Keith Fearne e-Skills for Jobs 2015-2016 – National Contact Point (NCP) – Malta National Roadmap 2015-2016 Mr Marcel Cutajar

Gaming Malta Dr Simona Camilleri ICT Malta Mr Francois Grech – Chairman Mr Marcel Cutajar Mr Roland Scerri Mr Matthew Sullivan Jobs + BOARD Mr Frank V. Farrugia Malta Arbitration Centre Dr Matthew Brincat Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority Mr Reginald Fava Malta Council for Economic & Social Development (MCESD) Mr Anton Borg Mr Frank V. Farrugia Mr Norman Aquilina (alternate) Mr Kevin J. Borg (alternate) Malta Council for Science & Technology (MCST) Board of Directors Ms Marisa Xuereb Ing. Roger Galea Malta Council for Science & Technology (MCST) Evaluation Committee Ms Marisa Xuereb Malta Cruise Network Mr Ivan Mifsud Malta Enterprise Board of Directors Mr Anton Borg Mr Frank V. Farrugia

Malta Industrial Parks Ms Marisa Xuereb Malta Maritimma Mr Ernest Sullivan Mr Matthew Sullivan Dr Alison Vassallo Malta Statistics Authority (representing all employers) Dr Emanuel P Delia Malta-EU Steering Action Committee (MEUSAC) Mr Mario Spiteri Mr Chris Vassallo Cesareo Mr Kevin J. Borg (alternate) Mr Andre Fenech (alternate) Maternity Leave Trust Mr John A. Huber MCA eBusiness Awards Ms Marisa Xuereb MCAST Board of Governors Mr Anton Borg MCAST Gateway to Industry Ltd Board of Directors Mr Chris Vassallo-Cesareo MCESD Restructuring Committee Mr Kevin J. Borg 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 Mr Tonio Casapinta


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The malTa chamber of commerce, enTerprise and indusTry AnnuAL ADMInISTRATIvE REPORT 2016/17

Nominees on Boards and Committees Monitoring Committee for Operational Programme I, Cohesion Policy 2007-2013: Investing in competitiveness for a better quality of life Mr Andre Fenech Mr Joe Tanti Monitoring Committee for Operational Programme II, Cohesion Policy 2007-2013: Empowering people for more jobs and better quality of life Mr Andre Fenech Mr Joe Tanti 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 National Commission for Sustainable Development Mr David Xuereb National Employment Authority Mr Reginald Fava National R & I Strategy 2020 Steering Group Mr Anton Borg National Skills Council 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 V. Farrugia

Nominees on NonGovernment Boards and Other Committees

Trade Malta Mr David G Curmi Mr Frank V. Farrugia Mr Tonio Casapinta

BusinessEurope – The Confederation of European Business Mr Anton Borg

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 Working Group – Cruise Liner Operations Mr Ivan Mifsud Employers’ Nominees on Boards and Committees of the European Community (representing all Malta’s employers) European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (CEDEFOP) Mr Mario Spiteri European Community Advisory Committee on Social Security for Migrant Workers Mr Hugh Arrigo European Economic and Social Committee (representing all Malta’s employers) Mr Stefano Mallia Mr Tony Zahra

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 Malta Business Foundation Mr John Vassallo Mr Norman Aquilina Mr Mario Spiteri Mr Charles Zahra Malta Community Chest Fund Mr Anton Borg Malta Trade Fairs Corporation Mr Aldo Calleja Mr Gino Cutajar Mr Mario Spiteri Mr Charles A. Zahra Maltese-Arab Chamber of Commerce Mr Frank V. Farrugia Mr Joseph Pace Swiss-Maltese Chamber of Commerce Mr Reginald Fava Young Enterprise Mr Christopher Vassallo Cesareo


Malta Chamber Administrative Report 2016/17  
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