Malta - at the centre of International Business
Lying at a strategic crossroads between Europe and Africa, Malta is a meeting point of cultures and languages at the heart of the Mediterranean. The Maltese archipelago consists of three main islands. Of the three islands Malta can be considered to be the hub of administrative and commercial activities. Gozo, the second largest island is more rural, characterized by fishing, tourism, crafts and agriculture. Comino is largely uninhabited.
Malta has friendly relationships with Mediterranean rim countries and with the countries representing the major investment markets worldwide. Through the bilateral agreements between Malta and the EU with third countries, and through Malta‘s traditional economic links, the country strengthens its position as a business location and financial centre in the wider Mediterranean region.
The Maltese Economy
The Maltese economy has experienced a shift over the years. From a manufacturing based economy the islands have moved towards a more service-oriented industry. This sector has become the prime driver of economic growth. In the past few years steady growth has been registered in the provision and development of niche financial, ICT and tourism services. Malta is thus strengthening its position as a major hub for the provision of transshipment, financial services and Information and Communication Technology and pushing to become a leader in the region.
Language, Regulation and Regulatory Authorities
Malta has two official languages, Maltese and English. English is universally spoken and written and is the language of legislation, education and business. Malta has liberal economic policies and commitment to an open and competitive business environment. Malta is one of the EU‘s most open economies as it is a traditional trading nation that has been reliant on import and export. Malta has received international recognition for its EU compliant and sophisticated regulatory framework which is described as modern and in touch with today‘s operating environment. Malta has a strong, yet flexible, single regulatory body in the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA). The MFSA is responsible for all licensed financial services activity on the islands. The MFSA is structured in line with world best practice. Malta is a leading force in the development of regulatory policy and is fully involved with OECD, the EU and the Commonwealth in policy development. Being small and able to adapt quickly has given Malta a head start; while many other international centres have become crowded and expensive, Malta‘s advantage is available capacity, low costs and a prompt and efficient regulatory process. The framework conforms to all international standards yet flexible enough to allow a variety of structures to be formed, and bridging the gap between Continental European Roman law and Anglo-Saxon common law traditions.
Additional advantages include Malta‘s location as a Mediterranean hub with access to European, North African and Middle Eastern Markets, its European time-zone location, its multilingual workforce and its back office and IT capabilities.
A significant advantage of Malta is the ability of companies to redomicile themselves into the finance centre. Furthermore business set up in Malta benefit from a tax efficient environment. Investment funds are exempt from tax, while Malta‘s tax imputation system entitles operating companies to a 6/7th refund of a 35% corporate tax upon a divided distribution. Malta has double taxation treaties with over 60 countries, including most of the major European trading nations.