Foreign Office to Increase Bilateral Agreements

MEDIA ROOM

As published by The Business Times, in the first 18 months of this legislature, Malta has signed 14 double taxation agreements, the most recent with the Isle of Man and Georgia , according to Foreign Affairs Minister Tonio Borg. A host of bilateral agreements governing a wide range of issues have also been sealed.

These agreements are an additional tool to facilitate international investment and trade and are particularly useful to local firms looking to internationalise.

Making optimum use of human resources

Meanwhile, the Foreign Office has embarked on a series of initiatives to make optimum use of human resources throughout Malta’s diplomatic network in Malta and at the 27 embassies, Dr. Borg said. Over 100 consuls have also been roped into this drive.

Several business delegations organised in conjuction with Malta Enterprise, mixed commissions with other countries, and the establishment of new embassies and consulates, have contributed to the attraction of foreign direct investment.

“The facilitation of visa issuance according to market needs has also been a priority for the Foreign Office in the last months,” Dr Borg said. “A record number of 50 Maltese businesses a month get in touch with our embassies to explore possible business opportunities.”

“We will embark on this momentum in an effort not only to improve our bilateral relations with other countries but to promote and facilitate business and investment towards Malta.”

Between March 2008 and last month, protocols for the avoidance of double taxation and the prevention fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income and, in some cases on capital, were finalised with france, Ireland, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Montenegro, Qatar, San Marino, Serbia, Switzerland, and the US.

Malta now has 52 double taxation agreements in force. A further 10, including those with the US, Russia and Switzerland are awaiting enactment. Agreements limited to profits derived from the operation of ships or aircraft in international traffic with Switzerland and the US are effective.

Significantly, a Memorandum of Understanding on visa abolition with the US entered into force in April last year. A co-operation agreement governing public health and medical services was signed and enacted in July 2008.

Cultural, educational and scientific cooperation agreements have been signed with China, the Czech Republic, and Tunisia. There is also an agreement over government investment promotion and protection with China.

Under other agreements, co-operation has been sealed in the fight against drug trafficking and organised crime with Bulgaria, China, Latvia, Ireland, United Arab Emirates, and the US.

A package of air services agreements were signed with Qatar during a state visit last summer.

A Malta Confucious Institute will be established under an agreement signed with China last February, following a grant of EUR 580,000 (RMB 5 million) from China.

Last December, Cyprus agreed to make its diplomatic premises in Tel Aviv available to Malta. The Maltese and Cypriot Foreign Offices also agreed on their representation to the Palestinian Authority.

A variety of Memoranda of Understanding each governing such issues as bilateral consultation, maritime transport and ports administration, financial mechanism, sport, law, child adoption, and technical assistance have been sealed a host of countries.

Singular agreements have been signed with the municipality of Reggio Calabria, Lebanon, Pakistan, Syria, Libya, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, Qatar, the Slovak Republic, Switzerland and Mexico.