500 Turk­ish in­vestors in Malta

The Malta Business Weekly - - FRONT PAGE - Vanya Walker-Leigh

“Malta has a very im­por­tant po­si­tion and a won­der­ful in­vest­ment en­vi­ron­ment - there are more than 500 Turk­ish in­vestors in Malta with hold­ings to­talling $1.3bn ( €1.23bn)”, Be­nali Yildrim, the Prime Min­is­ter of Tur­key told a large au­di­ence of busi­ness lead­ers from both na­tions dur­ing a sem­i­nar held at MCCEI last Fri­day.

“There are bright prospects for fur­ther in­vest­ments in port man­age­ment, mar­itime af­fairs, in­fra­struc­ture”, he con­tin­ued. “We hope that two ad­di­tional chap­ters un­der the EU-Tur­key ac­ces­sion ne­go­ti­a­tions launched in 2005 can be opened un­der the Mal­tese EU pres­i­dency and I thank Malta for its un­con­di­tional sup­port for Tur­key’s even­tual EU mem­ber­ship”.

The Turk­ish econ­omy min­is­ter Ni­hat Zay­bekci stated that “the re­vi­sion of the EU-Tur­key Cus­toms Union launched 21 years ago is very im­por­tant. It only cov­ers in­dus­trial goods, is very asym­met­ri­cal while 49 per cent of Tur­key’s ex­ports and 42 per cent of its imports are with the EU. Un­der EU’s free trade agree­ments with third coun­tries, their goods can au­to­mat­i­cally en­ter Tur­key, but the op­po­site is not the case. A re­vised Cus­toms Union must cover agri­cul­tural prod­ucts, elec­tron­ics and so on. On 21 De­cem­ber the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion de­cided to re­quest au­tho­ri­sa­tion from the Euro­pean Coun­cil to up­date the union and hope­fully this can start with the sup­port of both our Prime Min­is­ters.”

Malta’s Prime Min­is­ter Joseph Muscat as­sured the au­di­ence that “Malta will con­tinue to sup­port Turk­ish ac­ces­sion and strive to open the Cus­toms Union re­vi­sion ne­go­ti­a­tions dur­ing our presi- dency. Since the es­tab­lish­ment of diplo­matic ties be­tween the two na­tions 13 bi­lat­eral agree­ments had been signed, in­clud­ing one on avoid­ance of dou­ble tax­a­tion in 2014. The re­vival of the Mal­tese-Turk­ish Busi­ness Coun­cil has been very pos­i­tive, while the 13 weekly di­rect flights from Is­tan­bul are a cru­cial ele­ment in fostering ties.”

“We see a strong fu­ture for Turk­ish in­vest­ments in fi­nan­cial ser­vices, e-com­merce, the mar­itime sec­tor. We have dis­cussed the po­ten­tial of our English lan­guage teach­ing sec­tor – Turk­ish stu­dents are al­ready the sec­ond largest group from non-EU na­tions and I think this num­ber can in­crease ten­fold. There are also dis­cus­sions about spe­cific train­ing for sea­far­ers.”

Chris Car­dona, Min­is­ter for the Econ­omy in­di­cated that while ex­ports from Malta to Tur­key amounted to €13 mil­lion, imports had topped €170 mil­lion in 2015. “The gov­ern­ment is com­mit­ted to cor­rect­ing this trade im­bal­ance. A team from my min­istry and Malta En­ter­prise has just re­turned from meet­ings with top busi­ness lead­ers in Is­tan­bul. There are also prospects for ac­tiv­i­ties by Trade Malta to fa­cil­i­tate Turk­ish trade flows – our role be­ing to bro­ker, en­able and fa­cil­i­tate”.

MCCEI’s pres­i­dent, An­ton Borg em­pha­sised that the Mal­te­seTurk­ish Busi­ness Coun­cil chaired by Dr. Mark Bencini and sup­ported by Trade Malta “works tire­lessly to bring to­gether busi­ness peo­ple from the two coun­tries to col­lab­o­rate and build on each other’s knowl­edge and ex­pe­ri­ences. Yildirim Hold­ing in­vested €200m in 2011 for a 50 per cent stake in the Malta Freeport con­tainer ter­mi­nal while in 2015, Global Li­man Islet­meleri ac­quired a ma­jor­ity stake in the Val­letta Cruise Port. There is also a strong Turk­ish pres­ence in our bank­ing sec­tor - in­clud­ing Ak­bank, Türkiye Garanti Bankası A.Ş, Fi­nans­bank (Malta) Ltd, Yapi Kredi).”

“How­ever, we be­lieve we are only scratch­ing the sur­face and that there is more that we can achieve to­gether. Our two coun­tries can bring spe­cific el­e­ments to the ta­ble that may be valu­able to the other party. With a pop­u­la­tion of 78 mil­lion peo­ple and a re­cent his­tory of ro­bust eco­nomic ex­pan­sion, Tur­key is an im­mense coun­try of great re­sources. Malta makes up for its diminu­tive size by its ex­cel­lent strate­gic ge­o­graph­i­cal po­si­tion and mem­ber­ship in the Euro­pean Union and the eu­ro­zone.”

“Through an­other pub­lic-pri­vate part­ner­ship with Gov­ern­ment, we have re­cently es­tab­lished Ed­u­ca­tion Malta to at­tract fur­ther in­vest­ment in this sec­tor and to build an in­ter­na­tional brand. We are also in the fi­nal process of es­tab­lish­ing ICT Malta – again in part­ner­ship with Gov­ern­ment to sup­port Maltabased com­pa­nies to in­ter­na­tion­alise their op­er­a­tions and ex­port their in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty.” See pg 12 for Mr Borg’s speech

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