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Economic relations

Economic relations

Our position as the fourth largest trading partner after Italy, Germany, and the United Kingdom is misleading (4th largest supplier and 3rd largest client). Indeed, our investments remain very modest. The Maltese market is often considered too narrow by our firms and a good portion of our exports are composed of electronic products imported by the Franco-Italian company ST micro and petroleum products (provided by Total, 20% of our sales). Italian (providing supplies to the archipelago from Sicily) and German (having made a major effort to install a network of SMEs alongside Playmobil and Lufthansa) companies seem to have won. This impression is reinforced by the closure of the embassy’s economic service in 2010. However, Malta could be seen in the future by our companies as a base for market access to the Maghreb and Libya in particular.

The French presence is limited but essential to the Maltese economy: STMicroelectronics is the largest employer and the largest exporter on the island (50% of exports) and CMA CGM (French capital) operates Malta’s modern container port (12% of container traffic in the Mediterranean). Please note, since 2008, the installation in Malta of several French companies in the financial sector: Natixis in banking, PSA, RCI, BNP Paribas and April in insurance, as well as several online gambling companies with French capital.

In the water sector Malta, which only processed 10% of its wastewater, is engaged in building three wastewater treatment plants (consortium led by Degremont). In telecommunications, Alactel is interested in several projects concerning telephone equipment and supplying and installing a fiber optic network throughout the country. In January 2011, Nexans was awarded a €178 million contract for laying a submarine energy cable linking Malta’s electricity grid to the European network.

Finally, despite Air France’s refusal to serve the archipelago, the number of French tourists has not decreased (100,000 per year).

Updated on 12.10.12

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