PRESS RELEASE BY THE MINISTRY FOR FINANCE: Speech by the Minister for Finance during the opening of a three-day FISCALIS Conference on the implementing rules on the VAT E-Commerce Directive

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Things are changing everywhere around us and such changes have also affected the way we do things. Today, technology has advanced to a point that it is no longer necessary to have your physical presence in a shop to purchase a product. You just stay at home, log into the internet, and make an online purchase. Then the product is dispatched and delivered to your doorstep.

Way back in 1977, when the Sixth Directive came into force, no one may have thought that we could arrive to such a situation. Since then, the European Union has grown to 28 member states and economic realities have changed. Therefore, if we want to move forward in the way of progress, we have to be dynamic and adapt our rules to modern times. We have to be flexible in our approach to encourage all sectors in our economy to grow.

The e-commerce package is a step in the right direction because it provides new opportunities for cross-border trading. These changes in the VAT system will reduce burdens on operators taking part in online business. These would have simplified obligations that would encourage more of these traders to engage in online trading.

Malta welcomes such initiatives that would facilitate trading and encourage economic growth.

I am also pleased to say that the e-commerce package was one of the priorities of the Maltese Presidency. This seminar follows up the work that was started in Brussels under our presidency and which we, ministers, have adopted at the ECOFIN Council of 5 December, under the Estonian Presidency.

The next step is to have new implementing rules that would lay down the practical details of how this package would be implemented. This is the scope behind this seminar.

We are very pleased that Malta is directly involved in this initiative. Malta wants to be a driver in the area of electronic commerce. We are therefore committed to ensure that the adopted package would be implemented efficiently for the benefit of European businesses and tax administrations.

It is also encouraging to have representatives of businesses present in this seminar to work hand in hand with representatives of tax administrations, with the scope of making things better. The ultimate aim is to continue making the European Union a successful project despite the problems and difficulties which we all encounter.

I am sure that the contribution of each and every one of you will be valuable to reach the objectives of this seminar.

Source: Government of Malta