PRESS RELEASE BY THE MINISTRY FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND TRADE PROMOTION: Further strengthening Malta-Tunisia relations – Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion Carmelo Abela addresses Malta-Tunisia Business Forum

Addressing the opening session of the Malta-Tunisian Business Forum, just four months after the last which was held in Tunisia, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion Carmelo Abela said that the demand to meet again so soon was, a clear indication of the interest shown by both sides in promoting the commercial links between our two countries and business communities even further.

Held at the Malta Chamber of Commerce in Valletta, the Forum was attended by a high-level Tunisian delegation from both business and political sectors, including Tunisia’s Secretary of State for Foreign Trade, Hichem Ben Ahmed, who is leading the delegation.

On 21 December 2017, Malta and Tunisia celebrated an important anniversary; 50 years since establishing diplomatic relations. Malta and Tunisia have a history of strong collaboration in Mediterranean affairs – which was the case for the Euro-Mediterranean platform, the 5+5 Dialogue, and the Union for the Mediterranean, Minister Abela said.

He added that bilateral relations have continued to deepen by frequent high-level visits, including by his predecessor George Vella who, together with his Tunisian counterpart, signed a Memorandum of Understanding aimed at establishing a structured framework of cooperation and exchanges in a number of fields, from commerce, to investment, and tourism, which will contribute towards the implementation of cooperative measures in this important economic field.

In terms of regional cooperation, the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry for Tourism of Tunisia and the Mediterranean Tourism Foundation, that happened during the State Visit of November 2017 (which was accompanied by a trade delegation), underlines, the will of the Government of Tunisia to play an active role in economic initiatives that will help transform the Mediterranean into an area of peace, cooperation, and prosperity, by investing and promoting sustainable growth across the region.

The State Visit also reaffirmed ties between Malta and Tunisia, the Minister explained, which culminated in the holding of the first Business Forum. And the Maltese businesses most interested in exploring cooperation with Tunisia were in the manufacturing, logistics, aviation, maritime, financial services, advisory and legal services, ICT, and tourism sectors.

The Tunisian Foreign Minister, Khamaies Jhinaoui, paid an official visit to Malta on 26 May 2016. At the time, Foreign Minister Jhinaoui had noted that it was one of his first bilateral visits, which demonstrates the importance of Malta for Tunisia – and how Tunisia was determined to deepen its relationship with Malta.

In his speech at the Business Forum last November, Minister Abela concluded his address with the hope for more collaboration and success. The fact that we are meeting again here today shows that the stakeholders who were present at that Forum shared the same hope.

Source: Government of Malta