Minister for the Economy, Investment and Small Business Chris Cardona made the case for Malta as an interesting case-study when it comes to Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) during today’s conference “The EU & FDI: Love Lost? Examining EU inbound FDI trends”, organised by Malta Enterprise.

Malta has one of the most FDI-dependent economies in the EU and the world at large. Some 13% of employment in the Maltese economy is provided by FDI companies, a significant percentage that rises to almost 50% in the case of manufacturing. Population size and the lack of natural resources have always forced the nation to look outwards to expand export base, and to achieve higher rates of economic growth.

Minister Cardona noted how the EU is a major player in the global FDI market, with the actual rankings and percentages vary from year to year, sometimes substantially. What is evident as a group, and in some cases as individual member states, Malta is consistently among the top destinations for FDI. It is in Malta’s interest that this position be maintained, and if possible strengthened, so as to remain competitive as an investment location within the global environment.

Such a conference is critical in a juncture when the working of the global economic system is being questioned. Minister Cardona added how focusing on the internal market is not enough, and taking note of what is happening in competitor locations, particularly in relation to transaction costs associated with operating a business within the EU, and the bureaucratic and legislative burdens that these entail.

Minister Cardona appealed to national governments, and the Commission, to be open to well-reasoned arguments, and for policy in the FDI area to be evidence-based, so that the emergence of a consensus about the steps that need to be made at the EU level can be actualized.

The conference featured keynote speeches and discussions on the EU’s competitiveness as a location for FDI, with speakers from the Central Bank and Business Europe; policy issues affecting FDI and enabling third country investment in the EU, from visiting professors from the Oxford Centre for Business Taxation, Leeds University and representatives from the European Commission, AmCham EU and Japan Business Council in EU. The concluding presentation on global FDI Trends and key emerging issues for investment policy making was by Christiane Stepanek-Allen, from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

Source: Government of Malta