PRESS RELEASE BY THE MINISTRY FOR THE ECONOMY, INVESTMENT AND SMALL BUSINESS: “Malta and all the Commonwealth countries would benefit from greater collaboration” -Minister Cardona

Minister for the Economy, Investment and Small Business, Dr Chris Cardona represented the Government of Malta as the current Chair-in-Office of the Commonwealth.

In his address, Minister Cardona highlighted how Malta, as a small island nation, has tapped into international networks to overcome challenges as well as to exploit opportunities.

“We cannot be globally competitive if we are isolated. Thus, we need to ensure an open trade system, whereby countries can negotiate agreements to enjoy the benefits of international trade. This is of particular importance for small economies that are dependent on international markets for imports and exports. We can do useful work to assist developing countries access international markets,” said the Minister.

This historic first-ever meeting brought together Commonwealth Trade Ministers from over thirty countries from across the Commonwealth, at Lancaster House in London. The main aim of the meeting was to explore ways of promoting trade, investment and job creation in member countries by maximising opportunities offered by the Commonwealth network.

This meeting builds on the dialogue begun at CHOGM and the Commonwealth Business Forum (CBF) held in Malta in November 2015 and continues to demonstrate a concrete commitment to the key issues that all members of the Commonwealth share. The Commonwealth can act as a catalyst for free and fair trade and is an ideal forum for the sharing of best practices and the generation of innovation, as well as international partnerships.

Minister Cardona, as Chair-in-Office, pledged to further Malta’s commitment to the Commonwealth and encouraged other members to focus on increasing intra-Commonwealth trade in services, and assisting SMEs in accessing global markets. The provision of services, particularly financial services amongst Commonwealth countries, should be seen as a priority.

“Malta and all the Commonwealth countries would benefit from greater collaboration, especially in light of the current global landscape where dramatic changes can bring about risks but can also offer unprecedented opportunities,” said Minister Cardona.

Convened by the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council (CWEIC), the first ever Commonwealth Trade Ministers Meeting gathered 35 Commonwealth Trade Ministers, including Australia, Canada, India, Malaysia, New Zealand, Nigeria, South Africa and Trinidad and Tobago, along with over 60 senior business leaders from a variety of sectors.

Source: Government of Malta