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Malta

Executive Summary

The Republic of Malta is a small, strategically located country 60 miles south of Sicily (Italy) and 180 miles north of Libya, astride some of the world’s busiest shipping lanes.  A politically stable parliamentary republic with a free press, Malta is considered a safe, secure, and welcoming environment for American investors to do business.

Malta joined the European Union in 2004, the Schengen visa system in 2007, and the Eurozone in 2008.  With a population of about 475,700 and a total area of only 122 square miles, it is the smallest country in the European Union.  The economy is based on services, primarily shipping, banking, and financial services, professional, scientific, and technical activities, online gaming, and tourism.  Manufacturing also plays a small but important role. Maltese and English are the official languages.

Given its central location in one of the world’s busiest trading regions, as well as its relatively small economy, Malta recognizes the important contribution that international trade and investment can provide to the generation of national wealth.

Malta’s economy is one of the best performers in the European Union.  In 2018, real GDP growth reached the high rate of 6.6 percent. Malta’s unemployment rate stood at 4.0 percent in the fourth quarter of 2018.  Malta’s unemployment rate stood at 4.0 percent in the fourth quarter of 2018.

The top three credit rating agencies rank Malta extremely well; all note a stable or positive outlook, due to a government surplus and the total debt to GDP figure that has also greatly reduced in the past few years, standing at 45.7 percent in 2018.  The current sovereign credit ratings are A-/A-2 with a positive outlook (S&P); A3 with a positive outlook (Moody’s); and A+ with a stable outlook (Fitch).

In 2013, the Government of Malta established the Individual Investor Program (IIP), which provides citizenship by naturalization to a person and his or her dependents who are contributors to an individual investor program and who pay a fee of EUR 650,000 (with an additional EUR 25,000 for spouses or dependents under age 18 or EUR 50,000 for dependents over age 18).  IIP conditions include a EUR 350,000 minimum for purchasing immovable property, or a EUR 16,000 per year minimum for leasing immovable property (which must be retained for at least five years), and a EUR 150,000 minimum for investment in stocks, bonds, or debentures.

Table 1: Key Metrics and Rankings

Measure Year Index/Rank Website Address
TI Corruption Perceptions Index 2018 51 of 180 http://www.transparency.org/research/cpi/overview 
World Bank’s Doing Business Report 2019 84 of 190 http://www.doingbusiness.org/en/rankings
Global Innovation Index 2018 50.30 of 126 https://www.globalinnovationindex.org/analysis-indicator 
U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, stock positions) 2017 $1,600  http://www.bea.gov/international/factsheet/ 
World Bank GNI per capita 2017 $23,940 http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GNP.PCAP.CD 
Investment Climate Statements
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