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Malta

Executive Summary

The Republic of Malta is a small, strategically located country 60 miles south of Sicily 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 493,500 and a total area of only 122 square miles, it is the EU’s smallest country in geographic size. 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 registered GDP growth rate was one of the fastest within the European Union over the past decade. In 2019, real GDP growth reached the high rate of 4.4 percent. Malta’s unemployment rate stood at 3.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2019. Thanks to its robust economic growth for much of the years in the last decade, the country is facing the current crises brought about by COVID-19 from a position of economic and fiscal strength.

The top three credit rating agencies rank Malta extremely well and predict the economic impact of the coronavirus will be less pronounced on the Maltese economy when compared to other EU neighboring countries. The current sovereign credit ratings are A-/A-2 with a stable outlook (S&P); A2 with a stable 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 people (and their dependents) who are contributors to an individual investor program and who pay a fee of €650,000 (with an additional €25,000 for spouses or dependents under age 18 or €50,000 for dependents over age 18). IIP conditions include a €350,000 minimum for purchasing immovable property, or a €16,000 per year minimum for leasing immovable property (which must be retained for at least five years), and a €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 2019 50 of 183 http://www.transparency.org/research/cpi/overview
World Bank’s Doing Business Report 2019 88 of 190 http://www.doingbusiness.org/en/rankings
Global Innovation Index 2019 27 of 129 https://www.globalinnovationindex.org/analysis-indicator
U.S. FDI in Malta ($M USD, historical stock positions) 2018 USD 620 million http://www.bea.gov/international/factsheet/
World Bank GNI per capita 2018 USD 26,480 http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GNP.PCAP.CD

1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment

Policies Towards Foreign Direct Investment

Malta seeks foreign direct investment (FDI) to increase its rate of economic growth. Malta provides incentives to attract investment in high-tech manufacturing (including plastics, precision engineering, electronic components, automotive components, and health technologies such as pharmaceuticals manufacturing and biotechnology), information and communications technology (ICT), research and development (R&D), aerospace and aviation maintenance, education and training, registration of ships and aircrafts, transshipment and related service industries, finance services, and digital technologies, including artificial intelligence technologies, blockchain, innovative technologies, and digital gaming.

Malta’s comparative advantages include membership in the EU, Eurozone, and Schengen Zone; proximity to European and North African markets; excellent telecommunications and transport connections; a fair and transparent business environment; a highly skilled, English-speaking labor force; and competitive wage rates (though the cost of living is high, labor costs are relatively low compared with other EU countries). Malta also offers financial, tax, and other investment incentives to attract FDI. Foreign investment plays an integral part in the Government of Malta’s policies to reduce the role of the state in the economy and increase private sector activity. It will also play a key role in building Malta’s economic recovery post-pandemic as the country is in the process of shaping an economic strategy based on tangible niche market opportunities that will help it recover in the new economic and health conditions.

Malta Enterprise, a government organization that promotes FDI in Malta, provides information to prospective investors, processes applications for government investment incentives, and serves as a liaison between investors and other government entities. The organization offers an attractive investment package for U.S. and other investors.

There are currently no legal prohibitions against FDI-oriented sales in Malta’s domestic market; however, the country is in the process of setting up an FDI screening mechanism in line EU regulation 2019/452 establishing a framework for the screening of foreign direct investments into the Union. The government seeks, as a top priority, companies operating in the following fields:

  • High-end manufacturing (although virtually all manufacturing sectors are open to FDI);
  • Information and communications technology, including electronic components, and digital gaming;
  • Health technologies, medical equipment, pharmaceuticals, and emerging medical sectors (including medical cannabis);
  • Back office and regional support operations;
  • Digital technologies including blockchain, artificial intelligence, innovative technologies, e-sports, and fintech;
  • Knowledge-based service, including aerospace and defense (aviation maintenance), education and training, and research and development;
  • Logistics-based services, including marine technology, warehousing, and oil/gas services; and
  • Film industry (Malta has one of the few sets in the world for water/boating scenes).

Limits on Foreign Control and Right to Private Ownership and Establishment

Private foreign investors are free to make equity arrangements as they wish, from joint ventures to full equity ownership.

The Government of Malta recognizes the right to private ownership in theory and in practice. Private entities are free to establish, acquire, and dispose of interests in business enterprises and engage in all forms of remunerative activity. Many U.S. firms sell their products or services in Malta through licensing, franchise, or similar arrangements. The government generally allows foreign companies to operate in merchandising areas, especially if they operate a licensing, franchising, or similar agreement through a local representative.

It is the government’s stated policy not to allow public enterprises to operate at the expense of private entities. Some sectors, such as electricity generation, are also open to private sector participation. The government provides private enterprises with the same opportunities as public enterprises for access to markets and other business operations.

Other Investment Policy Reviews

The Government of Malta has not undergone any third-party investment policy reviews through a multilateral organization in the last three years.

Business Facilitation

The Maltese Commercial Code provides for the establishment of several types of business entities according to the needs of an individual investor when setting up a company in Malta. The following are the available structures:

  • Private limited liability companies;
  • Public limited liability companies;
  • General partnerships; and
  • Limited partnerships.

Foreign companies can also open subsidiaries or branch offices in Malta.

When setting up a Maltese private company, the minimum share capital amount accepted is €1,165 ($1,300). The minimum for a public company is approximately €46,600 ($51,670), of which 25 percent must be deposited prior to registration. In case of private companies with an authorized share capital exceeding the minimum requirements, only 20 percent of the amount must be deposited.

The maximum number of shareholders for limited liabilities companies is 50 and minimum is two (although a single-member company may also be registered under the Companies Act).

The following are the main steps required to set up a company in Malta:

  • Reserve a company name with the Maltese Business Registry;
  • Draft the company’s memorandum and articles of association;
  • Deposit the minimum share capital; and
  • File the application with the Malta Business Registry.

The documents to be filed with the Malta Registrar of Companies are:

  • The memorandum and articles of association;
  • A confirmation of the company name reservation;
  • The bank receipt confirming the share capital deposit; and
  • Passport copies of the shareholders, directors, and company secretary.

The Malta Business Registry (MBR) is responsible for the registration of new commercial partnerships, the registration of documents related to commercial partnership, the issuing of certified documentation including certificates of good-standing amongst others, the reservation of company names, the collection of registration and other fees, the publication of notices, and the imposition and collection of penalties. The Registry also conducts investigations of companies and maintains the company and partnership register.

The Memorandum must be presented to the MBR, which offers an online system allowing users to register a company and submit commonly used forms (including a bank receipt as proof of payment of the initial share capital). All the statutory forms and notices are available on the website free of charge. The MBR may also request that due diligence on the directors, shareholders, and/or beneficial owners be provided before proceeding with the incorporation. Upon incorporation, companies must pay a registration fee payable to the MBR according to the amount of share capital held by the company.

Once all the requirements above are satisfied, the MBR will normally carry out incorporation of a company within two to three working days. Once incorporation is complete, the MBR will publish a Certificate of Incorporation that will also display the company registration number.

MBR website: https://mbr.mt/ 

The Government of Malta also offers a one-stop shop for businesses – Business First – that assists companies with all processing of services and information to establish a company. Business First brings more than 50 essential services from various government departments and entities under one roof. It assists all enterprises based in Malta, including micro enterprises, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), larger companies, and foreign investors wishing to set up in the country.

Business First website: https://businessfirst.com.mt/ 

Outward Investment

TradeMalta, incorporated in 2014, is a public-private partnership between the government and the Chamber of Commerce to help Malta-based enterprises internationalize. TradeMalta is also the national organization tasked with marketing and coordinating both incoming and outgoing trade missions, promoting participation in international trade fairs, facilitating bilateral trade meetings, and researching new market opportunities. Although TradeMalta promotes outward investment and incentives for companies to seek international business, it does not provide financial incentives to set up FDI in other jurisdictions. This quasi-governmental organization is also tasked with maintaining business relationships with countries with whom Malta has a trading activity and dedicates its resources to identifying new markets, which are not considered as traditional trading partners. (For the past three years, it has targeted African countries for outgoing trade missions.)

The organization provides specialized training programs in international business development and marketing and administers incentive schemes and internationalization programs aimed at both novice and experienced exporters.

The government actively supports and promotes franchising, joint-ventures, and other forms of international business opportunities between Malta-based businesses and foreign companies.

4. Industrial Policies

Investment Incentives

The Government of Malta offers several investment incentives to attract FDI. All investment incentives are specified by law and cannot be made available in an ad hoc manner. However, the way in which incentives are designed allows the opportunity to offer relatively tailor-made solutions, even though treatment of domestic and non-Maltese investors is identical. There are no stated requirements that a foreign investor should transfer technology, employ Maltese nationals, or reduce shareholding interest over time. These factors might, however, influence Malta Enterprise’s decision regarding a firm’s application for assistance. Malta Enterprise monitors compliance with any conditions set by the government as a condition of government assistance. Investors are not required to disclose proprietary information.

Investment Tax Credits: Companies in a targeted sector are entitled to a tax credit calculated as follows:

  • As a percentage of qualifying capital expenditure (currently granting 10 percent for a large enterprise, 20 percent for a medium enterprise, and 30 percent for a small to micro enterprise; or
  • As a percentage of the wage cost for the first 24 months of a newly created job (currently, 15 percent for a large enterprise; 25 percent for a medium enterprise, and 35 percent for a small and micro enterprise).

Access to Finance:

  • Soft Loans: Malta Enterprise supports enterprise though loans at low interest rates for partial financing of investments in qualifying expenditure.
  • Loan Guarantees: Malta Enterprise may guarantee bank loans taken by a company to finance acquisition of additional assets to be employed in the company’s business.
  • Loan Interest Subsidies: Malta Enterprise may subsidize the rate of interest payable on bank loans. Loan interest subsidies are not in addition to loan guarantees and applicable to loans provided by banks or other financial institutions.
  • Micro Guarantee Scheme: Malta Enterprise aims to accelerate the growth of enterprises by facilitating access to debt finance for smaller business undertakings.

Employment and Training: Malta’s employment corporation JobsPlus, formerly known as ETC, supports enterprises in recruiting new employees and training their staff.

SME Development: Incentives through the Micro Invest Scheme assist SMEs in investing, innovating and expanding, or developing their operations. The Ministry for the Economy, Investment and Small Business can also facilitate access to newly developed crowd-funding platforms.

Enterprise Support: Malta Enterprise provides assistance to businesses to support development of international competitiveness, improve processes, and network with other businesses. Trade Malta, Malta’s export and trade promotion agency, offers support for trade promotion activities focused on exports.

Research and Development: Malta Enterprise offers incentives to support and encourage businesses to engage in industrial research and experimental development, including exploitation of intellectual property through the licensing of patented knowledge.

COVID-19 measures: The government announced several measures as part of financial packages to help the Maltese economy during the COVID-19 outbreak. The financial aid packages mainly aimed to protect jobs and businesses by injecting liquidity into the market through measures including subsidies for partial payment of salaries, deferring certain tax deadlines, and guarantees allowing banks to continue offering loans, grant moratoria, and low interest rates for customers. It has also introduced schemes to encourage teleworking for companies and an RDI fund for COVID-19 related projects.

More information on incentives offered by Malta Enterprise can be found at: https://www.maltaenterprise.com/support  and https://covid19.maltaenterprise.com/ 

Other Tax Benefits:

The Government of Malta offers generous incentives to trading and financial companies registered with the Malta Financial Services Authority. Legislative changes in 1994 removed the distinction between offshore and onshore companies, so all companies in Malta are subject to a 35 percent tax rate on profits. However, the fact that the Maltese tax system is a full imputation system – and the only one remaining in the EU – means that a tax paid by a company will essentially remain a prepaid tax on behalf of the tax liability of the shareholders. Shareholders then are entitled to claim a tax refund, which may be equivalent to roughly 85 percent (in the case of trading income) of the tax paid at the corporate level. Companies operating within the Malta Freeport, a customs-free zone, may also benefit from reduced rates of taxation and investment tax credits.

Research and Development

The Government of Malta offers specific incentives for companies to engage in industrial research and development (see “Investment Incentives” section above). The government does not differentiate between U.S. or foreign firms and local firms regarding participation in incentive programs.

U.S. companies also can partner with local firms to participate in Horizon 2020, the EU Framework program for funding research and innovation. Horizon 2020 will run until the end of 2020 and has a budget of €80 billion.

Foreign Trade Zones/Free Ports/Trade Facilitation

Malta’s Freeport container port offers modern transshipment facilities, storage, assembling and processing operations, as well as an oil terminal and bunkering facilities. Following a corporate restructuring from 1998 through 2001, Malta established a distinction between authority and operator of the Freeport. Malta Freeport Corporation Ltd. (“Malta Freeport Authority”) fulfils the role of landlord and authority, whereas Malta Freeport Terminals Ltd. (“Malta Freeport”) carries out the role of operator. Malta Freeport Terminals Ltd. is the single operating company of the warehousing facilities and two container terminals , handling container vessels at 20,000 TEU and larger. In October 2004, the Government of Malta granted a 30-year concession for operation and development of Malta Freeport Terminals CMA CGM, which transferred it half of shares in Malta Freeport Terminals Ltd. to the Yilidirim Group of Turkey in November 2011, and sold a 49% interest in port operator Terminal Link to China Merchant Holdings (International) Company Ltd. in June 2013.

For a company to carry out business within the Freeport zone, Malta Freeport Authority must grant it a license, and its operations must complement the Freeport’s activities. Through the utilization of these facilities, clients can engage in an extensive range of handling operations, including cargo consolidation, break-bulk, storage, re-packing, re-labelling and onward shipping. Malta Freeport also offers assembly and processing options in accordance with the Malta Freeports Act. The operator must ensure that it does not label goods that have been processed in the Freeport with Malta as their country of origin, unless their identity has been substantially transformed within the zone. Companies operating within the Freeport benefit from reduced tax rates, as well as investment tax credits without customs interventions.

Malta Freeport offers round-the-clock industrial storage operations supported by a highly developed, customized infrastructure, as well as extensive transport networks, which link Malta to various important markets on a regular basis, including port connections in North America, Central America, and South America. Warehousing facilities lie only six kilometers from the island’s international airport, offering excellent opportunities for sea and air links stretching worldwide. In late 2016, the government issued a call for expressions of interest for the development of a logistics hub – government still has not published a final decision on this call. The aim of the project is to attract local or international operators to submit their proposals for the concession of the design, construction, financing, operation, and maintenance of an international logistics center on 45,000 square meters of land in Ħal Far. The Government of Malta’s vision is to have a strategic hub for international trade, serving as a Free Zone or as a Custom Warehouse.

Performance and Data Localization Requirements

Currently, no performance requirements exist, other than the goals that the investors link to applications for assistance with Malta Enterprise. Foreign investors can repatriate or reinvest profits without restriction and take disputes before the International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).

The government does not require foreign investors to establish or maintain data storage in Malta. However, the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA), the independent regulatory body responsible for the governance of all gaming activities, does require gaming companies to hold their data in Malta.

Foreign IT providers incorporated in Malta that process personal data in the context of the activities of an establishment, qualifying as data controllers within the Data Protection Act, fall within the jurisdiction of the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner. The Data Protection Commissioner stated there has never been an instance where, during an investigation, the Commissioner has requested access to source code or to encryption functions.

Any transfer of personal data by a controller established in Malta to a third country that does not ensure an adequate level of data protection is subject to the authorization of the Data Protection Commissioner as required by the Data Protection Act. In an attempt to facilitate and harmonize the implementation of this requirement, the European Commission adopted model clauses (Standard Contractual Clauses and Binding Corporate Rules – the latter used for sharing of personal data within a group of companies) which controllers may use for this purpose. No authorization is required for transfers made to EU Member States, members of the EEA, third countries which are, from time to time, recognized by the European Commission to have an adequate level of protection, and to companies that are certified under the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield. Furthermore, any personal data shared (rather than transferred) between data controllers in Malta must rely on a legal basis.

The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), enacted in 2016, entered into force on May 25, 2018. The GDPR, which succeeds the Data Protection Directive of 1995, aims to protect EU citizens’ personal data, harmonize data privacy laws across the EU, and provide for better coordination among EU Member State data protection authorities. U.S. companies wishing to operate in Malta or to do business with Maltese individuals or entities should ensure compliance with the regulation.

Data controllers processing personal data are subject to the rules emanating from the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). These rules must be observed to ensure that the processing activities are carried out fairly and lawfully and with respect to the data subjects’ fundamental rights and freedoms. The competent authority in Malta that regulates and monitors observance with this law is the Office of the Information and Data Protection Commissioner.

6. Financial Sector

Capital Markets and Portfolio Investment

Malta’s Stock Exchange was established in 1993. In 2002, the Financial Markets Act effectively replaced the Malta Stock Exchange Act of 1990 as the law regulating the operations and setup of the Malta Stock Exchange. This legislation divested the Malta Stock Exchange of its regulatory functions and transferred these functions to the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA). The Financial Markets Act also set up a Listing Authority, which is responsible for granting “Admissibility to Listing” to companies seeking to have their securities listed on the Exchange.

To date, the few companies publicly listed on the Malta Stock Exchange have not faced the threat of hostile takeovers. Malta has no laws or regulations authorizing firms to adopt articles of incorporation/association that would limit foreign investment, participation, or control. Legal, regulatory, and accounting systems are transparent and consistent with international norms; several U.S. auditing firms have local offices.

Money and Banking System

The Maltese banking system is considered sound. In recent years, local commercial banks expanded the scope of their lending portfolios. Capital is available from both public and private sources; both foreign and local companies can obtain capital from local lending facilities. Commercial banks and their subsidiaries can provide loans at commercial interest rates. It is possible for new investors to negotiate soft loans from the government covering up to 75 percent of the projected capital outlay.

No U.S. bank has a branch in Malta. BNF and HSBC Malta currently maintain direct correspondent banking relationships with U.S. banks. Some local banks act as correspondents of several U.S. banks via other EU banks, though such a relationship often results in higher transaction costs.

The majority of banks have stopped opening accounts for companies that do not operate in Malta, those that operate in the electronic gaming sector, and those operating in the cryptocurrency sector. The few banks that still offer these services have tightened their due diligence processes, resulting in long delays to open accounts.

Malta takes pride in being the first country to propose a legal framework for the creation of an Authority to regulate Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, and Internet of Things (IOT) devices. In 2018, Government enacted three legislations that provide a regulatory framework on Distributed Ledger Technology, issuers of Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), and related service providers dealing in virtual currencies, which currently fall outside the scope of a legislative and regulatory regime.

Foreign Exchange and Remittances

Foreign Exchange

As long as investors present the appropriate documents to the Central Bank of Malta, there are no limitations on the inflow or outflow of funds for remittances of profits, debt service, capital, capital gains, returns on intellectual property, or imported raw materials. There are no significant delays in converting investment returns to foreign currency after presentation of the necessary documents. Maltese regulations and practices affecting remittances of investment capital and earnings have been streamlined, as several foreign exchange controls were relaxed to conform to EU directives. Malta joined the Eurozone in January 2008.

Remittance Policies

A company incorporated under the laws of Malta is considered ordinarily resident and domiciled in Malta. Companies which are ordinarily resident and domiciled in Malta are subject to tax on their worldwide income. A company not incorporated in Malta, but managed and controlled in Malta, is subject to tax on a remittance basis on its foreign-sourced income.

Companies subject to tax on a remittance basis are taxed on:

  • Income and capital gains deemed to arise in Malta
  • Income deemed arise outside Malta and remitted to Malta

Companies subject to the remittance basis are not taxed on:

  • Income deemed to arise outside Malta which is not remitted to Malta
  • Capital gains arising outside Malta

Companies which are not incorporated in Malta are considered to be resident in Malta when their management and control is shifted to Malta.

Malta does not allow the application of the remittance basis of taxation to individuals who are either (a) domiciled but not ordinarily resident or (b) ordinarily resident but not domiciled in Malta, whose spouse is both ordinarily resident and domiciled in Malta. In this regard, such individuals will now become taxable on their worldwide income and capital gains, irrespective of receipt/remittance of such income to Malta not domiciled in Malta.

Sovereign Wealth Funds

Malta has recently established the National Development and Social Fund (NDSF) to manage and administer receipts from the country’s Individual Investor Programme. Since inception through October 2019, it raised a total of €544 million ($593 million). The Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute ranked Malta’s NDSF the 71st world’s largest sovereign wealth fund. The fund receives 70 percent of its contributions from the country’s citizenship program. It has future charitable commitments of €56 million and, funds will also be funneled into the economy to help soften the economic crises brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. The mission of the NDSF is to contribute towards, promote, and support major projects and initiatives of national importance and public interest. These initiatives and projects are intended to develop and improve the economy, public services, and the general well-being of present and future generations.

7. State-Owned Enterprises

The Malta Investment Management Company Limited (MIMCOL) was established in 1988 to manage, restructure, and selectively divest the Government of Malta from state-owned enterprises (SOEs). MIMCOL also promotes private sector investment using cost-effective business practices across various SOEs. MIMCOL created strategies leading to the dissolution of SOEs with limited commercial prospects, as well as the profitable spin-off of non-core operations with commercial potential. MIMCOL’s focus then turned to SOEs deemed of strategic national value, but whose inefficient operations were reflective of a lack of competition. Eventually, MIMCOL prepared most SOEs for privatization and sold them off. Today, MIMCOL’s role has evolved into specialized assignments, such as strategic reviews of the management and operations of important parastatal companies and corporations operating in various sectors.MIMCOL’s sister company Malta Government Investments (MGI) holds a portfolio of 17 companies (excluding companies falling under the responsibility of other ministries and investments held directly by the government). This portfolio is not well defined. Most government investments are held by either the Board of Trustees within the Ministry for the Economy, Investment, and Small Business, or by Malta Government Investments Limited (MGI) as an agent for the Government of Malta.

Privatization Program

In recent years, the Maltese government has privatized a number of state-controlled firms, including the country’s largest bank, the postal service, shipyards, energy generation plants, and the wireless telecommunications industry. Although no plans exist to privatize Air Malta, the national airline, the Government of Malta was considering options for a strategic minority partner, though these plans are currently on hold. Ryanair also operates a subsidiary airline called Malta Air that incorporated its 61 Ryanair routes to and from Malta. The Ryanair fleet will register with the Malta Aviation Authority.

In 2015, the Government of Malta set up Projects Malta and Projects Plus Ltd to coordinate and facilitate public private partnerships between government ministries and the private sector. The government welcomes private investors, Maltese and non-Maltese, in privatization projects. It affords foreign investors equal treatment with domestic investors and sets few limitations on their operations. The government recently finalized its first international public-private partnership in the healthcare industry. Foreign investors can repatriate or reinvest profits without restriction and take disputes before the International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).

11. Labor Policies and Practices

Malta’s labor force at the end of 2019 stood at 258,064 (83.4 percent male). The country’s population is about 493,500, the smallest in the EU. For 2019, the national minimum monthly wage was $853 (€761.97). The estimated average gross annual salary of employees stood at $21,823 (€19,488); this amount refers to the basic salary and excludes extra payments such as overtime, bonuses, and allowances. In 2019, on a sectoral basis, the highest recorded average gross annual salary for employees was in financial and insurance activities. Social insurance contributions add ten percent to the wage bill, together with a 0.3 percent contribution to the government maternity fund. Free or subsidized meals, commuting allowances, and health insurance are the most common fringe benefits. In addition, employees are entitled to 25 days of annual leave and public holidays that fall on a weekday. National law establishes a minimum number of sick leave days.

Foreign companies that have invested in Malta have a high regard for the ability, productivity, and learning potential of Maltese workers, nearly all of whom speak English. In some industries, labor productivity is comparable to other countries in Western Europe. Maltese managers now run most of the foreign firms in Malta. Malta enjoys one of the lowest strike rates in Western Europe, and labor unrest is unlikely in the foreseeable future. The Government of Malta strictly adheres to the ILO convention protecting workers’ rights.

12. U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) and Other Investment Insurance and Development Finance Programs

Although Malta, as a high-income country as defined by the World Bank, generally does not qualify for DFC support, energy infrastructure projects in Malta could qualify under the European Security and Energy Diversification Act. Malta’s leading trading partners (the United Kingdom, Germany, France, and Italy) offer risk insurance programs similar to DFC that likewise cover investments in Malta. Malta is a member of the World Bank’s Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA).

13. Foreign Direct Investment and Foreign Portfolio Investment Statistics

Table 2: Key Macroeconomic Data, U.S. FDI in Host Country/Economy
Host Country Statistical source* USG or international statistical source USG or International Source of Data:  BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
Economic Data Year Amount Year Amount  
Host Country Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ($B USD) 2019 $14.79 2019 $14.989 http://www.worldbank.org/en/country 
Foreign Direct Investment Host Country Statistical source* USG or international statistical source USG or international Source of data:  BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
U.S. FDI in Malta ($M USD, stock positions) 2019 $2,422 2019 $579 BEA data available at
https://www.bea.gov/
international/di1usdbal
Malta’s FDI in the United States ($M USD, stock positions) 2018 $826 2018 $1,549 BEA data available at
https://www.bea.gov/
international/di1fdibal
Total inbound stock of FDI as % Malta’s GDP 2019 1,382.1% 2019 1,319.4% https://unctad.org/en/Pages/DIAE/
World%20Investment%20Report/
Country-Fact-Sheets.aspx

* Source for Host Country Data: Malta National Statistics Office

** Exchange rates: $1 = €0.893 (2019 figures); $1 = €0.848 (2018 figures)

Table 3: Sources and Destination of FDI 
Direct Investment from/in Counterpart Economy Data
From Top Five Sources/To Top Five Destinations (US Dollars, Millions)
Inward Direct Investment Outward Direct Investment
Total Inward 206,130 100% Total Outward 69,786 100%
Germany 25,553 12% Germany 11,963 17%
The Netherlands 23,666 11% The Netherlands 8,789 13%
Ireland 14,882 7% United Kingdom 5,214 7%
United Kingdom 14,136 7% Ireland 4,939 7%
Canada 13,159 6% Canada 4,560 7%
“0” reflects amounts rounded to +/- USD 500,000.
Table 4: Sources of Portfolio Investment
Portfolio Investment Assets
Top Five Partners (Millions, current US Dollars)
Total Equity Securities Total Debt Securities
All Countries 132,198 100% All Countries 113,885 100% All Countries 18,313 100%
Germany 20,136 15% Ireland 8,710 8% France 1,331 7%
Netherlands 14,710 11% Canada 7,437 7% Canada 1,061 6%
United Kingdom 9,341 7% Cayman Islands 2,992 3% International Organizations 1,029 6%
Ireland 8,988 7% France 2,142 2% Australia 471 3%
Canada 8,498 6% Australia 1,831 2% Austria 318 2%
Investment Climate Statements
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