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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 533,286 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, online gaming, tourism, and professional, scientific, and technical activities. 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 provides to the generation of national wealth.

Prior to COVID-19, Malta was one of the EU’s fastest-growing economies. In 2022, real GDP growth is estimated to have reached 6.6 percent. In 2023, real GDP is forecast to grow at a slower pace, by 3.1 percent, following a wider economic slowdown in Malta’s main trading partners. In 2024, real GDP growth is expected to reach 3.7 percent, supported by net exports and growth in domestic demand. Malta’s unemployment rate stood at 3.1 percent in February 2022.

The top three credit rating agencies assess Malta’s economy as stable. 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 2020, the Government of Malta revamped its citizenship-by-investment program, which provides citizenship by naturalization to applicants (and their dependents). The new program still offers a track to citizenship through the introduction of a residency requirement before the acquisition of Maltese citizenship. The residency program offers two investment routes to acquire citizenship: i) individuals can apply after a one-year residency period if they invest €750,000 ($875,000) or more; or ii) applicants can opt to pay €600,000 ($700,500) if they apply after a three-year residency period.  IIP conditions include a €700,000 ($814,000) 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. Applicants must also make a mandatory €10,000 ($11,600) philanthropic donation and pass a due diligence test before filing the application. In March 2022, the government suspended the processing of applications for nationals of the Russian Federation and Belarus. The suspension applies to both Malta’s citizenship-by-investment scheme as well as a residency through investment scheme, which must be renewed on a yearly basis.

Table 1: Key Metrics and Rankings
Measure Year Index/Rank Website Address
TI Corruption Perceptions Index 2022 54 of 171  
Global Innovation Index 2022 21 of 132  
U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, historical stock positions) 2021 $2.3 billion
World Bank GNI per capita 2021 USD 30,760  

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, aviation maintenance and drones, education and training, registration of ships and aircrafts, transshipment and related service industries, finance services, and digital technologies, including artificial intelligence technologies, distributed ledger technology, 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 skilled, English-speaking labor force; and competitive wage rates (although the cost of living is comparable to many EU countries, labor costs are relatively low by comparison). Malta also offers financial, tax, and other investment incentives to attract FDI, although tax incentives, may change to reflect Malta’s agreement with the global tax harmonization outlined by the OECD. 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. FDI has also played a key role in building Malta’s economic recovery post-pandemic as the country shaped an economic strategy based on tangible niche market opportunities that is helping it recover in the new economic 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.

The government seeks, as a top priority, companies operating in the following fields:

  • High-end manufacturing;
  • ICT, augmented and virtual reality, and digital gaming;
  • Health technologies, medical equipment, pharmaceuticals, and emerging medical sectors including medical cannabis and medtech;
  • Back office and regional support operations;
  • Digital technologies including distributed ledger technology, artificial intelligence, innovative technologies, e-sports, and fintech;
  • Knowledge-based service, including 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, however FDI in Malta is subject to Chapter 620 of the Laws of Malta, in line with EU regulation 2019/452 establishing a framework for the screening of foreign direct investments into the Union. The Government of Malta has set up a National Foreign Direct Investment Screening Office (NFDIS), the NFDIS’s scope and remit consists of screening new FDI projects, joint ventures with a foreign component, and the transfer of any shares and/or controlling interests in existing companies where the owner, titleholder, or ultimate beneficial owner originates from any country outside of the European Union.

The sectors as per law which are subject to screening include the following:

(a) critical infrastructure, whether physical or virtual, including energy, transport, water, health, communications, media, data processing or storage, aerospace, defense, electoral or financial infrastructure, and sensitive facilities, as well as land and real estate crucial for the use of such infrastructure;
(b) critical technologies and dual use items, including artificial intelligence, robotics, semiconductors, cybersecurity, aerospace, defense, energy storage, quantum, nuclear technologies, nanotechnologies, and biotechnologies;
(c) supply of critical inputs, including energy or raw materials and food security;
(d) access to sensitive information, including personal data, or the ability to control such information; and
(e) the freedom and pluralism of the media.

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, following review by NFDIS if necessary. Many U.S. firms sell their products or services in Malta through licensing, franchise agreements, 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

In 2018, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) released the fourth batch of peer review reports relating to the implementation of the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) minimum standard under Action 14 on improving tax dispute resolution mechanisms. Malta was among the assessed jurisdictions that were reviewed within the fourth batch which also included the following countries: Australia, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand and Portugal.

Overall, the report concludes that Malta meets almost all the elements of the Action 14 minimum standard, although several elements were not available for assessment at this stage due to Malta’s limited experience with the Mutual Agreement Procedure (MAP). Notwithstanding this limited experience, the Stage 1 peer review report indicate that Malta generally has the tools to be able to resolve MAP cases satisfactorily. Malta has indicated that it is committed to address any shortcomings identified in its Stage 1 peer review report.

Full report can be accessed here: Making dispute resolution more effective – MAP peer review report, Malta (stage 1) : inclusive framework on BEPS Action 14

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. MBR also conducts investigations of companies and maintains the company and partnership register.

The memorandum must be presented to 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. 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 MBR according to the amount of share capital held by the company.

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

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 microenterprises, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), larger companies, and foreign investors wishing to set up in the country.

Business First website: 

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 traditional trading partners. (For the past three years, it has targeted North 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.

In 2010, the United States signed a bilateral taxation agreement with Malta, in December 2021 this was followed up by a competent authority arrangement (CAA) confirming the U.S. and Malta’s understanding of the meaning of pension fund for purposes of the United States–Malta income tax treaty (Treaty). Malta also benefits from treaties with investment provisions with ACP (African, Caribbean, and Pacific Group of States), Albania, Algeria, ANCOM (Andean Community), Armenia, ASEAN (Association of South-East Asian Nations), Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, CACM (Central American Common Market), Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, CARICOM (Caribbean Community), Chile, China, Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, Ecuador, EFTA (European Free Trade Association), Egypt, ESA (Eastern and Southern Africa), GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council), Georgia, India, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Republic of Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lebanon, Libya, Macao S.A.R., MERCOSUR (Mercado Común Sudamericano), Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Nepal, North Macedonia, OCT (Overseas Countries and Territories), Pakistan, the Palestinian Territories, Paraguay, Peru, Russia, SADC (Southern African Development Community), Serbia, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, and Yemen.

The United States has maintained a Commerce and Navigation Treaty with Malta since 1815, initially in its capacity as a British colony, and, upon Malta’s independence in 1964, on its own behalf. The primary aim of this agreement is to ensure non-discriminatory treatment for bilateral trade and investments. Malta has similar investor protection accords with Albania, Austria, Belgium/Luxembourg Economic Union, Bulgaria, China, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Kuwait, Libya, Montenegro, Netherlands, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey, and the United Kingdom.

There are currently no ongoing systematic tax disputes between the government and foreign investors. Malta is amongst the 141 countries and jurisdictions that agreed upon the OECD Inclusive Framework on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS).

Transparency of the Regulatory System

Malta has transparent and effective policies and regulations to foster competition. It has revised labor, safety, health, and other laws to conform to EU standards.

All proposed regulations are published on a unified website, on the website of the relevant ministry or regulator, and directly distributed to interested stakeholders. Stakeholder engagement is currently required for all subordinate regulations as part of the Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) process as well as for some primary laws in selected policy areas. Each online consultation is accompanied by a feedback report, summarizing the views of participants and providing feedback on the comments received. According to an OECD 2019 report on Indicators of Regulatory Policy and Governance, the transparency of the Maltese regulatory framework could be further strengthened by making RIAs available for consultations with stakeholders by systematically engaging with stakeholders during the development of primary laws, specifically at an early stage, before a preferred regulatory decision has been identified. The “Small Business Act” (SBA), adopted in 2011 and recently revised in 2021, introduced a framework for ex ante impact assessment to be applied by ministries when developing subordinate regulations, including an SME-Test, and more recently for developing primary laws.

The European Commission (EC) Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) came into force 5 January 2023. This EC directive introduced extensive mandatory reporting requirements for large companies and separate, proportionate standards for listed SMEs, a requirement that is also extended to Malta. Companies will have to report on how sustainability issues affect their business, society, the environment and vice versa.  As a result, nearly 50,000 companies in the EU – Maltese companies included – have to report on sustainability matters.  External audits will be required to verify the reported information. Companies have to digitally report/tag the information, so it is machine readable.

The CSRD revises, broadens and strengthens the rules originally introduced by the Non-Financial Reporting Directive (NFRD) by introducing a standardized and common language for sustainability information and bringing sustainability reporting on par with financial reporting. Member States now have 18 months to transpose the provisions of the CSRD into national law (i.e. by 4 July 2024 at the latest).

In December 2021, Malta launched its first Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) portal, allowing the general public and investors to evaluate the environmental, social and governance credentials of the largest quoted companies in Malta. The ESG portal, facilitates local and foreign investors’ access to data measuring the level of importance companies are giving to ESG. This platform will serve to further encourage sustainable investment, as investors are increasingly looking into ESG credentials before investing. These companies are quoted on Malta’s Stock Exchange, and their ESG credentials can now be accessed via: .

International Regulatory Considerations

Malta’s regulatory system is derived from the acquis communautaire, the body of laws, rights, and obligations that are binding on all EU member states. Consequently, trade and investment relations with third countries are an EU responsibility under the Common Commercial Policy. However, with respect to investment, Malta does have some national competences in certain investment areas. In particular, where the EU does not have or is not negotiating an investment protection agreement, Malta can hold or negotiate one unilaterally. Malta also maintains competence in the areas of transport and portfolio investment, as well as corporate taxation. NFDIS implements the EU-wide mechanism for cooperation on investment as required by the new EU framework for investment screening which entered into force on April 10, 2019.

Malta became a WTO member on January 1, 1995. However, all draft technical regulations to the WTO Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade are now made at the EU level.

Malta ratified the Trade Facilitation Agreement on October 5, 2015 and is in full compliance with its implementation commitments.

Legal System and Judicial Independence

Malta’s Commercial Code regulates commercial activities and related legislation, such as the Banking Act, the Central Bank of Malta Act, and bankruptcy. In cases of bankruptcy, the court appoints a curator to liquidate the assets of the bankrupt company, organization, or individual, and distributes the proceeds among the creditors.

The Maltese judiciary is independent, and courts are divided into superior courts, presided over by judges, and inferior courts, presided over by magistrates. Inferior courts have jurisdiction over minor offenses of a criminal nature and small civil matters. The judiciary traditionally functions through the Criminal, Civil, and Constitutional courts. The First Hall of the Civil Court hears commercial cases. Malta has a Criminal Court of Appeal and a second Court of Appeal for all other matters. The Constitutional Court has jurisdiction to hear and determine questions and appeals on constitutional issues. There are also a number of administrative tribunals, such as the Industrial Tribunal, the Rent Regulation Board, the Sanction Monitoring Board, and the Board of Special Commissioners (for income tax purposes). Malta adopted the European Convention of Human Rights as part of its domestic law in 1987.

The Maltese judiciary has a long tradition of independence. Once appointed to the bench, judges and magistrates have fixed salaries that do not require annual approval. Judges cannot be dismissed, except by a two-thirds vote in the House of Representatives for proven misbehavior or the inability to exercise properly their function. The Maltese Constitution guarantees the separation of powers between the executive and the judiciary and a fair trial. In December 2018, the European Commission for Democracy through Law, known as the Venice Commission, issued an opinion on the constitutional arrangements, separation of powers, and independence of the judiciary and law enforcement bodies of Malta. Malta is currently in the process of implementing changes in accordance with the Venice Commission recommendation. Thus far various laws have been enacted to address reforms which include constitutional arrangements that divest powers from the Prime Minister to appoint the judiciary and law enforcement, and separation of powers between the judiciary and law enforcement.

In the latest 2022 Rule of Law Report Country Chapter on Malta the European Commission noted that Maltese reforms enacted during 2020, in particular the transfer of prosecutions from the police to the Attorney General, and a review on the independence of specialized tribunals has been announced by the Government. The Government adopted the National Anti-Fraud and Corruption Strategy, whose implementation is overseen by an inter-ministerial Committee. Concerns raised by the EC was that no further steps have been taken regarding the system of appointment of the Chief Justice, and the lack of involvement of the judiciary in that system requires further attention. Regarding the quality of justice, several initiatives have been carried out, including the publication of the first national Digital Justice Strategy (2022-2027) and improvements in the legal aid framework.

Laws and Regulations on Foreign Direct Investment

Several laws govern foreign investment in Malta. The Income Tax Act of 1948 (as amended in 1994) establishes a single rate of taxation of 35 percent on income for limited liability companies in Malta. In certain qualifying cases, this rate can fall to five percent through a system of tax refunds on dividends paid. The Business Promotion Act authorizes the Government of Malta to allocate fiscal and other incentives to companies engaged in manufacturing (including software development), repair, or maintenance activities. The Malta Enterprise Act of 2003 enables Malta Enterprise to develop and administer incentives and other forms of support to liberalize and update legislation relevant to FDI. The Companies Act of 1995 regulates the creation of limited liability companies. The Companies Act also provides for the establishment of investment companies with variable share capital (SICAVS) and companies with share capital denominated in a foreign currency. The Malta Financial Services Authority Act of 1989 established the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA), which is responsible for the regulation of banking and investment services in Malta. The Investment Services Act of 1994 regulates investment services in the banking and insurance sectors. In 2018, Malta enacted three new acts related to blockchain. The Malta Digital Innovation Authority Act (MDIA) establishes the Authority that oversees and regulates innovative technologies, along with the Innovative Technology Arrangement and Services Act (ITAS) that regulates Innovative Technology Arrangements and Services, such as the software and coding used in digital ledger technology (DLT), smart contract, and related applications, together with the technical administration and review services. In 2018, the MFSA was entrusted with the Virtual Financial Assets Act (VFA) that regulates Initial Virtual Financial Assets Offerings and delineates their licensing requirements. The National Foreign Direct Investment Screening Office Act of 2020 was set up in order to implement the provisions of Regulation (EU) 2019/452 establishing a framework for the screening of foreign direct investments into the Union. The purpose of the screening process is to protect European Union intelligence, knowledge and technology, as well as the security interests of the Union.

Competition and Antitrust Laws

Malta is a free-trade, open-economy country. The government does not approve or restrict any FDI, so long as it complies with EU and national regulations. Malta Enterprise reviews FDI before granting any incentives to a private entity or business. A due diligence process is carried out prior to approving greenfield investments. The MFSA undertakes the filings and regulatory screenings on financial investments.

The Office for Competition, currently housed within the Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority (MCCAA), is the office tasked with protecting competition in Malta. The Maltese Competition Act is modelled on EU competition law. The latest amendments to the Competition Act in 2011 strengthened its deterrent effect by widening the decision-making powers of the Office for Competition and further aligned both the substantive and procedural rules with those existing under EU law.

Expropriation and Compensation

The Government of Malta, in exceptional instances, expropriates private property for public purposes. In such cases, the government must take action in a non-discriminatory manner and in accordance with established principles of international law. Investors and lenders of expropriated property receive prompt, adequate, and effective compensation. In 1993, the government’s Property Division started accepting expropriation requests by public bodies only if the requests were accompanied by the compensation due to the landowners. In 2002, this practice was made law. As a result, the government may only expropriate private property if the presidential decree also includes a deposit for the compensation due. In recent years, the government has appropriated land mainly for the widening of roads; however, no particular sectors are at risk for expropriation or similar actions, and no laws force local ownership.

Dispute Settlement

ICSID Convention and New York Convention

Malta signed the Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) in 2002. Malta is also a member of the New York Convention of 1958 on the recognition and enforcement of foreign arbitration awards (UNCITRAL).

Investor-State Dispute Settlement

There has only been one significant investment disputes over the past few years involving U.S. or other foreign investors or contractors in Malta. In a limited number of cases, U.S. investors have identified difficulties in obtaining fair legal resolutions, especially in disputes with Maltese parties. Courts in Malta are slow in processing cases. Reforms to increase efficiency in the judicial system are part of an ongoing constitutional reform effort, including the recent progress Malta made on implementing the Venice Commission recommendations. In December 2019, the State Advocate Act came in effect, as part of the reform in the Maltese justiciary, which split the Attorney General’s (AG) dual government advisory and prosecutorial roles.

International Commercial Arbitration and Foreign Courts

Malta honors the enforcement of foreign court judgments and foreign arbitration awards. Bilateral investment treaties, which Malta has with several countries (see section 3, Bilateral Investment Agreements), provide for the acceptable methods of settling disputes connected with citizens of those countries.

Bankruptcy Regulations

The Companies Act and the Commercial Code Bankruptcy in Malta and the Set-off and Netting on Insolvency Act of 2003 regulate bankruptcy. The latter provides for the set-off and netting due to each party with respect to mutual credits, mutual debts, or other mutual dealings that are enforceable whether before or after bankruptcy or insolvency.

The Maltese insolvency law regime distinguishes between bankruptcies of a person and bankruptcies of a commercial partnership other than a company. When a company cannot pay its debts, it may initiate insolvency proceedings. In such a case, the court examines carefully whether the financial situation of the company justifies its insolvency or whether it could remain operational and continue to pay its debts.

Any officer of a company who, in the twelve months prior to the deemed date of dissolution, concealed assets or documents, disposed of assets, or otherwise acted in a fraudulent manner may be criminally liable. Separately, courts may find any such officers civilly liable for such acts and require them to pay back to the company any moneys due. The law also provides for proceedings in cases of wrongful trading by directors and fraudulent trading by any officer of the company.

The Malta Association of Credit Management, known as MACM, is a members-owned, not-for-profit organization, providing a central national organization for the promotion and protection of all credit interests pertaining to Maltese businesses. More information at: .

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 local and foreign 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 Aid

Companies in key sectors may be supported on their initial investment and the expansion of current investment. In the case of SME’s the support is calculated as a percentage of up to 30% of the qualifying expenditure in tangible and intangible assets or the cost of the first 24 months of wages related to roles created by the investment, 20 % for medium sized companies and 10% for large companies. The support is granted as a tax credit against future income tax and may in certain instances be awarded as a cash grant. Supported projects may also be facilitated through access to finance measures in which case the gross grant aid equivalent of the access to finance measure shall be reduced from any aid awarded as tax credit.

Access to Finance

Malta Enterprise supports enterprise carrying out initial investment projects by providing:

  • Guarantees which may be used to partially guarantee investment loans issued from commercial bank; or
  • Loan interest subsidies on the rate of interest payable on bank loans.

Soft loans to support firms undertaking investments which are not typically supported through traditional bank finance. This financial instrument is designed to cover business ventures to establish new products, entering new geographic markets, or digitizing operations. Such undertakings may be supported through a soft loan covering part of the funding requirements of up to €1 million.

Research and Development

The Government of Malta offers specific incentives for companies to engage in industrial 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. The government does not differentiate between U.S. or other foreign firms and local firms regarding participation in incentive programs.

U.S. companies also can partner with local firms to participate in Horizon Europe, the EU Framework program for funding research and innovation. Horizon Europe will run until the end of 2027 and has a budget of €95.5 billion.

Incentives for Green Energy, Business Regeneration and Sustainability

Malta’s budgetary plans have placed environmental and social responsibility at the top of the country’s agenda, with a long-term vision aiming to support the post-pandemic economic regeneration. Malta Enterprise offers support to businesses based in Malta to engage in the twin green and digital transition, and to meet international ESG expectations. The agency has launched a number of specific support measures, including the Smart and Sustainable Investment Grant, which encourages enterprises to invest further in sustainability, leading to reduction of waste, increased use of sustainable materials, and higher levels of energy and water efficiency. Eligible businesses can benefit from up to €100,000 for every project, covering 50% of the total eligible costs.

Furthermore, as part of Malta’s efforts to meet its emission targets and build a more sustainable future, Malta Enterprise is launching several programs, including a scheme designed to help enterprises replace their fossil fuel-powered vehicles with electric ones.

Cognizant of the current worldwide challenges related to supply chains and to mitigate price hikes in the cost of international movement, the government has extended its rent subsidy incentive to reach an even larger number of eligible businesses, particularly in covering expenses for the rental cost of warehouses for stockpiling.

Another related development, specifically to the address the circular economy, Malta will be launching the Blue Med Hub, with the aim of bringing together various blue economy experts and that of attracting start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises, both local and foreign, related to this field. The Hub will collaborate with African and Middle Eastern entities to open investment opportunities in this sector.

More information on incentives offered by Malta Enterprise can be found at: 

Employment and Training: Malta’s employment corporation JobsPlus, supports enterprises in recruiting new employees and training their staff. Malta Enterprise offers the Skills Development Scheme which enterprises can benefit of when training their employees. Malta hosts a number of foreign universities offering courses on the Island targeting both local and foreign students, with the latest addition being Bart’s School of Medicine, Queen Mary University of London.

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.

Startups: Malta is open for startups. Malta Enterprise is leading national efforts to consolidate the startups ecosystem. Its financial schemes may support startups with up to 1.2 million Euro covering costs of salaries, equipment, relocation and equity among others. Such assistance combines seed funding, repayable advanced grants and scaleup grants.

Over the past years, the country has notably invested in the creation of incubators and the attraction of accelerators such as Plug and Play, shared working-spaces, seed-financing schemes and other financial incentives, consolidating the start-up ecosystem with the launch of a national portal for start-ups. For more information visit 

A new initiative launched in 2022, is the Start-Up Residence Programme, a mechanism to continue making Malta an attractive location for start-ups and entrepreneurs. A new residency visa for founders and co-founders developing start-ups will ease establishing a business in Malta.

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. An additional tax benefit initiative recently introduced is to be given to businesses that reinvest a percentage of their retained profits into eligible projects in the same business or in another enterprise.

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 its half of shares in Malta Freeport Terminals Ltd. to the Yilidirim Group of Turkey in November 2011 and sold a 49 percent 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.

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 qualify as data controllers under the Data Protection Act and 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 be in line with the legal requirement as established in the Data Protection Act.

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.

Real Property

Property and contractual rights are enforced by means of (a) legal warning; (b) warrants of seizure; (c) warrants of prohibitory injunction; (d) warrants of impediments of departures (if proceedings fall within the jurisdiction of the Criminal Court); and (e) sale of property by court auction. The Code of Organization and Civil Procedures lays out procedures for registering and enforcing judgments of foreign courts. Rights and secured interests over immovable property must be publicly registered in order to be enforceable. The Government of Malta has occasionally been a party to international arbitrations and has abided by tribunal decisions.

The 2006 Maltese Securitization Act provides for a range of securitization transactions within its secure regulatory framework and offers various legal and international tax benefits. Malta permits the creation of securitization cell structures, allowing for multiple cells with clear segregation of assets and liabilities between each cell. Foreign investors typically use securitization for passporting funds, which allows a firm registered in the European Economic Area (EEA) to do business in any other EEA state without the need for further authorization from each country, and for investment within the EU. Investors typically use this system over the securitization of property.

Intellectual Property Rights

The Maltese legal system adequately protects and facilitates acquisition and disposition of intellectual property rights. In 2000, Malta implemented the pertinent provisions of the WTO Trade-Related Aspects on Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). Malta has fully incorporated EU and WTO rules into national law. Additional information on EU-wide provisions on copyright, patents, trademarks, and designs can be found at: 

In addition, Malta is a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, the Bern Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, and the Universal Copyright Convention (UCC).

Malta is not listed in the USTR’s Special 301 report nor in the USTR’s Notorious Market Report. The Association against Copyright Theft claims that Malta’s local laws do not include high enough minimum fines to deter vendors from selling pirated material. For additional information about treaty obligations and points of contact at local IP offices, please see WIPO’s country profiles at .

Malta’s Commerce Department within the Ministry for the Economy, European Funds and Lands is responsible for intellectual property-related issues.

The Malta Customs Intellectual Property Rights Unit – Enforcement Directorate operates in terms of the Intellectual Property Rights cross- border European measures. Given Malta’s strategic position in the Mediterranean Sea shipping routes, Malta Customs has a significant role and requires the office to inspect the transit/transshipment cargo at Malta Freeport terminal. Over the past years, Malta Customs major detentions of counterfeited goods were destined to the Northern African countries originating from Asia. Customs have detained millions of counterfeit goods that include cigarettes, sport shoes, sportswear, toothpaste, shampoos, deodorants, clothing accessories, and garments. Since Malta joined the EU, Malta Customs’ recordings of counterfeit goods detentions have been among the highest recorded at an EU level. Annual statistics can be found at the following link: 

For additional information about national laws and points of contact at local IP offices, please see WIPO’s country profiles at .

Commerce Department
Tel: +356 2122 6688
Address: Commerce Department, Lascaris Bastion, Valletta, VLT 1933, Malta

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. Except for the EU regulation 2019/452 establishing a framework for the screening of foreign direct investments and the subsequent incorporation into the Laws of Malta as Chapter 620, 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 Distributed Ledger Technology, 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

In 2015, Malta established the National Development and Social Fund (NDSF) to manage and administer receipts from the country’s citizenship-by-investment program. According to the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute (SWFI), NDSF current assets is $730.6 million making it the 80th largest sovereign wealth fund worldwide. The fund receives 70 percent of its contributions from the country’s citizenship program. Among some of the most noteworthy investments allocated by the NDSF are: €66 million ($72 million) in Social Housing, for the construction of a substantial amount of units; €1.5 million ($1.65 million) as an investment in artistic heritage, €3.5 million ($3.85 million) in Urban Greening projects and €950,000 ($1.46 million) investment in Mater Dei Hospital’s Cardiology Department to upgrade its two catheterization suites. NDSF funds has also been utilized by government 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.

In March 2022, the Malta Government Investments (MGI), the Sovereign Fund of Egypt (SFE), and French public investment bank Bpifrance have signed a deed to establish the European, Middle East, and North Africa (EMENA) Sovereign Wealth Funds Foundation based in Malta. In addition, the Compañía Española de Financiación del Desarrollo (COFIDES) signed a memorandum of understanding with the three parties with the intention to become a member of EMENA. The foundation aims to serve as a regional platform for members to meet and exchange experiences and available information on investment opportunities to achieve national and sustainable economic development goals in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. The collaboration network further aims to crowd in sovereign fund backed capital that will help unlock significant private investment flows to de-risk and fund projects or companies in the EMENA area that has an investment funding gap of USD700-900 billion, with a special focus on green technology, sustainable development, SMEs and innovation.

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, European Funds and Lands or by Malta Government Investments Limited (MGI) as an agent for the Government of Malta.

Privatization Program

Upon accession to the European Union, and 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 was registered 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. Foreign investors can repatriate or reinvest profits without restriction and take disputes before the International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has become more prevalent in Malta in recent years, as global concerns such as climate change have risen to the forefront and as the EU has raised expectations for its member states regarding CSR. An increasing number of companies in Malta recognize the importance of their role in society and the real benefits of adopting a proactive approach to CSR.

The Maltese government does not specifically request adherence to OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises; however, it is expected that multinationals follow generally accepted CSR principles.

Under the Code of Good Corporate Governance Guidelines, issued by the Malta Financial Services Authority in 2006, boards should seek to adhere to accepted CSR principles in day-to-day management practices and work closely with “suppliers, customers, employees, and public authorities.” Although corporate governance guidelines are non-binding in nature, public interest companies should highlight the adherence to such corporate governance principles in their annual reports.

In line with recent amendments to the Companies Act, the directors’ report that accompanies the annual financial statements should include an analysis of both financial and non-financial key performance indicators relevant to the particular business, including information relating to environmental matters.

In February 2022, the European Commission proposed a Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDDD) that will require large companies to incorporate due diligence in their company policies to mitigate adverse impacts on the environment and human rights in their operations, and also places the obligation on all their established business relationships globally. Therefore, all companies, no matter how big or small, that are in a value chain of a company that falls within the scope of this Directive, whether in Malta or internationally, will also require to abide by the code of conduct to be compliant with this directive. The requirements of the CSDDD will also apply to all non-SMEs when seeking credit from financial institutions. Currently, this directive is moving through the European Union legislative process.

Additional Resources

Department of State

Department of the Treasury

Department of Labor

Climate Issues

In October 2019, the Maltese Parliament unanimously declared a climate emergency, a predicament identified in Malta’s 2015 Climate Action Act.  The Climate Action Act was published as Chapter 543 of the Laws of Malta and is Malta’s main law on climate change. The Act provides legal obligations for coherent and coordinated governance to deal with this challenge on a national level. The subsidiary legislation under the Act transposes the legally binding commitments that the EU member States have under the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), 1997 the Kyoto Protocol and the 2015 Paris Agreement. Besides the Climate Action Act there are various national Policies, Strategies and Plans that address climate action.

Malta has committed to also move towards the EU’s collective efforts of climate neutrality by 2050.  The same ambition is also embedded in Malta’s post-pandemic economic vision, whereby Malta unveiled an ambitious climate action plan – to achieve net-zero emissions in just 30 years and implement green changes to every aspect of life.  Malta plans on fulfill its commitment through the implementation of its Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS), launched in 2021.

Malta’s Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) includes a first 10-year plan with a list of measures to mitigate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, including a package of transport measures such as electrification of vehicles, extension of free public transport and incentives to encourage walking, cycling and other active transport such as e-bikes and pedelecs; and energy-efficiency in buildings such as photovoltaic panel schemes, support for solar water heaters, heat pumps, insulation and double-glazing.

Maltese law provides criminal penalties for official corruption, and the government generally implements these laws effectively. The Malta Police Force, the Attorney General’s Office, and the Permanent Commission against Corruption are responsible for combating official corruption. Past news reports suggest a number of government corruption allegations, which have resulted in legal action and resignations.

While corruption remains an area of concern more broadly, public sector corruption, including bribery of public officials, is not a significant challenge for U.S. firms operating in Malta. The Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) completed its fifth evaluation of Malta in the autumn of 2018 and its findings were published in September 2019. Following the four previous rounds of evaluation and a follow-up compliance review, Malta introduced a number of legislative measures to combat corruption and is currently in the process of introducing further measures to improve its financial oversight.

In 2019, the Committee of the Experts on the Evaluation of Anti Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism (MONEYVAL) identified several shortcomings an gaps within the local AML/CFT framework, which triggered an assessment by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). FATF placed Malta on the Jurisdictions under Increased Monitoring list, also known as the grey list in June 2021.

In May 2021, MONEYVAL conducted their follow-up report on Malta, where they found that the country made considerable effort in its fight against money laundering and terrorist financing, giving the country a clean bill of health.

In March 2022, the FATF plenary noted positive developments in Malta’s efforts on AML/CFT and announced that an evaluation team would visit the country to assess the implemented reforms up close, with an eye to discuss the country’s position on the grey list during the June 2022 Plenary.

The latest MONEVAL follow up report is available at 

In the wake of the FATF greylisting, Malta has taken significant steps over the years to combat corruption, including the establishment in 2002 of the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU) to support domestic and international law enforcement investigative efforts. The Prevention of Money Laundering and Funding of Terrorism Regulations were transposed into Maltese law in July 2008, and conform to EU Directive 2005/60/EC (the Third Directive) and Directive 2006/70/EC. Malta transposed the Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive in December 2017 and, in April 2018, announced its first national Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Funding of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Strategy.

Local Laws: U.S. firms should familiarize themselves with local anti-corruption laws, and, where appropriate, seek legal counsel. While the U.S. Department of Commerce cannot provide legal advice on local laws, the Department’s Foreign Commercial Service (FCS) can provide assistance with navigating the host country’s legal system and obtaining a list of local legal counsel.

Assistance for U.S. Businesses: The U.S. Department of Commerce offers several services to aid U.S. businesses seeking to address business-related corruption issues. For example, the FCS can provide services that may assist U.S. companies in conducting due diligence as part of the company’s overarching compliance program when choosing business partners or agents overseas. The FCS can be reached directly through its offices in major U.S. and foreign cities or through its website at . The Departments of Commerce and State provide worldwide support for qualified U.S. companies bidding on foreign government contracts through the Department of Commerce’s Advocacy Center and Department of State’s Office of Commercial and Business Affairs. Problems, including alleged corruption by foreign governments or competitors, encountered by U.S. companies in seeking such foreign business opportunities can be brought to the attention of appropriate U.S. government officials, including local embassy personnel and through the Department of Commerce Trade Compliance Center “Report a Trade Barrier” website at .

Guidance on the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA): The Department of Justice’s (DOJ) FCPA Opinion Procedure enables U.S. firms and individuals to request a statement of DOJ’s present enforcement intentions under the anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA regarding any proposed business conduct. The details of the opinion procedure are available on DOJ’s Fraud Section website: . Although the Department of Commerce has no enforcement role with respect to the FCPA, it supplies general guidance to U.S. exporters who have questions about the FCPA and about international developments concerning the FCPA. For further information, see the Office of the Chief Counsel for International Counsel, U.S. Department of Commerce website at .

Additional Anti-Corruption Resources:

Useful resources for individuals and companies regarding combating corruption in global markets include the following:

  • Information about the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention, including links to national implementing legislation, good practice guidance and country monitoring reports, is available at: .
  • Transparency International (TI) publishes an annual Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI). The CPI measures the perceived level of public-sector corruption in 180 countries and territories around the world. .
  • TI also publishes an annual Global Corruption Report that provides a systematic evaluation of the state of corruption around the world. It includes an in-depth analysis of a focal theme, a series of country reports that document major corruption related events and developments from all continents and an overview of the latest research findings on anti-corruption diagnostics and tools. .
  • The World Bank Institute publishes Worldwide Governance Indicators (WGI). These indicators assess six dimensions of governance in 212 countries, including Voice and Accountability, Political Stability and Absence of Violence, Government Effectiveness, Regulatory Quality, Rule of Law and Control of Corruption. .
  • The World Bank Business Environment and Enterprise Performance Surveys are available at .
  • The World Economic Forum publishes the Global Enabling Trade Report, which presents the rankings of the Enabling Trade Index and includes an assessment of the transparency of border administration (focused on bribe payments and corruption) and a separate segment on corruption and the regulatory environment. The latest reports are available at: .
  • Additional country information related to corruption can be found in the U.S. State Department’s annual Human Rights Report available at
  • Global Integrity, a nonprofit organization, publishes its annual Global Integrity Report, which provides indicators for 92 countries with respect to governance and anti-corruption. The report highlights the strengths and weaknesses of national level anti-corruption systems. .

UN Anticorruption Convention, OECD Convention on Combatting Bribery

Malta signed the UN Anticorruption Convention in 2005 and ratified it in 2008, but it has not signed the OECD Convention on Combatting Bribery.

Contact at government agency or agencies that are responsible for combating corruption:
Malta Police CommissionerSt. Calcedonius Square
Floriana FRN 1530+356-2122 4001

Mr. Charles Deguara
Auditor General of National Audit Office
Notre Dame Ravelin
Floriana FRN 1600
+356-2205 5555

Contact at watchdog organization:
Permanent Commission Against Corruption
Chateau De La Ville
Archbishop Street
Valletta VLT 2000
+356-2567 4309

Malta has faced some political turmoil since the 2017 assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, whose reporting focused on local government corruption and allegations of money laundering. Civil society protests led to resignations of a number of high-level officials, including the Prime Minister. Since then, the country has elected a new Prime Minister who expressed commitment to good governance and rule of law reform, including increased protections for journalists. Despite this isolated cased of targeted violence against a journalist, Malta is generally considered to have a safe political system and is secure relative to other countries in the region.

Malta’s labor force at the end of 2022 stood at 290,995 (69.8 percent male), the employment rate of women remains low, parenthood has a significant effect on the participation of women on the labor market, and the gender employment gap is currently one of the highest in the EU. The country’s population is about 533,286, the smallest in the EU. Employed foreign nationals in Malta and Gozo at the end of 2022 amounted to 96,970. Since the joining of the Maltese Islands in the European Union, employment of foreign nationals increased drastically. EU member states share 36% of total foreign employment, Third Country Nationals (TCNs) share 63% of total foreign employment; and EFTA countries (such as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland) share 1% of total foreign employment. For 2022, the national minimum monthly wage was $854.8 (€792.26). The estimated average gross annual salary of employees stood at $23,118 (€21,420); this amount refers to the basic salary and excludes extra payments such as overtime, bonuses, and allowances. In 2022, 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.

Given that Malta, as a high-income country as defined by the World Bank, it does not generally qualify for DFC support, although 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).

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) ($Billion USD) 2022 $16.7 2021 $17.36
Foreign Direct Investment Host Country Statistical source* USG or international statistical source USG or international Source of data:  BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, stock positions) 2022 $30.9 2021 $2.3 BEA data available at
Host country’s FDI in the United States ($M USD, stock positions) 2022 $9.1 2021 $2.8 BEA data available at
Total inbound stock of FDI as % host GDP 2021 $231 446 2021 1345.5% UNCTAD data available at

* Source for Host Country Data: Malta National Statistics Office 
** Exchange rates: $1 = €0.9276

Table 3: Sources and Destination of FDI
Direct Investment from/in Counterpart Economy Data (through 2021)
From Top Five Sources/To Top Five Destinations (US Dollars, Millions)
Inward Direct Investment Outward Direct Investment
Total Inward 231,174 100% Total Outward Amount 100%
Germany 39,780 17% N/A N/A N/A
The Netherlands 10,527 14% N/A N/A N/A
United Kingdom 17,015 7.4% N/A N/A N/A
Ireland 16,322 7.0% N/A N/A N/A
Canada 14,916 6.5% N/A N/A N/A
“0” reflects amounts rounded to +/- USD 500,000.

Maria Cassar
Economic and Commercial Specialist
U.S. Embassy, Malta
+356 2561 4120

On This Page

  2. 1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment
    1. Policies Towards Foreign Direct Investment
    2. Limits on Foreign Control and Right to Private Ownership and Establishment
    3. Other Investment Policy Reviews
    4. Business Facilitation
    5. Outward Investment
  3. 2. Bilateral Investment and Taxation Treaties
  4. 3. Legal Regime
    1. Transparency of the Regulatory System
    2. International Regulatory Considerations
    3. Legal System and Judicial Independence
    4. Laws and Regulations on Foreign Direct Investment
    5. Competition and Antitrust Laws
    6. Expropriation and Compensation
    7. Dispute Settlement
      1. ICSID Convention and New York Convention
      2. Investor-State Dispute Settlement
      3. International Commercial Arbitration and Foreign Courts
    8. Bankruptcy Regulations
  5. 4. Industrial Policies
    1. Investment Incentives
    2. Investment Aid
    3. Access to Finance
      1. Research and Development
      2. Incentives for Green Energy, Business Regeneration and Sustainability
    4. Foreign Trade Zones/Free Ports/Trade Facilitation
    5. Performance and Data Localization Requirements
  6. 5. Protection of Property Rights
    1. Real Property
    2. Intellectual Property Rights
  7. 6. Financial Sector
    1. Capital Markets and Portfolio Investment
    2. Money and Banking System
    3. Foreign Exchange and Remittances
      1. Foreign Exchange
      2. Remittance Policies
    4. Sovereign Wealth Funds
  8. 7. State-Owned Enterprises
    1. Privatization Program
  9. 8. Responsible Business Conduct
    1. Climate Issues
  10. 9. Corruption
  11. 10. Political and Security Environment
  12. 11. Labor Policies and Practices
  13. 12. U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), and Other Investment Insurance or Development Finance Programs
  14. 13. Foreign Direct Investment Statistics
  15. 14. Contact for More Information
2023 Investment Climate Statements: Malta
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