Malta to start process of implementing EU-Japan Economic and Strategic partnerships

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said that it was also time for ‘serious attention’ to be given to foreign direct investment in Malta from Japan

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat is leading a trade delegation to Japan
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat is leading a trade delegation to Japan

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said on Tuesday that Malta will be initiating a process for the entry into force of the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement, as well as the Strategic Partnership signed between the EU and Japan in July 2018.

The Prime Minister was speaking at the Japan-Malta Business Forum, organised by Trade Malta in collaboration with the Japanese External Trade Organisation in Tokyo.

The government said in a statement that the event was attended by a large number of Japanese businesses.

“Malta welcomes the signing of the Strategic Partnership Agreement. Through this agreement, cooperation will not only include political dialogue and policy cooperation, but also cooperation on regional and global challenges, including environment and climate change, development policy and disaster relief, and security policy,” Muscat said, adding that this would enable the EU and Japan to jointly promote global peace, stability and prosperity.

“Malta also warmly welcomes the recent signing of the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement. This agreement demonstrates the progress made in the enhancement of relations between the two parties. The agreement is now awaiting ratification and it is expected to enter into force in 2019.”

The Prime Minister said that there were many opportunities to strengthen and enhance economic relations between Malta and Japan, pointing to a number of “practical initiatives” which have already been undertaken towards this aim.

One example, Muscat said, was talks held in 2016 between the two countries’ responsible authorities, which “successfully led to the inclusion of a select number of Maltese laboratories in the Japan’s list of accredited institutions empowered to certify Maltese food and beverage exports to Japan. He said that this achievement would contribute to facilitating Maltese trade with Japan.

The launch of the Malta Japan Chamber of Commerce was another that would be facilitating trade between the two countries, the Prime Minister said.

During the event, Muscat also expressed his belief in that the time had again come to “give serious attention to the potential of Malta as a foreign direct investment location for Japanese enterprises, with an eye to markets in the European Union and the Mediterranean region”.

“I said the time has again come because Japanese foreign direct investment – specifically in electronics – had already established a tentative foothold in Malta in the early 1970s,” Muscat said.

He said that promising areas for direct investment are precision engineering, pharmaceuticals, edible products, machinery and mechanical appliances, plastic and plastic products, chemicals, aircraft parts, software developments, toys and games, and logistics.

“As far as the services sector is concerned, Malta has successfully managed to gain a foothold in niche markets in financial services, insurance, health, aviation, i-gaming, aircraft maintenance, overhaul and repair, education and training.”

Furthermore, Muscat said that Blockchain was another field that presented great opportunities. With Malta breaking new ground in the sector, Muscat said that Malta was heading in the direction of a digital social infrastructure on sovereign state scale, with work already underway on the piloting of a Blockchain platform.

Additionally, he said the Malta Gaming Authority has announced plans related to cryptocurrencies in the gaming context, while the Malta Stock Exchange was working on a strategy geared towards the emerging technology.

He said the Malta Stock Exchange Blockchain Consortium – a think-thank aimed at designing and implementing blockchain applications – would also soon be unveiled.

Mitui committed to continue discussions on energy-related matters with Malta    

Japanese corporation Mitsui and the Maltese government have agreed to work together in the energy sector
Japanese corporation Mitsui and the Maltese government have agreed to work together in the energy sector

While in Tokyo, the Prime Minister also held a meeting with Mitsui Corporation General Manager Kazuki Shimizu.

In a separate statement, the government said that the meeting focused mainly on cooperation in the energy sector, and follows meetings in Malta earlier this year with Mitsui’s Chairman.

Issues related to clean energy, including an innovative and cleaner transport system, was also discussed, in addition to other “energy-related matters”.

Mitsui said it was committed to continuing discussions with the government to follow up on various ideas discussed during the meeting.

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