A Ukrainian-Maltese Business Forum, attended by the Maltese Trade Delegation led by President of Malta, Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, and their Ukrainian Counterparts, was organised as part of the President’s State Visit to Ukraine. The Forum was presided over by the President of Malta and the President of Ukraine.
In light of the fact that during the last years, there has been a number of effective high-level meetings between Maltese and Ukrainian Authorities, including President Poroshenko’s State Visit and President Coleiro Preca’s current State Visit, the President of Malta proposed the creation of a Joint Technical Commission, forming synergies between Governments, Chambers and businesses.
“By meeting regularly to continue to explore possibilities of trade and business between our countries,” the President said, “we shall also be providing a platform for troubleshooting, and the continuous monitoring and facilitation of a healthy business environment.”
The President said that the presence of “our respective business communities,” which also includes representatives from the respective Chambers of Commerce, is evidence of the strong commitment and enthusiasm felt by our business sectors to collaborate.
“We feel that there is much we hold in common”
President Coleiro Preca stated that her presence and the presence of her delegation in Ukraine, bears witness to the importance that Malta is giving, to building closer collaborations with Ukraine, and to nurturing the friendship that already exists between “our two peoples,” adding that both countries have a lot in common.
“Both our countries serve as strategic hubs in our respective regions of the world. Malta is a bridge that connects cultures and continents, placed strategically between the northers and southern shores of the Mediterranean Sea,” President Coleiro Preca said.
The President explained that Malta is not only a member of the EU but also a member of the Commonwealth, and that Ukraine is similarly a strategic hub providing perfect access to Eastern Europe, and added that she is confident “that our geo-strategic positions can be positively explored, for many socio-economic opportunities, to collaborate and to develop fruitful partnerships between our countries and our business communities.”
President Coleiro Preca encouraged the business delegations present to work in synergy, as through this, not only will be the business sectors in Malta and Ukraine flourish, but “our markets will also extend and expand through new opportunities for collaboration.”
“Now is the perfect time for us.”
The President said that there are a number of encouraging factors which are creating the right environment to facilitate processes of partnership, including the recently signed EU-Ukraine Visa Liberalisation Action Plan, and the Double Taxation Agreement between Malta and Ukraine.
“Moreover, Malta’s significant success through its impressive economic growth, and Ukraine’s endeavours for a successful economic reform programme, are two other important factors, conducive to a positive business environment,” The President stated.
President Coleiro Preca also said that the presence in Ukraine of a strong and diverse trade delegation from Malta shows just how determined Maltese authorities and businesses are, to pursue closer collaborations among Maltese and Ukrainian authorities and business communities, “to ensure that we grow and prosper together.”
President Coleiro Preca said that collaborations are to take place across all levels of engagement, that is, collaboration with larger enterprises, as well as connections between small and medium enterprises.
“These links will make a valuable contribution to the multi-level and mutual strengthening of our nations, and their respective geo-strategic positions as regional hubs,” the President said.
“We need to develop the necessary connectivity, to facilitate communication for our businesses and our peoples.”
President Coleiro Preca said that the development of the necessary connectivity between Malta and Ukraine is the next step to develop greater closeness between both countries. The President added that she was in fact proud to announce that Malta’s national Airline, Air Malta, will start operating direct flights to Kiev as from its next summer schedule.
“The presence of Malta’s Minister of Tourism, and the Chairman of Air Malta is evidence of the political will of my government, which reigns in my country, to explore opportunities for connectivity between our two countries,” the President stated.
The Tourism and Travel sector will also benefit, with the introduction of effective and direct air travel between both countries. The President said that she is pleased that “the Chairman of the Malta Tourism Authority is part of (her) delegation, because we already perceive the huge potential for both our nations and our tourism industries.
President Coleiro Preca stated that tourism is not simply an economic operation, but also a means of bringing two peoples together to develop friendship. She added that her State Visit to Ukraine is aimed at “tangibly developing our already excellent diplomatic and political relations into tangible results for our businesses,” but it is also aimed at developing stronger relationships between our peoples.
“Malta has much to offer”
The President stated that Malta has indeed much to offer, including state-of-the-art institutions for training, logistics services, financial services, ICT, hospitality and tourism, and the teaching of English as a foreign language.
On healthcare, President Coleiro Preca said that the Medical training at the University of Malta is world-renowned, for both its medical school and nursing school, adding that the University of Malta attracts international students and brings with it the prospect of European Warrants, which will create employment opportunities for Ukrainian graduates, in light of the recent Visa Liberalisation Action Plan.
On research, innovation and start-ups, President Coleiro Preca stated that the state-of-the-art Life Sciences park is an opportunity for research, whilst various centres at the University of Malta and Malta Enterprise all represent opportunities for start-ups, as well as the possibility for collaborations built upon EU-Funded Projects.
On new technologies, The President said there are many opportunities for Malta and Ukraine to benefit from sharing Ukrainian expertise in the issue of blockchain technology, particularly considering the health atmosphere for digital games and related sectors in Malta.
On agriculture, President Coleiro Preca stated that Malta is open for collaborations with Ukraine to increase its agricultural markets, due to Malta’s position as a logistical hub in the Euro-Mediterranean Region, and encouraged Malta Enterprise and its Ukrainian counterpart to explore this venture more deeply, especially when considering that Ukraine is very strong on agricultural produce.
The President of Malta also encouraged the Ukrainian company Antonov, to consider expansion in Malta, by creating strategies for the storage of aviation spare parts, and testing through a European Union centre for certification.
“There is no limit to what we can achieve together”
Lastly, President Coleiro Preca said that the geo-strategical potential of both Malta and Ukraine is immense, due to their respective positions as strong hubs in different, but complementary regions.
“I trust that my presence in Ukraine, together with my delegation, will not only help to further consolidate political and commercial ties between our two countries, but it will also strengthen relations between the communities and the cultures of our nations,” the President concluded.
During the State Visit in Ukraine, the President of Malta is accompanied by Mr Edgar Preca, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion Carmelo Abela, Minister of Tourism Konrad Mizzi, Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services, Digital Economy and Innovation Silvio Schembri, and Ambassador of Malta to Ukraine John Debono,