Malta Trade and Foreign Investment

By | July 24, 2022


  • Business Relationships
  • Foreign direct investment
  • FTAs ​​and Treaties
  • Development Cooperation
  • Prospective fields of study (MOP)

Business relations

Trade relations with the EU

2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Exports from the EU (million EUR) 1,346.4 1,438.4 1,568.7 1 166.9 ON
Imports into the EU (million EUR) 2,897.60 3,620.00 3,556.80 2,629.70 ON
Balance with the EU (million EUR) 1,551.2 2 181.5 1,988.1 1,462.8 ON

Source: European Commission

Trade relations with the Czech Republic

The balance of bilateral trade with Malta recorded a positive trend until 2016, but since 2018 it has been decreasing to the disadvantage of the Czech Republic. In 2021, the total turnover reached CZK 2.03 billion (compared to CZK 1.79 billion in 2020). In 2021, the largest share of Czech exports to Malta was printed circuits, followed by means of transport, equipment for automated data processing and other electronics. Plastic products, pharmaceutical products, glass and furniture also make up a significant share of Czech exports.

2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Exports from the Czech Republic (billion CZK) 0.9 0.8 0.7 0.7 0.7
Imports to the Czech Republic (billion CZK) 1 0.9 1.1 1.1 1.3
Balance with the Czech Republic (billion CZK) 0.2 0.1 0.4 0.3 0.6


Trade relations with countries outside the EU

Malta’s economy depends more on imports than exports. Major import items include petroleum, which accounts for approximately 33% of Malta’s imports. Then there are ships with a share of 24%, in third place are integrated circuits, which are imported with a share of 6%, closely followed by chemical products, which Malta imports with 5%. Means of transport 2%. Other goods that are imported in a small percentage are pharmaceuticals, metals, food and textiles. The non-EU countries from which Malta imports the most are: South Korea, which provides 23% of imports, Russia – 6%, Turkey and Great Britain – 4.5%. The basis of Malta’s exports is oil with a share of 37%, industrial goods, appliances, fish, medicines and printed matter. Other exported goods, but in a smaller percentage, are aircraft parts, fish, plastic tableware, medical devices and measuring instruments.

2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Exports from countries outside the EU (million EUR) 1,081.2 1,266.00 1,270.50 1,176.80 2,936.1
Imports to countries outside the EU (million EUR) 2 199.9 2,132.8 2,453.6 1,800.5 2,300.6
Balance with non-EU countries (million EUR) -1 118.7 -860.6 -1,466.3 -691.9 -635.5

Source: EIU, Eurostat

Foreign direct investment

Malta is highly open to foreign investment. The entry of foreign capital is supported by the government regardless of affiliation to the opposition or the ruling party. Investing in Malta is not only profitable, but also simple, thanks to the limited bureaucracy and extremely favorable tax conditions that the Maltese state provides to all citizens of the European Community. Malta has been rated by rating agencies such as S&P and Fitch as a stable economy with great potential for development. Malta offers a number of incentives to foreign investors. The current package of investment incentives, which is detailed on the website of the investment promotion agency Malta Enterprise (Malta Enterprise), offers six areas of incentives: access to financing, assistance in the implementation of investment, support for the development of small and medium-sized enterprises, research and innovation, support for companies, employment and training of workers. In all the mentioned areas, investors are offered various forms of preferential loans, interest subsidies, fiscal loans for investment and start-up, contributions and grants for innovations.

The most important investments from the point of view of the sector:

  • ST-Microelectronics – Semiconductor manufacturer (1700 employees, the prosperity of this large company has a significant impact on Malta’s GDP, as its products account for up to a third of Malta’s exports)
  • Trelleborg – industrial rubber products, rubber seals
  • Carlo Gavazzi – electronics
  • Baxter – Pharmaceuticals and Medical Materials
  • Methode Electronics – car parts
  • ProMinent Fluid Controls – dosing industrial pumps
  • Playmobil – toys
  • Motherwell Bridge – Transport Systems
  • Medelec Switchgears – Electricity Distribution Systems (Alstom Group)
  • Aeromaritime – maintenance and overhaul of ships and aircraft
  • Eurovac – Pharmaceuticals (Cardinal Health Group)
  • Mediterranean Power Electric – electrical appliances
  • De La Rue – electronic passports

A significant part of foreign investments also goes to the financial sector.

FTAs and treaties

Malta has been a member of the WTO since 1 January 1995 and a member of the GATT since 17 November 1964.

It became a member of the EU on May 1, 2004. 2008 Malta joined the Eurozone.

Contracts with the Czech Republic

The basic contractual document governing the conditions for the development of economic and trade relations with EU countries, including Malta, is the Treaty on the Accession of the Czech Republic to the EU in 2003. In addition, the former Czechoslovakia or the already independent Czech Republic concluded the following agreements with Malta (in chronological order):

Trade Agreement between the Government of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic and the Government of the Republic of Malta, Agreement on Economic, Industrial and Technical Cooperation between the Government of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic and the Government of the Republic of Malta, Agreement between the Government of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic and the Government of the Republic of Malta on Cooperation in the Field of Tourism, Agreement between the Government of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic and the government of the Republic of Malta on air services between their territories and beyond, Treaty between the Czech Republic and Malta on the avoidance of double taxation and prevention of tax evasion in the field of income and property taxes, Agreement between the Czech Republic and Malta on mutual support and protection of investments – expired in 2020 as part of the unification of investment protection rules within the single EU internal market.

Other bilateral treaties include: Convention between the Czechoslovak Republic and Great Britain, concerning samples of commercial travelers, Agreement on the Accession of Certain British Dominions to the Convention between the Czechoslovak Republic and Great Britain, Agreement on Cultural Cooperation, Agreement on Cooperation in the Field of Health, Agreement on Repeal visa obligations for short-term stays, Agreement on succession to bilateral agreements, Program of cooperation in the field of education, culture, science, youth and sport between the government of the Czech Republic and the government of the Republic of Malta for the years 2009 – 2011.

Developmental cooperation

Malta’s development cooperation strategy (main principles, priority countries and sectors) falls under the responsibility of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Malta’s development assistance focuses on the following geographical areas: Africa – special attention is given to Ethiopia and Somalia (development projects and programs to meet basic needs), small countries and islands (supporting international programs to strengthen their protection) and the Middle East with a focus on Palestine (educational programs in education and health). In the field of humanitarian aid, Malta has many years of experience, as many religious organizations and missionaries have actively contributed and continue to contribute to development and humanitarian missions around the world.

Prospective fields of study (MOP)

Malta’s economy is highly industrialized and service-based. The main driving force is the tertiary sector. The contribution of agriculture to internal growth is low due to lack of water and dry land. Leading industries are the maritime sector (shipbuilding), tourism and the textile and clothing industry. Malta’s export items are machinery and mechanical equipment, mineral fuels, oils, pharmaceuticals, printed books and newspapers, aircraft and parts, toys, games and sports equipment. It imports mineral fuels, oils and products, electrical machinery, aircraft and their parts, machinery and mechanical equipment, plastic and other semi-finished products, vehicles and their parts.

Civil aviation industry

Malta is a major importer of aircraft and helicopter parts, including spare parts. In 2021, aircraft, helicopter and/or spacecraft parts, including satellites, for $476 million. Companies producing aircraft equipment or small transport aircraft can find opportunities here.

Transport industry and infrastructure

Improving the transport infrastructure and ensuring better public transport is a necessary prerequisite for the development of tourism in Malta. Investments of €700 million have been earmarked in Malta for the modernization of roads over the next 7 years. The Malta Recovery Plan supports the green transition through large-scale electrification of road transport. A package of financial incentives in the form of EU grants to support greener and more sustainable transport, totaling approximately €20 million, is expected for the transport industry and infrastructure in Malta. Investments of 60 million euros are intended to support the purchase of electric vehicles for both the public and private sectors.


In the long term, computer technology is among the largest items of Czech exports to Malta, as well as electrical recording devices, sound reproduction and TV images. The ICT sector is developing dynamically and there are over 300 global companies operating in Malta, which employ approximately 7,300 employees. A number of Czech suppliers find outlets for ICT components here. The Malta Recovery and Resilience Plan supports the digital transition through investment and reforms in both the public and private sectors. For example, the plan includes investments in the digitization of public administration and public services (€34 million) to strengthen government IT systems and improve digital public services. It also invests in the digitization of at least 360 enterprises, especially small and medium-sized enterprises (15 million euros).

Energy industry

The Maltese government is striving for greater use of renewable resources, and energy is one of the sectors where foreign investment is applied. Export opportunities can be found in the production of equipment or components for wind or solar energy. This could be an opportunity for Czech energy companies (e.g. the planned construction of a gas pipeline from Italy). In the future, promising fields for cooperation with Maltese companies can be considered, for example, technologies for environmental protection, the technology of environmentally friendly production processes or the area of ​​increasing the energy efficiency of buildings. An extensive energy efficiency program for public and private buildings worth 60 million euros is expected to lead to a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

Chemical industry

In the chemical industry, Malta’s demand from abroad is mainly organic chemicals. The trade balance in the case of these commodities is deeply in deficit. One of the products for which imports to Malta have grown the most in recent years are artificial fertilizers (growth of 181.8% since 2011) and rubber or resin (growth of 1.2% since 2011). The import of chemical products amounts to 6% of total imports. In 2021, the value of production in the chemicals and chemical products manufacturing sector in Malta increased by €million from 2020. The total value of production in 2021 therefore amounted to 3 million euros.


Malta’s economy is largely based on services, which make up the largest share of the country’s GDP (around 80%). Malta focuses on tourism or ICT (eGaming) and a whole other wide range of services. Growth is expected in business and financial services and technologies (FinTech), fund management, asset management, financial services (insurance, banking, other financial services), telecommunications. Czech companies can find employment here mainly in the field of programming and consultancy related to information technology.

Engineering industry

The export of machine products is one of the most promising export opportunities. Malta imports everything from engines to pumps, and Czech exporters can thus find a wide range of applications in the given territory. Reactors, boilers and mechanical tools and devices are just one of the largest export items from the Czech Republic to Malta. Malta imported EUR 116 million of machinery and equipment in January 2022, down from EUR 244 million in December 2021. Imports of machinery and equipment data are updated monthly and averaged EUR 121 million from January 1996 to January 2022.

Healthcare and pharmaceutical industry

Although major pharmaceutical companies operate in Malta, 2.4% of Malta’s imports are products of the pharmaceutical industry. Life sciences are an important part of the Maltese economy. Malta has invested heavily in infrastructure such as laboratory facilities and the construction of a €35 million Life Sciences Center science park. This government-backed project is intended to enable the creation of a research, development and innovation cluster. Several large projects in the field of public health are being prepared. Opportunities exist for device manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies, healthcare service providers and healthcare infrastructure developers. With the legalization of marijuana in Malta, opportunities arise for entities that can grow, import,

Manufacturing industry

Malta is an importer of paper products and the demand for pulp imports has grown the most in recent years. Malta specializes in the production of medium and high technology products, semi-finished products, clothing, accessories and cosmetics and food. More than 22,000 people are employed in this industry. Most of the manufacturing facilities are located in 10 Malta Industrial Parks managed by Malta Industrial Parks (MIP).

Malta Trade