10 OCTOBER 2001
Economic Services Minister, Josef Bonnici is in China this week leading a Maltese Government Delegation in a further bid to promote trade with the eastern giant.
On Monday the minister participated in the Third Meeting of the China-Malta Mixed Economic Commission, which he co-chaired with Zhou Keren, Vice Minister in the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Co-operation. (MOFTEC).
The meeting highlighted the excellent relations between Malta and China and sought to identify ways in which economic ties between the two countries could be improved further. In particular, Minister Bonnici emphasised the potential that Malta holds for Chinese Companies seeking a base in the Mediterranean from where to sustain and expand their trade with Southern Europe and North Africa.
During the Mixed Commission Meeting, Minister Bonnici was accompanied by Saviour Borg (Maltas Ambassador in Beijing), Paul Zahra (Permanent Secretary, Ministry for Economic Services), Anthony Diacono (Chairman, METCO) and representatives from the Malta Development Corporation and the Malta Drydocks.
Other appointments in China include a meeting with the all China Federation of Industry and Commerce, with the Chinese Committee for Promoting International Trade as well as visits to two of the leading Chinese Companies in the field of information technology and tele-communications.
The trip to the far-east follows hot on the heels of another recent trip to Austria, where the minister was one of the principal speakers during an Investment Promotion Seminar organised by the Malta Development Corporation, in Vienna.
The activity was in line with the MDCs ongoing promotional campaign in Austria, to position Malta as a potential location for Austrian foreign direct investment. This seminar follows on various other investment promotion activities held in Vienna and other Austrian cities, in the last couple of years. As a matter of fact, a similar seminar was held in Linz last year, following which a group of Austrian investors have decided to establish a new medical technology sector company in Malta. This company is currently in the setting up phase, with the first employees now undergoing training at the mother company in Austria.
Austria is an attractive target for Maltas investment promotion efforts. Its population of eight million (about 1.6 million of whom live in Vienna) generated a Gross Domestic Product of about EUR25,455 per capita in 2000. It is an advanced industrial economy leading industries include electronics, machine and steel production, chemicals, automotive parts and food processing. The electronics sector is particularly important approximately 300 companies employ a workforce of around 60,000 making this one of the largest industrial sectors in Austria.
Invitations to the seminar have been sent out to various manufacturing companies in Austria as well as to business and tax consultants based in Vienna. The seminar is being hosted by the Chamber of Commerce in Vienna, that has a total membership in excess of 250,000.
The seminar was opened by the Vice-President of the Chamber of Commerce
together with Maltas Ambassador to Austria, Dr Noel Buttigieg
Scicluna. The principal presentations were made by Prof. Josef Bonnici,
Minister for Economic Services, Mr. Lawrence Zammit, Chairman, Malta
Development Corporation and by Mr. Ralph Leipoldt, and Mr.Brian Camilleri
owner and General Manager of Fal (Malta) Ltd. respectively. FAL is an
electronics company which set up operations very successfully in Malta
just last year.