23 JANUARY 2002
The Malta Chamber of Commerce was the venue for the inauguration of the External Branch of the Milan CzechTrade office in Malta and the appointment of Tonio Casapinta, Honorary Consul of the Czech Republic in Malta as it's Head. President of Malta was the guest of honour at the inauguration.
Prof. de Marco expressed his belief that initiatives by two applicant EU Countries are to be applauded as these draw people together, evaluate similarities and explore possibilities for business co-operation. Malta has constantly given testimony of this commitment both in bilateral and multilateral contexts.
Hana Sevcikova, Ambassador of the Czech Republic to Malta explained that the decision to open this external branch of CzechTrade was possible considering the business potential now available due to the two country's mutual aspirations, that of joining the European Union. Malta will thus be drawing closer the parameters of Europe to the Mediterranean region.
In fact, after having consolidated the Consulate during these last years, now was the time to have a commercial representation with Mr Casapinta as it's head in Malta.
CzechTrade is the Czech Government official trade promotion agency offering full possibilities to Czech exporters to find partners and do business in the region. Malta has for years been a traditional Czech business partner and through these efforts it is hoped that the range of Czech products on the Maltese market will increase.
Following the handing over of the CzechTrade Letter of Appointment by Hana Sevcikova, Mr Casapinta explained that it was not only the Maltese market which was of interest to Czech Republic. The North African market was now offering great potential and the only way to address this reality was to bridge the gap between the Czech Republic and North Africa, through Malta, with the use of Maltese businessmen as representatives of Czech Companies in the region with Malta as a base for these operations. This would also be most beneficial to the Maltese economy.
Czech protectionist trading policies and inward - looking mentality would inevitably have to change in response to emerging international trade regulations which no longer permitted countries to protect their indigenous products in their domestic markets. Czech firms had to become truly competitive, building on their undoubted strengths in order to exploit the opportunities that such changing horizons presented: that of penetrating new lucrative markets.
In this context, tapping the Mediterranean region and above all, North Africa presented a tremendous business opportunity to whoever wished to venture into new fertile territory.
Malta, Mr Casapinta said, was particularly suited as a regional business centre for European companies targeting the wider Mediterranean area, North Africa and the Middle East.
In this case our Consulate will be playing a dual role, - that of promoting Czech products to the local market and bringing Czech and Maltese businessmen together and do business in the region.