Ministry for Trade Promotion eyeing the growth of business links between Malta and Japan

Reference Number:  , Press Release Issue Date: Aug 30, 2019
The government is willing to strengthen trade relations with Japan. Trade areas that could be promoted included advanced manufacturing, the services sector, blockchain, tourism and the teaching of the English language. This was stated by Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion Carmelo Abela during a meeting with the Malta-Japan Chamber of Commerce at the Ministry in Valletta.

Minister Abela remarked that he values the Malta-Japan Chamber of Commerce and the work being done to improve business links between Malta and Japan. He added that the Ministry stands ready to facilitate initiatives undertaken by the Chamber to promote trade between the two countries.

He spoke about Malta’s commitment to open an embassy in Japan in 2020 as part of its holistic strategy to expand its horizons worldwide. Currently, preparations are currently underway in the identification of premises.

Minister Abela noted that Malta has politically supported Japan’s bid to host the World Expo in the city of Osaka between 3 May - 3 November 2025 under the theme ‘Designing Future Society for Our Lives’.

President of the Malta-Japan Chamber of Commerce Anthony Micallef stated that in Malta, 44 companies currently export to Japan including local products such as Steel, Metal Alloys & Electrical Switches. He said that several other businesses are approaching the Malta-Japan Chamber of Commerce to explore venturing in Japanese trade markers, for the very first time. He added that the Chamber strongly believes that Japan is a very important business partner for Malta given the very high volumes of bilateral trade between the two countries and untapped potential in business development. “Our goal is to improve the level of trade by assisting the development of further business opportunities between Japan and Malta”, said Mr Micallef.

Japan is Malta’s 6th biggest Trade Partner outside the EU. Malta’s highest trade surplus for 2018 is with Japan with importation standing at around €67 million, exportation at around €150 million with trade balance standing at a surplus of around €84 million. 14 members states from the European Union in 2018 registered a trade surplus with Japan, including Malta.

Malta and Japan have built a very strong relationship during the years but the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) which has entered into force on 1st February 2019, will continue to strengthen this.

The Malta – Japan Chamber of Commerce (MJCC) is a non-profit organisation, which was established in September 2017 with the aim of fostering stronger trade and commercial contacts between Japan and Malta by acting as a link between Maltese and Japanese companies, authorities and stakeholders.

The representatives present of the Malta-Japan Chamber of Commerce were Anton Micallef President, Stephanie Mizzi - General Secretary, Dr Joseph Pirotta Treasurer and Jesmond Pace – Council Member. Also present for the meeting Ambassador of Malta to Japan André Spiteri and Chief Executive Officer of Trade Malta Anton Buttigieg.