International markets present countless opportunities for forward-thinking companies looking to grow their business. In the current economic climate, looking beyond the borders of the domestic market exponentially increases the opportunities to reach more customers, increase sales, revenues and prospects of a manufacturing or commercial activity. Especially in a small context like the Maltese one, internationalising one’s business is essential and strategic, also thanks to the support that local institutions provide to businesses and the excellent bilateral relations that the country is developing with many strategic areas of the world (Europe, Africa, Middle East, Arab countries, Russia, China, Japan, United States, Canada and South America). Companies that are able to look to international markets also tend to be more innovative in their product and service offerings and in their internal processes, boasting a higher level of competitiveness compared to their competitors.
The International Trade Promotion Incentive Scheme (ITPIS) aims to support Maltese companies that want to internationalise their business, or that are already exporting and want to promote a product or service in a new market.
This incentive scheme is administered by the government body TradeMalta Limited.
The Enterprise Incentives Regulations SL 463.04 (Malta Enterprise Act, Chapter 463 of the Laws of Malta) provide the legal basis for this incentive scheme.
Support for participation in international B2B and B2C trade fairs and events
An enterprise may receive support to facilitate its participation in international business-to-business (B2B) or customer-facing (B2C) trade events and fairs. These events are designed to support the international business development function of the eligible enterprise on the international market.
Trade and business missions (real and virtual events)
Businesses can be supported to participate in real or virtual trade missions organised or approved by TradeMalta. Trade missions provide a structured approach to nurture collaboration and business development, giving traders the opportunity to develop their internationalisation potential and help entrepreneurs gain knowledge on how to operate in specific markets.
Participation in formal networking and brokerage events
A company may receive support for participating in a brokerage or networking event organised to develop and improve economic and production activities. Support will only be granted if an employee or director of the applicant company is present at the event.
Market preparation and development
An individual enterprise may receive support to address market readiness and international business development skills to increase international customers in a specific market.
Businesses can receive support to cover the costs associated with digital marketing, including advertising on major search engines, social media and other specialised online platforms.
Collaborative internationalisation projects
Through the sharing of resources, enterprises that are part of a cooperation network with other partners can benefit from knowledge transfer, shared skills, better business prospects and achieve greater competitiveness.
International calls for tender
Participation in international tenders is an opportunity for companies to expand into new markets.
The scheme is currently valid for a period of three years ending on 31 December 2023. These Incentive Guidelines may be amended and updated regularly.
The application for incentives is made through a detailed online form. Once the application is approved, companies can submit one or more applications using another specific form.
This incentive is open to companies whose aim is to intensify their internationalisation activities with a view to increasing their exports. The beneficiary must be a company registered in one of the following categories.
a. A company incorporated under the Companies Act Chapter 386 of the Laws of Malta
b. Self-employed persons registered with Jobsplus
c. Cooperatives registered with the Co-operatives Board.
d. The following table lists the eligible sectors and economic activities by way of indication and their respective NACE code:
Type and amount of contribution
The total contribution that can be granted to an individual enterprise is limited to EUR 30,000 per year. TradeMalta can reimburse small and medium-sized enterprises up to a maximum of 50% of eligible costs, and large enterprises up to a maximum of 40% of eligible costs.
Per diem costs are reimbursed up to 40% of the official government rate.
Support to a single enterprise may not exceed €200,000 over a period of three consecutive fiscal years.
No support will be provided to defaulting enterprises in respect of value added tax (VAT), income tax and national insurance; public entities; commercial enterprises engaged exclusively in economic activity in direct competition with third parties and in which the government has a controlling interest are eligible; enterprises engaged in activities specifically excluded under applicable State aid regulations; enterprises involved in the production of and/or trade in arms, munitions, military equipment and hardware; and enterprises whose main activities fall within the following NACE code sections.
i. Section A – Agriculture, forestry and finishing
ii. Section K – Financial and insurance activities
iii. Section L – Real estate, renting and business activities
iv. Section N79 – Travel agency, tour operator and other reservation service and related activities
v. Section R92 – Gambling and betting activities
The following categories of expenditure incurred by enterprises for internationalisation activities will be reimbursed by the government incentive.
a. Travel and per diem expenses for trade fairs, trade missions abroad, networking and brokerage events
b. Participation in trade fairs: stand design and construction, promotional material, interpretation, wifi connection, rental of exhibition space, registration costs
c. Market preparation and development: design, development, production, duplication and printing of marketing materials; design and development of packaging and product information for legal or regulatory purposes; costs of internet search engine optimisation (SEO) required to increase visibility in target markets; costs of hiring a partner to perform a business development function on behalf of the company in a specific region(s)
d. Tailor-made fees to companies specialising in international market research
e. Costs of digital design and sponsored ads for digital marketing campaigns
f. Costs of hiring a full-time Export Development Manager to implement the marketing strategy
g. Costs for purchasing the tender specifications