Liz Barbaro Sant, vice president of the Malta Chamber of Commerce, has been named TradeMalta’s new president in early 2021. In a recent interview with Malta Business Weekly, she spoke about her new role and how Maltese companies can become “international” by capitalizing on trade and investment opportunities that come from abroad.
The goal outlined by the new president is to create new and ambitious partnerships with players in the most promising markets. According to the president, Maltese exports are still below their potential, and for this reason it must look with determination particularly towards East and West Africa, both regions with considerable untapped potential in trade, and towards Libya, a strategic country for Maltese companies.
“My experience to date has been positive despite an ongoing difficult situation. Today we still perceive trade as a window of opportunity for the diversification and growth of Maltese companies,” said Liz Barbaro Sant. And further, “It may seem counterintuitive to talk about expanding abroad when local businesses are struggling with the pandemic, but for the many businesses venturing abroad it seems there is no better time. The pandemic has led to certain limitations, especially on cross-border travel, but it has also given rise to new ways of doing business. And support for internationalization, both from government and industry partners, is more present than ever. That said, we know that looking across borders can still seem daunting, which is why we’re here to help navigate a business environment that is dynamic and ever-changing. Access to financing, lack of working capital, and hedging the financial risks of exporting and payments always remains a big challenge.“
The President then expressed some doubts about the possible negative effect of Malta’s inclusion in the FATF-GAFI grey list and illustrated some aspects to keep in mind when starting to export: one needs to pay attention to the choice of the right destination market, logistics, product adaptation in the identified country, prices, customs procedures, marketing and business structure.
“The long list of challenges may seem intimidating – concluded Sant – but it is possible to face them by planning an appropriate strategy, always after having thoroughly evaluated whether an expansion is really advantageous, or if it can take the company away from its core business. Better to serve one country well than to serve several countries poorly. Then take a look at the finances and ask yourself honestly if you have the funds to support the initial investment for success that will come in the long run anyway.“
Are you ready to internationalize your company from Malta? Find out with a pre-feasibility analysis and ad hoc support service provided by the Malta Business Agency team. Contact us through the following form.