Malta generates an annual gross domestic product of around 15 billion euros, with exports of goods totalling 2.5 billion euros. Just above 16 per cent of Malta’s GDP relies on the exportation of goods produced locally, explains TradeMalta CEO Anton Buttigieg.

This figure does not include the services sector, where our island is predominantly renowned for excelling, particularly in financial services, as well as in the maritime and aviation sectors.

“Being an island in the Mediterranean, a significant aspect of our success stems from our role as an international jurisdiction that provides export services,” he affirms, outlining TradeMalta’s pivotal role in assisting Malta-based companies to export their products and services globally.

Established in 2015 as a joint venture between Government and the Malta Chamber, TradeMalta has a very specific mandate: supporting Malta-based businesses on their export journey.

“We essentially function as a trade promotion organisation,” the CEO explains, highlighting TradeMalta’s primary focus on helping companies in their export endeavours, whether it’s a product or service.

“We offer quite a wide range of services, such as training for exporters,” he continues, mentioning the Go Global internationalisation and export management training course, which is specifically designed for novice exporters that want to deepen their knowledge. There is also the Global Growth programme, through which financial support is extended to companies seeking to exhibit at international fairs, participating at TradeMalta’s trade and business missions, market preparedness and development (including hosting prospects in Malta, developing marketing collateral and travel for business development purposes), market research, digital marketing, international calls for tenders and so on.

In addition, TradeMalta offers other services such as access to the international Kompass database which offers key B2B information from over 60 million companies worldwide. This information is crucial for companies to generate leads and be able to contact potential buyers or trade partners abroad. On the other hand, Trade Malta offers free listing on the exporters directory, which includes listing of Malta-based companies involved in the export of goods and services. 

The directory makes company details easily accessible through its user-friendly interface and search functions. In this way, foreign investors will be provided with a clear overview of the local business. 

“We are present at some of the most important fairs happening annually, such as Gulfood in Dubai,” he continues, adding, “we also organise trade delegations to strategic markets where we believe we can significantly contribute to creating business opportunities for Malta-based companies. ”

As an organisation, TradeMalta has the unique advantage of wearing two distinct hats, the CEO reveals. “On one hand, Government’s hat enables us to engage directly with governments and build meaningful relationships. On the other hand, our affiliation with the Malta Chamber allows us to wear the hat of the business community. This allows us to communicate effectively with the business community”. 

As TradeMalta’s CEO, Anton identifies a number of key priorities. First and foremost, the team needs to consistently stay updated about the various companies operating on this relatively small yet highly dynamic island. “We adopt a proactive approach by reaching out and engaging with these companies, essentially treating them as our clients. This is the culture that we have instilled within our organisation,” he highlights, stating that TradeMalta stays close to its clients to understand their goals and how TradeMalta can tailor its services to meet their needs.

“These are our priorities: to closely monitor how these companies are adjusting, what are the challenges they encounter to internationalise, and how we can offer services that can help them succeed internationally.”

Looking ahead, TradeMalta’s CEO believes there are huge opportunities in terms of exports. “We feel that, as a country, we currently possess a high level of confidence in a number of specialised and niche areas where we are also leaders. That is also a transition for our country, as we are no longer producing goods that can be replicated elsewhere. Instead, we’re now venturing into very specific fields like aviation and the blue economy. These industries require a number of years to win, given their specialised nature,” he states, pointing out that such industries are very much in demand in today’s world, catering to both sophisticated and less developed markets.

Beyond this, he continues, “I still feel that there are significant opportunities for our country where we can extend our expertise in specific market niches. Experience has shown us, time after time, that maintaining a strong focus and specialisation in what we do will always help open doors and makes it considerably easier to access new opportunities rather than simply promoting generic products. That is where we feel our strength is.”

“I must also add that our nation excels at adapting to the challenges that we encounter,” Anton adds, “also often, when we go into meetings, rather than say we want to explore the possibility of working with this product or service, our approach is quite distinct. We inquire about the priorities of the countries and the markets we are working in.”

With this information in hand, he affirms, “we then seek ways to align our offerings with those priorities, making our collaboration more effective for both parties.” Utilising such strategies has proven successful, and the CEO looks toward the future with energy and optimism: “I believe there are still numerous untapped opportunities on the international front.”

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