Discusses key economic indicators and trade statistics, which countries are dominant in the market, and other issues that affect trade.
The Republic of Malta is a small, strategically-located island country 60 miles south of Sicily and 180 miles north of Libya, straddling some of the world’s busiest shipping lanes. Malta is a politically stable parliamentary republic with a free press. Maltese and English are the country’s official languages. Malta has a reputation for being safe, secure, and welcoming to U.S. investors.
Malta joined the European Union in 2004, the Schengen visa system in 2007, and the Eurozone in 2008.
With a population of about 525,285(2020) and a total area of only 122 square miles, it is the smallest country in the European Union. The basis of the Maltese economy consists primarily of services: shipping, banking and finance, online gaming, and tourism. The country offers good business and financial services, telecommunications, flight connections, a highly skilled workforce, competitive labor costs, a sound legal system, and a low crime rate.
Malta is a natural hub for companies seeking to do business in Southern Europe and North Africa. Over 31,000 companies in Malta have foreign shareholders and more than 200 international companies have established operations in Malta.
Commercial/trade relations with the Maltese government are excellent. The EU is Malta’s major trading partner; in 2020, the EU accounted for more than half of Malta’s imports (53.3 percent) and 39.3 percent of Malta’s exports. Trade volume with the United States has been stable in recent years. U.S. exports to Malta in 2020 reached $132.6 million. Maltese exports to the United States amounted to $131.5 million. In 2020, the U.S. accounted for 3 percent of Malta’s total trade, supplied 2.2 percent of Malta’s total imports, and bought 3.7 percent of Malta’s total exports.
Malta traditionally underreports trade of U.S. goods since many products are sourced through European subsidiaries of U.S. companies. The Embassy estimates that one out of every 30 jobs in Malta is linked to a U.S. business, such as a U.S.-based hotel chain or franchise.
Key items Malta has imported from the United States include fuel and gas, aircraft engines, aircraft parts, machinery parts, parts for gas turbines, motor boats, yachts, navigation instruments, and cereals for the manufacture of bread. Malta exports to the United States include medicines or devices for therapeutic or prophylactic purposes, electronic integrated circuits, switches, automotive semiconductors, video-recording and reproducing equipment, airconditioning machines, and aircraft parts and toys.
Political & Economic Environment: State Department’s website for background on the country’s political environment