The Maltese manufacturing industry
The Maltese manufacturing industry dates back to the 1960. Currently, this industry represents around 13% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP); a relatively high contribution when compared to other sectors. Throughout the years the kind of products manufactured in Malta experienced changed; where computer parts, instruments and electronics have been exchanged with light manufacturing products like pharmaceuticals, semiconductors or automotive, ship-building and airplane parts.
Malta offers a low cost venue for manufacturing operations and a logistics hub for trade links to Europe, North Africa and the whole Mediterranean Basin. Additional to this Malta has developed an increasing number of incentives for foreign direct investment in the manufacturing industry, largely by providing access to finance.
The Maltese manufacturing industry operates within different structural dynamics when compared to the manufacturing sector in continental Europe. The Maltese environment is centred in the immediate outlook on the manufacturing industry which, according to the Malta Chamber’s Manufacturing Economic Group, should require immediate target action focused on:
• The availability of a skilled labour force at competitive wages
• The provision of adequate factory space at competitive occupancy rates
• Stable provision of energy at competitive rates
• Better terms and provision of finance
• Efficient internal and external transport links
• Incentives for investment
• A business-friendly public administration
• The internationalization support to help businesses access the European Single market and beyond.
The European Union´s industrial policy is relevant to Malta, since the manufacturing sector is not given enough attention when considering the added value that it is bringing to the country´s economy. The Manufacturing Economic Group, within the Malta Chamber, needs to give priority to aspects like innovation, better access to markets and easing of credit lines or capital investments; in order to reach the goals related with the development need of the country.