Calling for a Brexit deal, the Chamber of Commerce and the Malta Business Bureau are urging Maltese businesses to prepare for all eventualities.
"While fully convinced on the need of a comprehensive partnership deal with the UK, the chamber and the MBB are calling on Maltese businesses not to be caught off guard, particularly at this moment when businesses might be focusing on finding a way to navigate through the COVID-19 crisis," the two said in a statement on Monday.
There will be changes in how to do business with the UK with or without a deal and the following 67 days are "crucial" to prepare for any possibility, especially for the worst-case scenario of a no-deal, they said.
After 2020 Britain will lie outside the single market but it is currently engaged in tough talks with Brussels for a new trading partnership.
It has meanwhile agreed on a provisional trade deal with Norway, Switzerland and two other non-EU partners to ensure continuity after its divorce from the EU.
The Malta Chamber and its EU support organisation, the MBB jointly called on the EU and UK government to do what it takes for an agreement before the
the transition period ends on December 31.
“Starting 2021 with an agreement is of utmost importance for our businesses, particularly due to the voluminous trade that goes on between Malta and the UK both in terms of goods and services," David Xuereb, the chamber's president, said.
"Businesses are already stretched and navigating through uncertain times because of the current crisis. The transition to a new economic partnership between the EU and UK will always be challenging, but we insist that this should be more of an adaptation, rather than a complete disruption of operations. The no-deal threat is imminent. We must do everything possible to avoid this.”
MBB president Simon De Cesare believes the repercussions of a no-deal would be too high and should not be acceptable for either party.
"The suggestion that a no-deal is better than a bad deal is not in touch with reality. While understanding that political red lines exist, economic considerations should be prioritised for the sake of businesses and people that will otherwise be dramatically impacted," he added.
The chamber and MBB will be intensifying their communication efforts on Brexit to ensure that businesses have the latest and most accurate information at hand.
An information campaign will also be launched and include virtual events, fact sheets and contact points for companies to be better equipped for these changes.