Malta’s FATF greylisting is a “small hurdle” for an association of German SMEs working to attract investors to the country to see for themselves Malta’s potential as a place for them to do business.

The BVMW, the German Association for Small and Medium Businesses, recently set up an office in Malta to attract foreign investment and help German companies set up a base here.

The head of the Malta office, Alfons Schwarte, told Times of Malta that it plans to attract 50 new companies per year, enticing them to choose Malta as their gateway to Africa and to new European markets.

Video: Matthew Mirabelli

“The greylisting is unfair on Malta because only a small group of people did what is being alleged. But Malta is greater than this. We came here to show German companies Malta’s potential to do business. We will do our part to get Malta seen as it should be seen,” Schwarte said.

“Unfortunately, you can have a few bad apples that ruin a reputation. It happens everywhere. When I came to Malta first in 2012, the reputation was top notch. We are here to help fix that reputation abroad. I’m sure that trust will come back. In the few weeks since we’ve been here, we’re already seeing a strong interest in Malta from Germany.”

The greylisting is unfair on Malta

The BVMW has 900,000 members, 300 representation offices all over Germany and has a presence in 68 countries, with the Malta office being the latest one to be set up.

Schwarte stressed the importance of its presence in Malta, saying the very decision to set up a base here was a strong message in itself. The decision was taken last September but had to be delayed due to the pandemic.

“The German association sees Malta as a very big market, one of the fastest-growing economies in Europe. Malta is part of the European family, with the euro as the same currency. We have a good compatible labour situation where companies can outsource their labour, the English language, the favourable tax regimes for firms and, of course, the sun and sea,” Schwarte said.

“We are working closely with Malta Enterprise to attract businesses to Malta and will be helping it open an office in Düsseldorf. We have already started organising consultation days,” he added.

Michela Arena, who runs the association’s hub in Malta, said the island’s location helps companies who aim to import and export goods.

“The aim of the association is to network; whether it’s a German entrepreneur who wants to establish a company in Malta or a Maltese entrepreneur who wants to expand his business abroad.

“We need to show the German entrepreneurs how Malta really is, black on white. We can recommend Malta as a reasonable business hub. We are trying to get the reputation back to Malta. We want them to come to Malta to meet the people,” Schwarte added. 

During the opening of the offices, Malta Enterprise CEO Kurt Farrugia thanked the BVMW board for their commitment to Malta.

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