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Malta And Serbia Sign Double Tax Agreement

by Ulrika Lomas,, Brussels

10 September 2009

On September 9, Malta’s Minister of Finance, Tonio Fenech, signed a double tax treaty with Serbian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Vuk Jeremic. The agreement also aims to strengthen diplomatic and commercial ties by removing barriers to trade and investment between the respective countries.

The double taxation agreement is the twelfth one in Malta's current legislative term; the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has recently signed agreements with France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Montenegro, Switzerland, the United States and Qatar.

The agreements help to foster better relations between the signatory countries and Malta, and will enhance the prospects of future bilateral trade relations, according to the Maltese authorities.

Deputy Prime Minister Tonio Borg, who also participated in the meeting, observed that the signing of the DTA will create unprecedented opportunities for trade, cooperation and investment between the two countries.

“By facilitating investments and other financial interactions we will be able to foster better relations between our two countries and increase the social and economic exchanges which are so vital in a healthy relationship between countries,” he noted.

Mr Borg stressed the especial importance of enhancing trade relations, revealing that in 2008, total trade was around EUR1.2m (approximately USD1.7m), a drop from just over EUR2m (USD2.9m) in the previous year. Trade is restricted to just a few items such as imports of cereals (50%), printed material (25%), rubber products, furniture and aircraft spare parts, while Maltese exports are made up of organic chemicals, pharmaceutical products, and clothing.

The Deputy Prime Minister suggested that the exchange of trade delegations could be organised in order to enhance this area of the bilateral trelationship.

Regarding investment in Malta, Tonio Borg emphasised the shift Malta has made in an attempt to attract more knowledge-based industries, also placing a stronger emphasis on attracting high-value-added manufacturing and services, such as healthcare, pharmaceuticals and medical related products, ICT, including electronics, mechanical engineering, knowledge-based services and renewable sources of energy.

“In this regard it would be appropriate to encourage Serbian companies to take this opportunity to invest in Malta. The quality of Maltese IT graduates is good. IT companies in Malta have been very successful and the future of IT industry is bright. Furthermore, the growth in the IT industry in Malta is mainly through foreign owned companies and hence Malta is an excellent location for investment by information technology and telecommunications companies,” Borg concluded.

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