United States Ambassador Ms Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley addresses Maltese businesses
In her first economic policy address since being appointed US Ambassador to Malta, Her Excellency Ms Gina Abercrombie- Winstanley, addressed a numerous gathering of Maltese business people at an event jointly organised by the American Chamber of Commerce in Malta and the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Enterprise.The theme of the networking event was “Malta: A geo-strategic partner for US companies to trade in North Africa?’
Abercrombie-Winstanley began her speech by emphasising the already fruitful commercial relationship between both countries, as evidenced by the fact that the United States is Malta’s largest trading partner outside the EU and that, including hotels and franchises, 1 out of every 30 jobs in Malta is linked to US business. She suggested that a fruitful area to explore is the possibility of joint arrangements between U.S. and Maltese firms on projects in Libya, including rebuilding Libya’s infrastructure and the oil industry. “As you know,” the Ambassador stated, “and as we will be explaining to U.S. businesses, Malta provides a stable base for projects and investments in Libya. Malta’s proximity, logistics capability, supply services, aviation and maritime maintenance facilities, and your long relationships with all levels of Libyan business and society should make Malta a very attractive proposition to U.S. entrepreneurs wishing to do business in Libya.”
Ambassador Abercrombie-Winstanley outlined various ways how the U.S. Embassy intends facilitating mutually-beneficial alliances between American and Maltese businesses, through, amongst others, the US Commerce Department – particularly its “Export.gov” page, the U.S. Embassies in Libya, Tunisia and elsewhere, the U.S.-North Africa Partnership for Economic Opportunity, a private- public partnership led by the U.S. State Department, and by working closely with the Government of Malta and the U.S. Special Representative for Commercial and Business Affairs Lorraine Hariton, who recently visited Malta. However, ultimately, the Ambassador stressed, it is the Maltese entrepreneur’s responsibility to convince their American counterparts about the business opportunities available in the region.
Mr John Huber, on behalf of the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Enterprise, delivered an introductory speech. Mr Huber welcomed the Ambassador to the Chamber’s prestigious headquarters in Valletta and described the Chambers’ functions with particular emphasis on the role of the Internationalisation Unit which assists Maltese companies establish working relationships overseas.
Mr Pierre Attard, President of AmCham Malta, made his concluding remarks highlighting the fact that developments in North Africa are now offering Maltese companies a platform to become ever more relevant amongst their business counterparts in the United States and invited Maltese businesses to seize such a unique opportunity. Malta’s geo-strategic location in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea is the only permanent certainty that exists in the region’s ever-changing social, economic and political realities. Such permanence should be positively capitalised upon to the advantage of Maltese entrepreneurs and the Maltese economy. Mr. Attard expressed AmCham Malta’s willingness to be participative in the US Embassy’s efforts to establish a structured dialogue amongst all interested stakeholders.