US-Malta relations – from strength to strength

 

 US-Malta relations – from strength to strength 
by Carla Gatt US Ambassador MOLLY BORDONARO speaks to Carla Gatt about the transfer of refugees from Malta to America, the new adventure park in Ta’ Qali and the life of the Bordonaro family in Malta.  Calm and self-assured, the American Ambassador, Molly Bordonaro spoke to The Malta Independent on Sunday about bilateral matters between Malta and the United States and how she and her family have found life in Malta so far. “Looking back over the past 12 months, I honestly feel that relations between Malta and the US have gone from strength to strength. “Malta is a very small densely populated island and housing large numbers of communitarian refugees is a real struggle for this tiny Mediterranean Republic. “I’m very glad that the US will be helping Malta as we’re about to send the first group of communitarian refugees in Malta to America. The US takes so many thousands of refugees from Third World countries such as Sudan.” Could you give me an estimate of the number of refugees the US will be taking in? Let’s just say hundreds! They will start leaving in groups so this is not just a one-time transfer. There are two procedures to be followed. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) first processes the group, followed by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), which the United States contracts to do the second processing. The refugees are given a three-day orientation programme about America so that once they reach the US they have an idea what to expect. When they arrive in the US, the non-profit organisations that sponsor them find housing for them and help them become productive in American society. The American newspaper The Oregonian of 18 November quoted you as saying that Malta was 20 years behind in terms of gender equality. I was completely misquoted! What I said was that what the States achieved in the past 20 years, Malta has managed to achieve in much less. I believe the Maltese government has made it one of its top priorities to ensure women have as much equality as men. Like any advanced democracy, Malta has made many options available for all individuals. What about the new embassy to be built in Ta’ Qali? The modernization of US embassies worldwide started in 1998, and now, nine years later,

Migrants prepare for resettlement in the United States

A group of 15 Somali refugees leave Malta tomorrow to start a new life in the United States.

news a1They form part of a resettlement programme which, US Ambassador Molly Bordonaro said, will see hundreds of recognised refugees in Malta resettled in the United States.

The United Nations High Commission for Refugees has so far referred more than 260 people who are in the process of being settled in the US. Some will leave Malta in the next few weeks.

Ambassador Bordonaro, who this morning had a meeting with Foreign Minister Tonio Borg, said this showed the commitment of the United States to help Malta ease the problems of migration .

“It also demonstrates our recognition of the enormous challenges and dangers that many of the migrants have faced.”

She said that all refugees are assigned a sponsor agency that provides initial services such as housing, food, clothing as well as referral to medical care, employment services and other support during a transition period lasting up to two years in order to ensure integration and assimilation.

“I have personally met many of the refugees who are part of the programme, and they will make outstanding US citizens,” the ambassador said.

Dr Borg thanked the United States saying the resettlement programme was a demonstration of support which Malta was seeking to ease to ease the burden posed by the influx of migrants. He said he did not think such resettlement programmes would encourage more migrants to come to Malta, given the requirements needed for the migrants to qualify for resettlement.

Picture: In and out: A group of 53 migrants arrived in Malta yesterday

AmCham Malta welcomes recent Malta – USA developments

The American Chamber of Commerce in Malta welcomes with great satisfaction the announcement that the Treaty for the Avoidance of Double Taxation between the Government of Malta and the Government of the United States of America has been initialled. The Chamber eagerly looks forward to the final signing of the Treaty that would effectively bring the Treaty into force…more here

EC opens school in San Diego

Wednesday, 9th April 2008

EC opens school in San Diego 

Vanessa Macdonald

EC has acquired an English language school in San Diego in a multimillion dollar deal, its sixth outside Malta.

EC, a wholly Maltese owned organisation, started in Malta in 1991 and now has schools in London, Cambridge and Brighton in the UK, Cape Town in South Africa and Boston.

Group head Andrew Mangion said the plans were to expand in the US, making the most of the favourable dollar exchange rate and the imminent double taxation agreement, which means the effective tax rate on repatriated dividends would drop from 60 per cent to about 40 per cent.

US Ambassador Molly Bordonaro, who was present at the news conference unveiling the deal, said the double taxation agreement was now in its final stages and would be signed within weeks.

However, Mr Mangion noted that plans to expand to the US were laid down some two years ago, before either the weak dollar or any prospects of a double taxation agreement. “Of course, these factors help but we think the US is a very exciting market and plan to have as many as seven schools there by 2010,” he said.

“The weak dollar also makes it a very cheap location for foreign students. The only thing we hope is that the American government makes the visa process smoother…”

The school in San Diego was established in 1994 and is located in an affluent suburb along the shores of the Pacific.

The school, which will be rebranded as EC San Diego, will be managed by Michelle Falzon and has about 25 staff in low season. EC plans to upgrade the 20-classroom school and its facilities to bring them in line with its other schools. It caters mostly for affluent European adults, including a strong market from Switzerland, with some Asians and South Americans. The school uses a mix of host families and residential units.

Ms Bordonaro expressed her admiration for the entrepreneurial spirit that enabled a Maltese company to invest in the US.

“We estimate that one in 50 Maltese work for American companies – not including franchises – so this shows that it is not one-sided,” she said.

Malta, US Malta sign MoU on visa waiver programme

Malta and the United States have signed a memorandum of understanding for Malta to form part of the US Visa Waiver Programme.

The MoU was signed by Justice and Home Affairs Minister Carm Mifsud Bonnici and US Ambassador Molly Bordonaro and marks the first step for Maltese citizens to eventually be able to travel to the United States without requiring a visa.

Ministry officials explained that Malta is expected to meet US requirements for eligibility to the visa waiver programme by the end of this year, following the introduction of biometric passports.

Last week the ambassador also announced that Malta and the US are shortly expected to formally sign a double taxation avoidance agreement.

The double taxation agreement and the visa issue have been the subject of talks between the United States and Malta for a number of years.

Baxter wins award

Baxter wins award 

To mark Earth Day 2008, US Ambassador Molly Bordonaro presented the US firm Baxter with the Ambassador’s Award for Environmental Excellence.

The Ambassador also recognised four other American firms for positively making a difference in Malta’s environment.

Speaking to distinguished leaders in business, politics, academia and civil society, the Ambassador noted that “green” innovations are being rapidly developed and deployed within the private sector and that the American firms are some of the country’s leaders in sustainable best practices.

Mrs Bordonaro presented the award to Baxter and praised their leadership in implementing a multitude of initiatives to benefit the environment.

Baxter was the first manufacturing facility on the island to achieve formal compliance with the ISO 14001 series of international standards on environmental management. The firm is now working to reduce its carbon emissions by utilising solar power systems and other energy reduction programmes to become “carbon neutral”.

Baxter is also active in community programmes to improve the environment throughout the island, including roundabout embellishment projects and the planting of 50 Aleppo pine trees in the Ta’ Qali National Park.

“By incorporating state-of-the art strategies to minimise the impact of its operations, Baxter is a model of environmental excellence worthy of being emulated by other companies interested in working towards a sustainable society,” Mrs Bordonaro said.

The four other US companies recognised for their achievements in adopting “green” technologies and ensuring sustainable business practices are the Hilton Hotel, for its efforts to conserve and reuse water; Methode, for its use of water soluble paints to reduce emissions into the air; McDonald’s, for its reuse of cooking oil converted to bio-diesel to power its trucks; and the Westin Dragonara resort, for its Green Room Programme, whereby guests can participate in conservation efforts by reducing water and electricity usage.

Dr. Anton L. Tabone elected President of the American Chamber of Commerce, Malta

13th May, 2007 Dr. Anton L. Tabone has been elected president of the amcham2007AmericanChamber of Commerce, Malta (AmCham, Malta). Dr Tabone succeeds Mark Miceli Farrugia, who was recently appointed Malta’s Ambassador to the United States of America. In his first address as President of AmCham, Malta, Dr. Tabone said that “he is committed to enhance relations with various bodies in the US in order to continue to facilitate closer business and trade relationships between Malta and the United State Dr Tabone also outlined a series of priorities which AmCham, Malta will be working on over the coming months. These include amongst others, a series of seminars on subjects related to commerce and financial services, which will see the participation of high-profile guest speakers from America. Dr Tabone also stressed on the importance of maintaining close collaboration with the United States of America Embassy in Malta, in particular with its Commercial Division. Other priorities include, the re-launching of the current AmCham – Malta website and embarking on a membership drive. AmCham, Malta is a non-profit organisation that was established to facilitate trade between Malta and the United States. AmCham (Malta) is an associate member of the European Council of American Chambers of Commerce (ECACC), and is also an associate member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Dr. Anton L. Tabone LL.D became a member of AmCham – Malta in 2005. Dr. Tabone is a former diplomat Continue reading