Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion, Carmelo Abela, led the mission, which took place right after another one to South Korea, headed by the Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services, Digital Economy, and Innovation, Silvio Schembri. Both sector-focused missions were aimed at promoting commercial opportunities in virtual currencies and innovative technologies, cybersecurity, digital games, and e-sports, and were organised by Trade Malta and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion, in collaboration with the Parliamentary Secretariat for Financial Services, Digital Economy and Innovation, and the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise, and Industry.
At the Business Forum, a Memorandum of Understanding for cooperation in the field of emerging technologies and cybersecurity was signed by Parliamentary Secretary Silvio Schembri on behalf of Malta, and Senior Minister of State at the Ministry of Transport and the Ministry of Communications and Information, Janil Puthucheary, on behalf of Singapore, in the presence of Minister Carmelo Abela.
Parliamentary Secretary Schembri had already visited Singapore in September 2018, when he held talks with the Senior Minister of State Puthucheary. Discussions between the two sides have continued ever since. “It is an honour to see both countries ready to strengthen and develop their relationship through a Memorandum of Understanding. We look forward to sharing our internationally-recognised achievements in the blockchain, innovative technologies, and AI sectors based on the credibility and positive reputation to doing business,” said Parliamentary Secretary Schembri.
On his part, Minister Carmelo Abela remarked that the Maltese economy offers international entrepreneurs and stakeholders a myriad of opportunities including, following recent developments, in the blockchain and distributed ledger technologies sector. He described the Business Forum as the most recent of a succession of initiatives that attest to the longstanding ties between Malta and Singapore, which have grown from strength to strength since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1988.
“Malta and Singapore may be geographically distant, but we are united by our similarities,” he said. “We are both island States with small domestic markets and an important export sector. Being a strategic regional gateway, Malta can be used as a platform to European and North African markets. On the other hand, Singapore is increasingly assuming the role of a strategic gateway to Asia and Australasia. Moreover, we are both former British colonies, and both members of the Commonwealth of Nations and of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM). All this shows there is ample scope for further cooperation between our two countries. Areas of mutual interest such as trade, maritime affairs, and education are obvious, but we can explore and look beyond this too.”
Left: Ong Eng Yain and Janil Puthucheary; right: Carmelo Abela and Silvio Schembri
Meanwhile, Parliamentary Secretary Schembri gave a presentation on commercial opportunities in Malta, while Ong Eng Yain from the Singapore Economic Development Board explained the commercial opportunities offered by his country. A panel discussion followed by a Q&A session was also held with the participation of Kenneth Farrugia, Chairman of Finance Malta; Ivan Filletti, Head of Operations at GamingMalta; Stephen Vella, General Manager at MCAST Gateway to Industry; and Gerd Sapiano, Analyst, Securities & Market Supervision Unit at the Malta Financial Services Authority.
Trade Malta’s Chief Executive Officer, Anton Buttigieg, said: “Today we have made another significant step forward to further enhance the economic and commercial relationship between Singapore and Malta. Singapore is an important Asian hub for financial services, maritime affairs, logistics, and the digital economy. The Business Forum and the B2B networking session have helped to continue strengthening Malta’s reputation as an ideal partner in Europe and in the Mediterranean.”
On Tuesday, Minister Abela and Parliamentary Secretary Schembri held political talks with Mohamad Maliki Bin Osman, Senior Minister of State at the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Maltese trade mission and political commitments to Singapore were facilitated by Malta’s Honorary Consul-General, Capt. Ashok K. Batura.
Source: Press Release by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion and the Parliamentary Secretariat for Financial Services, Digital Economy and Innovation