The National Foreign Direct Investment Screening Office and the Malta Employers’ Association have agreed to collaborate on the sharing of best practices and on promoting publicly available information to the benefit of the respective members.
On Thursday, Mario Galea for NFDIS and Joseph Farrugia for MEA signed a collaborative agreement which for the coming three years establishes the National Foreign Direct Investment Screening Office as one of the main collaborative partners within the meaindex.com online platform.
For the last three years, the MEA Index online toolbox for business entrepreneurs, under the leadership of Mr Anton Vella, SME Helpdesk executive within the MEA, has been a source from where the business community and potential entrepreneurs were able to access important data and information related to the local business ecosystem.
A number of Government entities already partnered with MEA as main collaborative partners and are continuously sharing relevant information for the benefit of this online platform subscribers.
The platform is available for everyone and subscription is free of charge. So far, it has already reached the 55,000 followers, and over a 200,000 webpage hits.
Meanwhile, the National Foreign Direct Investment Screening Office has now been set up for almost 18 months and operates from the Central Business District in Birkirkara.
The NFDIS Office was set up by government to implement EU Regulation 2019/452 and later on Chapter 620 of the Laws of Malta, and is run by a board of directors led by Mario Galea as chairperson, while the day-to-day management is directed by chief operations officer Bethany Magro.
The scope and remit of the office is to screen third-country foreign direct investments on grounds of security and public order. The purpose of the screening process is to protect European Union intelligence, knowledge, and technology as well as its security interests.
Mr Galea noted that so far the Office has reviewed over 1000 notifications of third-country investments in Malta since April 2020.
At the same time, the Office has vetted over 250 projects submitted through the EU screening mechanism, with such projects relating to investments in the EU.
The NFDIS office, Mr Galea said, has established an excellent rapport with the Commission [DG Trade] and its structures on investment screening.
Locally, NFDIS has organised activities with the Institute of Financial Services Practitioners, the Malta Institute of Accountants and the Chamber of Advocates, and has kept constant dialogue with individual stakeholders.
The MEA and NFDIS plan to organise activities in the future in order to promote reciprocal interests.
For this scope, public material of MEA will be utilised by the NFDIS Office in order to inform their respective members of the activities, the functions and the results that the office is achieving.
On its part, the MEA will be informing its members of the regulatory aspect of the National Foreign Direct Investment Screening Act and guide its members to the office whenever the screening regulation, legislation and practice shall apply.
The MEA’s director general, Mr Farrugia said that such an agreement strengthens networking amongst the business community, facilitates access to information, and helps employers gain knowledge and guidance, while assisting them to improve their managerial and entrepreneurial skills.
“It’s of extreme importance that employers are continuously updated with all business-related developments and together we must encourage more synergy between different entities, and avoid working in silos.”
Mr Galea stated that this collaboration between the NFDIS and MEA shows how the two entities can work together to promote, share, and at the same time increase awareness among the business community on the process and legislative function implemented by the NFDIS Office.
The framework for the screening of foreign direct investment inflows in Malta has been established for over a year, and as such we want to ensure, now more than ever, that our information is available to relevant stakeholders to ensure that the EU’s essential interests, including Malta’s, are not undermined.
“This collaboration will strengthen our efforts in promoting this legislative framework to business by facilitating access to our information and guidelines more effectively through the MEA Index platform.’’
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