Merger of the Malta Chamber of Commerce and Enterprise with the Malta Federation of Industry
Globalisation, Malta’s accession to the European Union in 2004 and corresponding transformations in Malta’s economic and commercial environment set the background for a merger between the Malta Chamber of Commerce and Enterprise and the Malta Federation of Industry. The forces described above were further accentuated by the country’s eventual accession to the euro-zone in 2008.The elimination of trade protectionism as well as the introduction of the euro as the national currency brought about a natural progression wherein policies of the two organisations moved towards full convergence and much common ground was achieved. The two organisations were regularly adopting similar stances on various national issues of direct economic and commercial interest.
Further close collaboration was successfully achieved in the setting up of the Malta Business Foundation in 1996 and more recently the joint investment in the La Valette Business Centre in Brussels. Against this background the officers of the Chamber and FOI – organisations which both exist to create conditions favourable to the growth of the private sector – realised the strategic need to join forces to provide more effective leadership and representation of member interests in this rapidly-evolving scene. Discussions, which began between representatives of the two bodies nearly three years ago, quickly revealed the benefits to be achieved by a stronger voice in national forums such as the Malta Council for Economic and Social Development (MCESD) influencing national policy.
Following the signing on 4 January 2008 of a Memorandum of Understanding on the terms and conditions of the proposed merger, in the presence of the Prime Minister, the Chamber and the Federation set up a Task Force to make the necessary preparations and pave the way for the merger. Preparations involved a vast effort from both organisations, in terms of the establishment of the new Statute, general administration, policy, and most importantly sensitivity to the various sectoral interests that existed within the two business organisations.
Following the Extraordinary General Meetings held on the 24th and 25th September by the Federation and Chamber respectively, and both organisations’ members voting unanimously in favour, the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry came into being on January 3rd, 2009.
The new organisation aims to have the expertise, member-involvement mechanisms, management and networks of access to local and European policy-makers to provide enhanced ‘hands-on’ services to individual members; to mobilise sectors, associations and other groupings to pursue common agendas; to effectively respond to current issues and protect members’ interests; and – most fundamentally – to shape the policies which affect Maltese entrepreneurs. The new organisation provides a visible, prominent, strong and single point of reference for the other stakeholders, including government, EU bodies, foreign business representatives in the sectors of trade, manufacturing and services. In the new organisation, similar levels of service offerings and opportunity, according to membership categories, are provided to each member irrespective of the legacy organisation to which that member belonged.