19 November, 2021

‘No better time for businesses to venture abroad’ – Liz Barbaro Sant


As Chairperson, what are your aims for TradeMalta and how do you see it developing?

TradeMalta provides an excellent opportunity for Maltese businesses to explore international business opportunities. We have to forge new and ambitious partnerships and open up innovative markets for Maltese goods and services. But while Malta punches above our weight in exports, we also punch significantly below our potential.

We aim to continue to open markets and unlock opportunities for businesses especially in East & West African countries which have considerable unexploited potential in trade. Libya is also a very important market for Maltese businesses albeit depending on the stability of the country. We will continue to assist companies in other countries but we need to prioritise.

We also plan to strengthen the in country support. Government also has a vital role in helping businesses to export, by using its unique assets such as its international network and government-to government relationships.

In May you were appointed as chairperson of TradeMalta; how has the experience been so far?

My experience to date has been a positive one in spite of the situation being challenging. However, during challenging times we still perceive trade as a window of opportunity for diversification and growth of Maltese companies.

It is truly a pleasure to work with Anton Buttigieg, our CEO, and the rest of the team who are talented and inspiring. The Board is made up of a formidable array of passionate community leaders with a veritable storehouse of business acumen.

As vice president of The Malta Chamber, what is your role within this entity?

I mainly focus on the internationalisation aspect and continue to further strengthen the already existent excellent collaboration between government, TradeMalta and The Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry.

I also enjoy enticing new members to The Malta Chamber. There is so much work behind the scenes which helps businesses of different sizes. Also, it is extremely valuable for building connections and learning about other industries.

Being so involved in TradeMalta and The Malta Chamber, two business-focused entities, when or how would you say your interest in business developed?

Internationalisation has always occupied a special place in my heart – I love it, so when the opportunity presented itself to be part of this incredible team, I was grateful for the opportunity.

As many of you may know, Trade Malta was formed as a public-private partnership between the Government of Malta, currently under the remit of the Ministry for the Economy and Industry and the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry

You’ve been part of TradeMalta for over three years now – what have been the biggest challenges so far? Has the pandemic had any part in this?

It may seem counterintuitive to talk about expanding overseas when local businesses are grappling with the pandemic, but for the many firms venturing abroad it seems there is no better time.

The pandemic has led to certain constraints, especially on cross-border travel, but it has also given rise to new ways of doing business. And support for internationalisation, whether from the government or industry partners, is as present as ever.

That being said, we know internationalisation may still seem daunting and this is why we are here to help navigate a business environment which is dynamic and ever-changing. Access to finance, lack of working capital and cover for the financial risks of exporting and payments is always a major challenge.

Read the full article here

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