Fabian Demicoli

A Sad Day for Malta

GRTU – Malta Chamber for SMEs in representation of Maltese Traders and Retailers believes that the Government of Malta should be ashamed after abstaining on a crucial vote on the imposition of 16.5% and 10% tariffs on shoes imported from China and Vietnam. Maltese consumers and traders still have to suffer the burden of a previous decision to raise tariffs on shoes. Now they have to suffer these additional burdens Malta Government’s decision is bad on principle, bad on facts, bad for competitiveness. Bad for Malta.

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GRTU – Malta Chamber for SMEs in representation of Maltese Traders and Retailers believes that the Government of Malta should be ashamed after abstaining on a crucial vote on the imposition of 16.5% and 10% tariffs on shoes imported from China and Vietnam. Maltese consumers and traders still have to suffer the burden of a previous decision to raise tariffs on shoes. Now they have to suffer these additional burdens Malta Government’s decision is bad on principle, bad on facts, bad for competitiveness. Bad for Malta.

GRTU stated in a Press Conference and at the sub-committee of the Forum Malta in Europe, and later at a specially convened meeting of COMEU, the EU Malta consultation platform, that the EU Commission’s recommendations were bad for Malta, bad for Maltese business and bad for Maltese consumers. It is also bad on principle: Malta should not side with those forces in the EU who want to put the EU back to the dark years of protectionism. Anti dumping rules as they now stand are anti-competitiveness.

GRTU argued at the COMEU meeting that the figures on which the Ministry of Finance was basing its recommendations to Malta’s Permanent Representative in Brussels to support the EU Commission’s negative stance, were wrong. They presented calculations on the wrong choice of statistics and without consulating the Maltese trading houses who could have presented the right facts and the exact figures and impact on consumer prices in Malta.

GRTU consulted Maltese businesses and studied the analysis made by the government economists at the Ministry of Finance and can prove, in Court if need be, that the Government economist got it all wrong. And how could they work it out correctly when they did not talk to anyone from the trade? How could they argue their position, when the businessmen who are going to suffer the consequence of the Malta Government’s wrong decision were not heard, and when brought up front by GRTU, they were argued down? What Government is this that votes against the interests of Maltese Traders and Consumers?

Malta’s abstention on this crucial vote was equivalent to a NO vote. It is no argument to state that the final count-down did not depend on Malta: Malta should be steadfast in favour of competitiveness. Why should Malta defend the jobs of workers in Romania, especially, and elsewhere, but vote against the jobs of the Maltese? GRTU expects Malta’s Representative in Brussels to state unequivocably what he bargained in return for Malta’s shameful vote.. It is inconceivable that Malta’s Representative voted against Malta’s best interest.

GRTU will be monitoring the economic impact of Malta Government’s action especially the impact on the retail price index as the full effect of Government’s wrong decision is felt later on this year and next year. GRTU will also measure the impact on the profitability Maltese trading houses and the impact on employment in the trading sector.

GRTU publicly states that it is simply not acceptable that Civil Servants act behind the back of Maltese businesses and refuse enterprise’s advice when it is given and rely instead on the wrong choice of statistics and calculations that inevitably lead to decisions which are bad for Malta.

GRTU is publishing together with this Statement the Press Release of EuroCommerce, the European Voice of Traders and Retailers, who in agreement with BEUC, the European voice of Consumers, strongly opposed the EU Commission’s illogical proposal.

Like our colleagues in the EU, GRTU states that today is a sad day for consumers, companies and competitiveness.

Note to Editors:

You may publish as a Press Release or as an Opinion signed:
Vincent Farrugia, Director General, GRTU

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