Fabian Demicoli

GRTU President addresses Austrian businesses in opening of business forum

 GRTU has this week helped co-organise an event, following invitation by the Austrian Ambassador to Malta Petra Schneebauer and the Austrian Commercial Consul for Malta Michael Berger which also involved a business forum where GRTU members met Austrian businesses interested in doing business with Maltese entrepreneurs. A total of 150 meetings were held and the event.

GRTU's President Paul Abela introduced himself as President of GRTU, the Chamber representing from the smallest and simplest type of enterprise in Malta. Daily these micro, small and medium enterprises astonish us at GRTU with their will, bravery and perseverance at doing business. Mr Abela's speech went on as follows:

I believe we are all here today because our Austrian colleagues who have organised this event, which is really an opportunity for my members, and for this I truly thank you, have themselves, together with the Austrian businesses we have welcomed in Malta, recognised the skill of the Maltese entrepreneur.

I myself had participated in a business delegation to Vienna organised by Malta Enterprise a couple of years ago and the Maltese businesses were even back then very keen on doing business with Austria.

Trade figures can vouch for the opportunities that are already being exploited. Total imports during 2011 amounted to €24M while total exports amounted to €7M. Since 2010 these figures almost doubled and we are here today because our enterprises see further opportunities.

GRTU has been established over 60 years ago and we have seen our members not only grow but even outgrow the Maltese market potential. The Maltese market is still developing but to achieve further success and significant growth Maltese entrepreneurs need to look outside the Maltese market into the European market of 500M consumers and even outside the European market. Currently Maltese enterprises are aggressively tapping outside the Maltese market and they are being successful. We as GRTU provide them with all types of support needed and we instigate Government to support local enterprises through trade schemes and delegation visits. GRTU holds regular information sessions, hosts business delegations, accompanies its members on delegation visits and signs bilateral agreements with business Chambers to help its members with required contacts and support when in a foreign country.

Other than the work carried out by the GRTU's internationalisation Desk GRTU also keeps its members updated on any developments at EU, national and local level. Through our Brussels representatives EuroCommerce and UEAPME, where Austria is also well represented, and through GRTU's seats in the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and the European Social Fund (ESF) we ensure the views and interests of our members are represented through all available channels at EU level. In Malta GRTU sits on the Malta Council for Economic and Social Development (MCESD) and holds other important seats while at the same time keeping an open and healthy relationship also at Local Council level.

Today GRTU is an organisation that acts as a one-stop-shop for its members and channels information in an intelligent manner to ensure members receive the information they require in a timely manner and in a way they can understand it. All these things make GRTU an interactive and essential partner for businesses and we are here available for the Maltese and Austrian enterprises that require any type of support.

I will conclude by once again thanking our Austrian colleagues for taking the initiative to organise such an event. Please do make the most of the meetings today and network and make contacts as much as you can. We will invite our members to follow up on the contacts made today as I am sure that these introductory meetings can lead to good and healthy business relationships. I hope to be in a position to reciprocate soon with a Maltese delegation in Austria and for today I wish you good business!

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