SME Chamber

Reviewing the Crafts Sector

 GRTU has written to Hon Jason Azzopardi Parliamentary Secretary for SMEs calling to revitalize the craft sector by revisiting laws and restarting measures. GRTU has done this as the national representative of craft at national, sectoral and EU level through our membership with UEAPME the European Association of Craft, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises.


Though there is no EU level definition of crafts we feel that it is high time that we reach a decision of how to define crafts within the local economic context. This is essential as we are committed to restart initiatives to help the craft sector.

We are not aware of any detailed and professional definition adopted by Maltese authorities. The only definition we are aware of is very simplistic. GRTU's definition in line with the general trend at EU is much wider:

Strong involvement of the owner or head of the enterprise in steps of the workflow (financial independence, strong personal responsibility)

Craft, technical and management competences (apprentices as one means of passing on those competences)

Active contribution to production of produce and services (in particular tailor-made and single-size products or in small quantities)

Proximity to the client and local activities

GRTU told Dr Azzopardi that traditionally the Ministry for Finance has looked at crafts as small firms and self-employed that produce traditional handy-crafts and we would like to move away from that idea to adopt a wider view. We include in our definition the schedule of crafts annexed to LN 158, 2001.

GRTU wants to restart an initiative where we revisit the situation of the crafts in Malta in line with the Commission's approach through this initiative we aim to:

increase the knowledge of the sector through studies, conferences, workshops and statistics

identify obstacles to the sustainable development of these enterprises and to prepare proposals to address them

enhance craft and small businesses' capacities for growth in the internal market, for instance through SME friendly European standards and better knowledge about them, through improved access to public procurement or through the promotion of innovation and research in micro- and craft businesses through cooperation, as well as

promote a more favourable business environment for craft and small enterprises through quality support services, better legal and fiscal environment, social protection of new entrepreneurs etc.

GRTU expressed its regret that there is no structured relationship between the Ministry, the Malta Crafts Council and GRTU as their representative. GRTU also offered our necessary support to organise this sector better.

We are convinced that Government is determined to support this large sector of mainly micro enterprises but unfortunately few if any in the sector feel that the message is coming through in a practical manner and with tangible results.

GRTU is awaiting a meeting to discuss the issue into more detail.

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