The economic strength of the Maltese islands has lain for centuries in its geographical position as a major trading centre at the heart of the Mediterranean. Today, by building on its traditional resources of enterprise, innovation and location, the country has become a leading player in the Mediterranean basin and beyond - an efficient and strategic hub for trade, services and manufacturing.

Backed by an entrepreneurial private sector and a public administration providing the right climate for business, the country has recorded over the past few years enviable levels of growth and inflation. With European Union membership a declared goal of the Government, new financial services legislation and business regulations and standards have been formulated in line with EU practice. The country's liberal trade policies have given the private sector a pre-eminent role in the economy.

Malta shares the advantages of many of the key, small island economies around the world - Hong Kong, Singapore and the Channel Islands. By exploiting its geographic location and its long-established relations with many nations, Malta has created an economy ideal for niche business opportunities. With the European Union turning its attention to the Mediterranean region through co-operation and partnership agreements, Malta is well placed to act as a base for operations in newly-emerging and liberalised markets. Its location allows it to provide facilities, particularly in transhipment and financial services, to serve global enterprises as well.

The manufacturing and services sectors of this small island state provide many unique business opportunities. Never has there been a better time to invest in Malta ... a country where it's a pleasure to do business.