French business interest in Malta is on the increase, according to French Ambassador Béatrice le Fraper du Hellen, who had words of praise for Malta and its proactive approach during a conference organised by the Maltese-French Chamber of Commerce.
The ‘Healthcare Business in the Mediterranean’ conference was addressed by a number of speakers who dealt with the opportunities that Malta can offer in medical research and development, medical training and medical tourism.
Health Minister Chris Fearne.
Health Minister Chris Fearne.
“In France, businesses have started looking at Malta as a serious hub for medical research and development, training and logistics and as a possible platform for bridging the business gap with North Africa and the Gulf region.
“Malta’s strong digital economy, its well-educated workforce and easy access to regulating authorities are proof of the country’s openness to business,” Ms le Fraper du Hellen said.
The Ambassador noted how there had been a tendency by French companies to look at Malta as a small and limited country. “This idea is changing because Malta has a vision and a strategy and businesses can now communicate with Maltese counterparts and do business together.
“We now know that it’s much easier for a French company to get an export licence from Malta to operate outside the EU, in some sectors or for some products, than from France itself.
“We need to rethink the way we sell Malta to France since both countries can collaborate a lot especially in the medical field.
We need to rethink the way we sell Malta to France since both countries can collaborate a lot especially in the medical field
“The opportunities that Malta can offer are being so well presented that it makes it much easier for me to sell Malta to the French business market.”
Joseph Bugeja, president of the Malta-French Chamber of Commerce, said Malta was experiencing many developments in the medical sector. “Malta is developing a lot in the field of research and development, generics, pharmacology and this is creating a lot of new opportunities when it comes to attracting more R & D, experts and students for medical training and medical tourists seeking wellness programmes in Malta.
“The Maltese-French Chamber of Commerce wants to assist French businesses leverage these opportunities for the benefit of both countries,” he said.
Minister for Health Chris Fearne spoke about the country’s vision for the development of the health sector in the coming years.
“Malta has always had excellent health services. Today we have an excess capacity of beds, operating theatres and hospitals. This brings an opportunity to attract foreign patients to benefit from our health services. Malta will be looking at becoming an important player in clinical research and trials. Malta also has a long history in medical education and this helps us attract foreign students to specialised schools and post-graduate education.”
Mr Fearne also mentioned how in the eventuality of a Brexit, Malta will be lobbying to host the European Medicines Agency, currently found in London, which will open up endless opportunities for more investment in the sector.
Other speakers included Margot Pisani, Malta’s country manager at pharmaceutical company Sanoﬁ, Marcello Basile Cherubino, country representative of diagnostics and lab equipment company bioMérieux, Didier Bourguignon, director of business, France, Italy and Malta, Sri Ram Tumuluri, director at Vitals Global Healthcare, Nikolai Attard, dean of the Faculty of Dental Surgery at the University of Malta, Clive Brockdorff, head of communications, investment promotion at Malta Enterprise and Dr Gilles Gutierrez, director at the Institute of Cellular Pharmacology.
“Malta has a strong role in the internationalisation of the French economy; however, Malta and its business community can gain from this by leveraging on the endless opportunities that the healthcare business in the Mediterranean has to offer,” concluded Mr Bugeja.