Importing and Exporting in/from Malta

Importing and Exporting in/from Malta

Updated on Tuesday 09th July 2019

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Importing-and-Exporting-in-MaltaMalta became a member of the European Union in 2004 and ever since, its economy went on an ascending slope and the currency switch from the Maltese pound to Euro in 2008 led to the liberalization of the country’s economy. Malta became a very attractive destination for foreign investors due to its trading activities and its tourism facilities. The legislation for foreign investments and the Maltese tax system have drawn even more the attention of foreign investors wanting to expand their businesses or setting up new companies in Malta.

Below, our lawyers in Malta explain the main import/export regulations local and foreign companies must respect. We can also assist investors interested in setting up trading companies in Malta.

Malta’s imports

Due to the fact the Malta is a small country, imports occupy an important part in the country’s economy. The most imported product in Malta is refined petroleum with a quota of 33%. Passenger boats and cargo ships are the second most imported products in Malta and they occupy 24% of the country’s imported goods. Malta also imports integrated circuits and chemical products that represent almost 6% each. In smaller percentages, Malta imports: means of transportation, metals, foods, textiles, pharmaceuticals, spacecraft and aircraft spare parts, cars and cars spare parts and computers.

The most important suppliers for Maltese imports are: South Korea than provides 23% of the country’s imports and Italy that supplies 22% of Malta’s total imports. In smaller quantities and percentages, Malta imports products from Russia, Turkey, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and China.

Malta’s exports

Maltese exports are mainly based on: refined petroleum, integrated circuits and packaged medicines. Malta exports refined petroleum in proportion of 37%, integrated circuits in proportion of 23% and pharmaceuticals in proportion of 6%. Other products exported by Malta are represented by: manufactured goods, appliances, protection equipment, airplane spare parts, medical devices and measuring tools. 

Malta’s main export partners are China and Singapore that import about 8% of Malta’s total exported products, Germany, France, Italy and the United States that import from Malta between 4 and 5% of their products and, in smaller percentage, Malta exports to Turkey, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.

The trade license in Malta

According to the Importation Control Regulations (L.N. 242/04), the import of certain products in Malta requires an authorization or import license issued by the Trade Services Directorate. The products requiring an import license are divided in schedule lists. According to the Exportation Control Regulations (L.N. 243/04), there are certain exported goods that require authorizations or export licenses issued by the Trade Service Directorate.

Regulations when importing/exporting goods into/from Malta

Companies operating in the trading industry in Malta must respect several import, export or import/export regulations depending on the activities completed. These regulations were issued by the Commerce Department in Malta which is also in charge with the issuance of the licenses required when importing/exporting goods into/from Malta.

The following regulations must be respected by Maltese trading companies:

  1. registering for VAT and obtaining EORI numbers with the Maltese tax authorities, respectively Customs;
  2. obtaining import/export licenses when bringing or taking out of the country specific products;
  3. respecting the Customs Economic Procedures imposed at a European Union level for all companies;
  4. complying with the Customs Warehousing Procedure which implies the temporary storage of imported goods from non-EU states;
  5. complying with the Processing under Customs Control Procedure which provides for the import of non-EU goods on the Community market;
  6. respecting the Inward Processing Procedure which implies the payment of import duties, when applicable.


When it comes to exporting goods from Malta, local companies are required to respect the regulations imposed by the authorities in the country the goods are sent to. In the case of intra-Community exports, the EU legislation will apply.

Our law firm in Malta can guide foreign investors interested in setting up trading firms here in respect to the laws they need to comply with.

Documents related to the import and export of goods into/from Malta

One of the most important laws which must be respected when importing/exporting goods into/from Malta is the Customs Regulations which was issued in 1957 and which has undergone significant changes since Malta entered the European Union. The last amendment to these regulations were brought in 2017.

Under this law, all companies involved in trading activities in Malta are required to respect the documentation conditions which allow them to import and export goods. Among these are:

  • - all imported goods must be accompanied by bills of entry which must contain information on the name, the weight and description of the products;
  • - exported goods must be accompanied by bills of export which must contain their names, weight and description;
  • - all goods must be accompanied by Certificates of Origin, in accordance with the Agreement of Association between Malta and the European Community;
  • - all products, no matter if imported or exported, must have the Harmonized System Code imposed by the Maltese Customs Authorities;
  • - companies and individuals importing or exporting goods into/from Malta must pay the fees imposed by the Maltese Comptroller.


When importing and exporting goods into/from Malta, companies must also file specific application forms with the Customs Authorities. Among these the Single Administrative Document (SAD) when importing goods from other EU countries and the invoice of the products to be imported or exported.

If you need any information on the regulations which need to be respected when importing or exporting goods, our Maltese lawyers are at your disposal with complete information.

Import and export duties in Malta

All companies involved in trading activities in Malta are subject to specific customs duties when importing and exporting products. However, under Business Promotion Act, small companies can qualify for certain suspensions when importing or exporting goods. Under Section 24 of the law, small companies exporting more than 80% of their products can qualify for a full suspension of the import duties for the import of raw materials.

Startup companies can also benefit from these suspensions based on the projections submitted with Malta Enterprise.

Our Maltese lawyers can help foreign investors set up companies which can qualify as startups.

Why set up a trading company in Malta?

Malta is one of the most prolific economies in the EU and trading plays an important role in the country’s Gross Domestic Product. In numbers, import and export activities in Malta indicate that:

  • - Malta imported goods worth 12,2 billion USD in 2017;
  • - it exported goods worth 3,87 billion USD in the same year;
  • - at the level of 2017, Malta was the 113rd country in the world in terms of trading activities;
  • - refined petroleum and medicines represent top exports in Malta with 765 million USD, respectively 427 million USD brought the 2017 Budget.


If you want to register a company and you need details about import and export regulations, you may contact our law firm in Malta.