Malta

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PAGE LAST UPDATED ON NOVEMBER 15, 2011
Flag of Malta
(CONTAINS DESCRIPTION)
Location of Malta
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Map of Malta
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Photos of Malta
 
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OF MALTA
 

Introduction

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Great Britain formally acquired possession of Malta in 1814. The island staunchly supported the UK through both world wars and remained in the Commonwealth when it became independent in 1964. A decade later Malta became a republic. Since about the mid-1980s, the island has transformed itself into a freight transshipment point, a financial center, and a tourist destination. Malta became an EU member in May 2004 and began using the euro as currency in 2008.
 
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Geography

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Southern Europe, islands in the Mediterranean Sea, south of Sicily (Italy)
 
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35 50 N, 14 35 E
 
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total: 316 sq km
country comparison to the world: 208
land: 316 sq km
water: 0 sq km
 
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slightly less than twice the size of Washington, DC
 
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0 km
 
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196.8 km (excludes 56.01 km for the island of Gozo)
 
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territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
continental shelf: 200 m depth or to the depth of exploitation
exclusive fishing zone: 25 nm
 
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Mediterranean; mild, rainy winters; hot, dry summers
 
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mostly low, rocky, flat to dissected plains; many coastal cliffs
 
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lowest point: Mediterranean Sea 0 m
highest point: Ta'Dmejrek 253 m (near Dingli)
 
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limestone, salt, arable land
 
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arable land: 31.25%
permanent crops: 3.13%
other: 65.62% (2005)
 
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32 sq km (2008)
 
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0.07 cu km (2005)
 
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total: 0.02 cu km/yr (74%/1%/25%)
per capita: 50 cu m/yr (2000)
 
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NA
 
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limited natural freshwater resources; increasing reliance on desalination
 
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party to: Air Pollution, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
 
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the country comprises an archipelago, with only the three largest islands (Malta, Ghawdex or Gozo, and Kemmuna or Comino) being inhabited; numerous bays provide good harbors; Malta and Tunisia are discussing the commercial exploitation of the continental shelf between their countries, particularly for oil exploration
 
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People and Society

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noun: Maltese (singular and plural)
adjective: Maltese
 
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Maltese (descendants of ancient Carthaginians and Phoenicians with strong elements of Italian and other Mediterranean stock)
 
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Maltese (official) 90.2%, English (official) 6%, multilingual 3%, other 0.8% (2005 census)
 
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Roman Catholic (official) 98%
 
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408,333 (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 174
 
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0-14 years: 15.7% (male 32,829/female 31,198)
15-64 years: 68.5% (male 142,006/female 137,803)
65 years and over: 15.8% (male 28,305/female 36,192) (2011 est.)
 
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total: 40 years
male: 38.8 years
female: 41.4 years (2011 est.)
 
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0.375% (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 161
 
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10.35 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 185
 
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8.6 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 84
 
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2.01 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 41
 
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urban population: 95% of total population (2010)
rate of urbanization: 0.5% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
 
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VALLETTA (capital) 199,000 (2009)
 
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at birth: 1.058 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.77 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2011 est.)
 
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8 deaths/100,000 live births (2008)
country comparison to the world: 155
 
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total: 3.69 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 207
male: 4.12 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 3.22 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)
 
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total population: 79.72 years
country comparison to the world: 34
male: 77.45 years
female: 82.12 years (2011 est.)
 
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1.52 children born/woman (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 184
 
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16.5% of GDP (2009)
country comparison to the world: 1
 
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3.073 physicians/1,000 population (2009)
country comparison to the world: 37
 
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4.88 beds/1,000 population (2009)
country comparison to the world: 41
 
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improved:
urban: 100% of population
rural: 100% of population
total: 100% of population (2008)
 
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improved:
urban: 100% of population
rural: 100% of population
total: 100% of population (2008)
 
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0.1% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 141
 
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fewer than 500 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 154
 
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fewer than 100 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 122
 
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20.7% (2007)
country comparison to the world: 21
 
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6.4% of GDP (2007)
country comparison to the world: 22
 
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definition: age 10 and over can read and write
total population: 92.8%
male: 91.7%
female: 93.9% (2005 Census)
 
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total: 14 years
male: 14 years
female: 15 years (2008)
 
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total: 13.3%
country comparison to the world: 86
male: 17.7%
female: 15.4% (2009)
 
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Government

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conventional long form: Republic of Malta
conventional short form: Malta
local long form: Repubblika ta' Malta
local short form: Malta
 
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republic
 
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name: Valletta
geographic coordinates: 35 53 N, 14 30 E
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
 
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none (administered directly from Valletta); note - local councils carry out administrative orders and have some responsibility for local road and other public maintenance
 
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21 September 1964 (from the UK)
 
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Independence Day, 21 September (1964); Republic Day, 13 December (1974)
 
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1964; amended many times
 
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mixed legal system of English common law and civil law (based on the Roman and Napoleonic civil codes)
 
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accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
 
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18 years of age; universal
 
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chief of state: President George ABELA (since 4 April 2009)
head of government: Prime Minister Lawrence GONZI (since 23 March 2004)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president on the advice of the prime minister
(For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)
elections: president elected by a resolution of the House of Representatives for a five-year term; election last held on 12 January 2009 (next to be held by April 2014); following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or leader of a majority coalition usually appointed prime minister by the president for a five-year term; the deputy prime minister appointed by the president on the advice of the prime minister
election results: George ABELA elected president by the House of Representatives
 
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unicameral House of Representatives (normally 65 seats; members are elected by popular vote on the basis of proportional representation by the Single Transferrable Vote (STV) to serve five-year terms; note - the parliament elected in 2008 is composed of 69 seats; when the political party winning an absolute majority of first-count votes (or a plurality of first-count votes in an election where only two parties are represented in parliament) does not win an absolute majority of seats, the constitution provides for the winning party to be awarded additional number of seats in parliament to guarantee it an absolute majority; in the event that more than two parties are repressented in parliament, with none acquiring the absolute majority of votes, the party winning the majority of seats prevails
elections: last held on 8 March 2008 (next to be held by March 2013)
election results: percent of vote by party - PN 49.3%, PL 48.8%, other 1.9%; seats by party - PN 35, PL 34
 
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Constitutional Court; Court of First Instance; Court of Appeal
note: magistrates and judges for the courts are appointed by the president on the advice of the prime minister
 
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Alternativa Demokratika/Alliance for Social Justice or AD [Michael BRIGUGLIO]; Labor Party or PL [Joseph MUSCAT]; Nationalist Party or PN [Lawrence GONZI]; The Malta Communist Party [Victor DEGIOVANNI]
 
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Alleanza Liberal-Demokratika Maltra or ALDM (for divorce, abortion, gay marriage, the rights existent in other EU member states); Alleanza Nazzionali Repubblikana or ANR (for traditional values, anti-immigration); Alternattiva Demokratika (pro-environment); Flimkien Ghal-Ambjent Ahjar (pro-environment); Ghazda tal-Konsumaturi (consumer rights)
other: environmentalists
 
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Australia Group, C, CE, EAPC, EBRD, EIB, EMU, EU, FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, NSG, OAS (observer), OPCW, OSCE, PCA, PFP, Schengen Convention, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, Union Latina (observer), UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
 
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chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Dennis GRECH
chancery: 2017 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 462-3611 through 3612
FAX: [1] (202) 387-5470
consulate(s): New York
 
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chief of mission: Ambassador Douglas W. KMIEC
embassy: 3rd Floor, Development House, Saint Anne Street, Floriana, FRN 9010
mailing address: P. O. Box 535, Valletta, VLT1000
telephone: [356] 2561 4000
FAX: [356] 2124 3229
 
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two equal vertical bands of white (hoist side) and red; in the upper hoist-side corner is a representation of the George Cross, edged in red; according to legend, the colors are taken from the red and white checkered banner of Count Roger of Sicily who removed a bi-colored corner and granted it to Malta in 1091; an uncontested explanation is that the colors are those of the Knights of Saint John who ruled Malta from 1530 to 1798; in 1942, King George VI of the United Kingdom awarded the George Cross to the islanders for their exceptional bravery and gallantry in World War II; since independence in 1964, the George Cross bordered in red has appeared directly on the white field
 
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Maltese cross
 
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name: "L-Innu Malti" (The Maltese Anthem)
lyrics/music: Dun Karm PSAILA/Robert SAMMUT
note: adopted 1945; the anthem is written in the form of a prayer
 
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Economy

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Malta produces only about 20% of its food needs, has limited fresh water supplies, and has few domestic energy sources. Malta's geographic position between the EU and Africa makes it a target for illegal immigration, which has strained Malta's political and economic resources. Malta adopted the euro on 1 January 2008. Malta's financial services industry has grown in recent years and in 2008-09 it escaped significant damage from the international financial crisis, largely because the sector is centered on the indigenous real estate market and is not highly leveraged. Locally, the restricted damage from the financial crisis has been attributed to the stability of the Maltese banking system and to its prudent risk-management practices. The global economic downturn and high electricity and water prices hurt Malta's real economy, which is dependent on foreign trade, manufacturing - especially electronics and pharmaceuticals - and tourism, but growth bounced back as the global economy recovered in 2010. Following a 1.2% contraction in 2009, GDP grew 2% in 2010. In early 2011, the EU ended excessive deficit procedures against Malta, after Malta had taken measures to correct an excessive deficit in 2010 and appeared likely to reach its deficit target of 2.8% of GDP in 2011.
 
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$10.41 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 151
$10.04 billion (2009 est.)
$10.39 billion (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
 
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$8.288 billion (2010 est.)
 
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3.7% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 106
-3.4% (2009 est.)
5.3% (2008 est.)
 
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$25,600 (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 52
$24,800 (2009 est.)
$25,800 (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
 
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agriculture: 1.9%
industry: 17.2%
services: 80.9% (2010 est.)
 
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265,200 (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 166
 
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agriculture: 1.3%
industry: 24.8%
services: 73.9% (2010)
 
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6.9% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 66
7% (2009 est.)
 
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NA%
 
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lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
 
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26 (2007)
country comparison to the world: 135
 
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16.2% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 156
 
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revenues: $3.207 billion
expenditures: $3.507 billion (2010 est.)
 
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38.7% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 50
 
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-3.6% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 114
 
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67.8% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 26
67% of GDP (2009 est.)
 
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1.5% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 48
2.1% (2009 est.)
 
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1.75% (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 128
1.75% (31 December 2009)
note: this is the European Central Bank's rate on the marginal lending facility, which offers overnight credit to banks in the euro area
 
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4.617% (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 169
4.492% (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$5.109 billion (31 December 2010)
country comparison to the world: 90
$5.283 billion (31 December 2009)
note: see entry for the European Union for money supply in the euro area; the European Central Bank (ECB) controls monetary policy for the 17 members of the EMU; individual members of the EMU do not control the quantity of money circulating within their own borders
 
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$12.5 billion (31 December 2010)
country comparison to the world: 95
$12.94 billion (31 December 2009)
 
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$18.66 billion (31 December 2010)
country comparison to the world: 83
$20.4 billion (31 December 2009)
 
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$2.399 billion (31 December 2010)
country comparison to the world: 96
$1.982 billion (31 December 2009)
$3.572 billion (31 December 2008)
 
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potatoes, cauliflower, grapes, wheat, barley, tomatoes, citrus, cut flowers, green peppers; pork, milk, poultry, eggs
 
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tourism, electronics, ship building and repair, construction, food and beverages, pharmaceuticals, footwear, clothing, tobacco, aviation services, financial services, information technology services
 
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NA%
 
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2.113 billion kWh (2010)
country comparison to the world: 134
 
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1.991 billion kWh (2010)
country comparison to the world: 136
 
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0 kWh (2009 est.)
 
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0 kWh (2009 est.)
 
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0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 178
 
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19,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 131
 
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0 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 194
 
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18,420 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 116
 
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0 bbl (1 January 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 168
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 167
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 205
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 148
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 98
 
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0 cu m (1 January 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 170
 
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-$361.5 million (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 99
-$601 million (2009 est.)
 
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$3.088 billion (2010)
country comparison to the world: 122
$2.427 billion (2009)
 
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electrical machinery, mechanical appliances, fish and crustaceans, pharmaceutical products, printed material
 
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Germany 18.4%, France 15.7%, UK 9.1%, Italy 6.6%, Libya 6%, US 5.7% (2010)
 
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$4.317 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 123
$3.798 billion (2009 est.)
 
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mineral fuels and oils, electrical machinery, non-electrical machinery, aircraft and other transport equipment, plastic and other semi-manufactured goods; food, drink, tobacco
 
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Italy 24.1%, UK 8.6%, Germany 8.5%, France 8.2%, Singapore 4.1% (2010)
 
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$540.2 million (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 148
$538.6 million (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$48.79 billion (30 June 2011)
country comparison to the world: 59
$5.978 billion (31 December 2010)
 
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$16.63 billion (31 December 2010)
country comparison to the world: 72
$8.24 billion (31 December 2009)
 
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$1.213 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 72
 
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euros (EUR) per US dollar -
0.755 (2010)
0.72 (2009)
0.6827 (2008)
note: on 1 January 2008 Malta adopted the euro as legal tender
 
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Communications

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247,300 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 123
 
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455,400 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 165
 
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general assessment: automatic system featuring submarine cable and microwave radio relay between islands
domestic: combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular subscribership exceeds 165 per 100 persons
international: country code - 356; submarine cable connects to Italy; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2008)
 
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2 publicly-owned television stations, Television Malta (TVM) broadcasting nationally and an educational channel; several privately-owned national television stations, two of which are owned by political parties; Italian and British broadcast programs are available; multi-channel cable and satellite TV services are obtainable; publicly-owned radio broadcaster operates 1 station; roughly 20 commercial radio stations operating (2011)
 
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.mt
 
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24,941 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 102
 
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240,600 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 137
 
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Transportation

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1 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 223
 
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total: 1
over 3,047 m: 1 (2010)
 
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total: 3,096 km
country comparison to the world: 164
paved: 2,710 km
unpaved: 386 km (2008)
 
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total: 1,571
country comparison to the world: 4
by type: bulk carrier 522, cargo 377, carrier 1, chemical tanker 280, container 91, liquefied gas 31, passenger 45, passenger/cargo 22, petroleum tanker 141, refrigerated cargo 14, roll on/roll off 30, specialized tanker 2, vehicle carrier 15
foreign-owned: 1,401 (Angola 7, Austria 1, Azerbaijan 1, Bahamas 1, Bangladesh 1, Belgium 14, Bermuda 8, Bulgaria 7, Canada 1, China 11, Croatia 7, Cyprus 29, Denmark 41, Egypt 1, Estonia 16, Finland 2, France 13, Germany 127, Greece 458, Hong Kong 2, India 4, Iran 56, Ireland 1, Israel 5, Italy 52, Japan 5, Kuwait 2, Latvia 11, Lebanon 7, Libya 4, Luxembourg 3, Malaysia 1, Netherlands 2, Nigeria 1, Norway 84, Poland 22, Portugal 3, Romania 8, Russia 47, Singapore 3, Slovenia 4, South Korea 3, Spain 10, Sweden 3, Switzerland 14, Syria 5, Turkey 211, UAE 1, UK 16, Ukraine 30, US 35)
note: this country allows large numbers of ships owned by foreign entities to be registered in its national shipping registry and to fly its flag; these ships operate under the laws of the flag state
registered in other countries: 2 (Panama 2) (2010)
 
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Marsaxlokk (Malta Freeport), Valletta
 
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Military

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Armed Forces of Malta (AFM; includes air and maritime elements) (2010)
 
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17 years 6 months of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2010)
 
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males age 16-49: 95,499
females age 16-49: 90,919 (2010 est.)
 
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males age 16-49: 79,645
females age 16-49: 75,684 (2010 est.)
 
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male: 2,554
female: 2,385 (2010 est.)
 
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0.7% of GDP (2006 est.)
country comparison to the world: 152
 
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Transnational Issues

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none
 
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current situation: Malta is a source and destination country for European women and children subjected to sex trafficking; Malta is likely a destination country for men and women subjected to forced labor, including in restaurants, private households, and in unskilled or semi-skilled labor; Malta may be a transit country for African women subjected to sex trafficking in continental Europe
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - the government demonstrated greater commitment to combat trafficking through national coordination by appointing the country's first anti-trafficking coordinator and anti-trafficking monitoring board; these measures, however, have not yet resulted in concrete improvements to victim identification procedures, victim care systems, effective investigations and prosecutions of trafficking offenders, or targeted prevention activities; victims of trafficking were punished for acts committed during the course of trafficking or deported without proper victim identification (2011)
 
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minor transshipment point for hashish from North Africa to Western Europe
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