Azopardi named new Minister for Trade, Industry and Telecommunications

Gibraltar's new Minister for Trade, Industry and Telecommunications, with responsibility for the Rock's burgeoning financial services sector, is the Hon. Keith Azopardi. The announcement follows the governing party's recent election victory, which secured it a second term in office. The Gibraltar Social Democrats, led by Peter Caruana QC, who now serves a second four-year term as Chief Minister, secured 58 per cent of the vote with the opposition Socialist Labour/Liberal alliance obtaining 40 per cent.

Mr Azopardi served for four years as Minister for the Environment and Health, and moved to the current key position, in a post-election cabinet reshuffle. His legal training should be a valuable asset in his new responsibilities, particularly in light of new e-commerce legislation which is about to go through the local parliament, the House of Assembly.

The new Minister for Trade, Industry and Telecommunications, who is now also Deputy Chief Minister, obtained a BA (Hons) in Law and History at the University of Keele, and continued his legal studies at the Council of Legal Education, Inns of Court School of Law in London. He was subsequently called to the bar of England and Wales and the Supreme Court of Gibraltar.

Mr Azopardi commented: "I am very pleased to take over the helm at the Department of Trade, Industry and Telecommunications at a time when Gibraltar is prioritising e-commerce and, after a consultative process, will introduce Electronic Commerce legislation. This benchmark piece of legislation, which incorporates the provisions of the relevant EU directives, will provide the legal framework to launch Gibraltar as a high-tech platform for e-commerce.

"Gibraltar is also committed to the liberalisation of telecommunications, and is commissioning a feasibility study on e-commerce possibilities in the region. All these moves will help to place Gibraltar at the forefront of e-commerce developments on the world stage."

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