Nasheed: Duty on Maldivian fisheries exports to UK to be halted within two months

A fisherman holds his catch on a boat. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

Parliament Speaker, former President Mohamed Nasheed, on Wednesday, stated that the duty imposed by UK on Maldivian fisheries exports to the country will be halted within the next two months.

In a tweet on Wednesday night, Nasheed said that the information was relayed to him by several senior UK government officials who are his friends.

“Two halt duty imposed on Maldivian fisheries exports to UK within the next two months at the latest. This is joyous news. This is being done by the significant efforts of UK officials who wish well for the Maldives,” his tweet read.

In an interview to Morning Trade UK during his official visit to the country in late October – Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid said that Maldives has exported fish worth over USD 10 million to the UK this year and it was a punishment to this small island nation by charging a 20 percent tariff on all kinds of fisheries products.

The foreign minister expressed hope in the interview that an agreement can be reached regarding tariffs in light of the talks he held with UK’s Foreign Secretary James Cleverly and other cabinet ministers.

Maldives is the only small-island nation from Commonwealth members which UK charges tariffs from exports. Countries in similar conditions as the Maldives has been provided easements or exemptions through different arrangements.

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, in later November, held discussions with a delegation of European Union (EU) ambassadors on easing the tariffs that EU nations have imposed on the Maldives' fisheries sector exports.  The delegation was in the Maldives to attend the sixth ‘Maldives-EU Policy Dialogue’, during which the same request was reiterated.