Maldives and UK set to begin negotiations on free trade agreement

Inside the local fish market in Male' City on April 12, 2021. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

The British government has announced plans to commence an eight-week call for input in preparation of negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the Maldives, inviting business, organizations and individuals to help shape the UK’s negotiating aims with the Maldives.

In the announcement Thursday, UK highlighted that the Maldives is one of the few countries within the Commonwealth that the UK has not pursued a FTA with, or offered preferential market access through an existing trading scheme framework.

The Maldivian President’s Office welcomed the announcement in a statement Thursday afternoon.

President’s Office said that strengthening the competitiveness of the Maldives’ economy and creating favorable market opportunities for local businesses has been a top priority under President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s administration.

“Over the past four years, the Government of Maldives has actively pursued negotiations with the United Kingdom, striving to eliminate the existing 20 percent tariff imposed on our fish exports to the UK,” said the President’s Office.

President’s Office described the announcement as a “significant step” that marks the start of the process to establish a FTA between the Maldives and the UK.

Through the agreement, the Maldivian government seeks to gain preferential treatment to the goods traded to the UK, and unhindered access to its market by elimination of tariffs.

The trade deal is expected to enhance bilateral trade between the Maldives and the UK, opening new avenues of economic growth and prosperity.