Maldives and UAE sign customs agreement

The Maldives has signed a customs agreement with its largest trade partner, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which will result in enhanced bilateral cooperation.

The MoU signed yesterday will involve the exchange of data and expertise on consignments, customs policies, and general capacity building as well as cooperation to ensure the security of international supply chains.

The Commissioner General of Maldives Customs Service, Ahmed Mohamed, signed the agreement with Acting Director-General of Federal Customs Authority (FCA), Khalid Ali Al Bustani in Dubai.

Ahmed Mohamed expressed his confidence that the MOU will enable Maldives customs to translate the experience of its UAE counterparts for valuable use as the Maldives works to modernise its operations both in trade facilitation and customs enforcement.

29 percent of the Maldives imports came from the UAE in 2013, making the country the Maldives’ largest source of goods.

UAE authorities reported that two-way trade between the Maldives and the UAE reached AED943 (US$256 million) between 2009 and 2013 – 1.7 percent of which represented exports from the Maldives to the emirates.

The Maldives spends 30 percent of its GDP on importing fossil fuels – with make up around 90 percent of the UAE’s trade – with US$486 million on oil imports in 2012.

The figure is estimated to increase to US$ 700 million by 2020, although the current government is seeking foreign investors for the resumption of oil exploration projects in the Maldives.

As an island nation heavily dependent on imports, the Maldives Monetary Authority’s latest balance of payments projections estimate that the country’s current account deficit will widen to US$562.5 million in 2014, which is equal to 22 percent of GDP.

During the visit to Dubai, the commissioner general along with the accompanying delegates is scheduled to visit Rashed Port, Airport of Dubai, and Jebel Ali Port to witness and learn from the best practices of the UAE, said a Maldives Customs Service press release.