Maldives to ease trade barriers with India

The government will ease trade barriers with India to promote trade between the two countries and accelerate foreign investment. Foreign Minister Ahmed Shaheed is currently leading a delegation in India to facilitate trade.

Indian financial newspaper Business Standard claimed Indian companies, including Tata, Suzlon, GMR, Apollo Hospitals and Oberoi, could invest as much as US$1 billion in the Maldives and significantly boost the country’s economy.

The Standard also reported that the Maldives foreign ministry will increase the leasing periods for resort development to 50 years and reduce the base rent in a bid to promote foreign investment in the hospitality sector.

Ahmed Naseem, state minister for foreign affairs said “many items that are traded between countries in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) will have tariffs eased on them, and this will make trade between the countries easier.”

Indian High Commissioner to the Maldives, Dnyaneshwar Mulay, said such a move would benefit the Maldivian economy.

“The lower tariffs will make exports and imports cheaper and make the market more competitive,” he said, adding that such a deal would also encourage the Maldives to increase its own exports.