Maldives and India in Talks for New Free Trade Agreement

President Muizzu and Prime Minister Modi meeting at the sidelines of COP28 WCAS in Dubai. Photo" Randhir Jaiswal

Minister of Economic Development and Trade, Mohamed Saeed, announced yesterday that negotiations with India are underway to establish a new Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

During a press conference, Saeed revealed that India has initiated discussions to create a bilateral trade agreement with the Maldives, in addition to the existing South Asian Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA).

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“India is keen on establishing an FTA with the Maldives, complementing SAFTA. The President has extended this opportunity to all interested nations,” Saeed stated.

The proposed FTA is expected to build on previous Indian concessions offered to the Maldives on various products.

Saeed emphasized the government’s ambition to secure trade agreements with multiple countries to facilitate smoother trade operations.

President Dr Mohamed Muizzu’s recent visit to Turkey resulted in a preliminary agreement to establish an FTA with Turkey. Saeed mentioned that a few more meetings are needed to finalise this agreement, which aims to benefit exporters of fish products to Turkey.

“Currently, high tariffs are imposed on imports, including yellowfin and skipjack tuna. Significant changes are expected in these areas,” Saeed noted.

Efforts are being made to reduce tariffs on exports to zero percent, Saeed added.

Additionally, the Minister highlighted the government’s intention to enhance trade relations under the existing FTA with the UK, particularly focusing on the financial sector.

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