Business in Maldives FAQ

Q1. What does the Maldives’ merchandise trade comprise of? And who are the main trade partners?
Q2. What are the main import/export regulatory measures in Maldives?
Q3. Where do I get information on foreign investments in the Maldives?

 

Q1. What does the Maldives’ merchandise trade comprise of? And who are the main trade partners?

The Maldives has an open economy with a narrow export base, the country is heavily import oriented for most of its economic activities. As a result, foreign merchandise trade normally records a large deficit. Imports have averaged around two thirds of GDP in the last 5 years, and domestic exports, consisting primarily of fish and fish products have ranged between 10 to 15 percent of GDP.

Imports: As the Maldives’ economy is heavily import-oriented, the country imports virtually everything such as petroleum products, intermediate and capital goods, foodstuffs, textiles, clothing, etc.

Import partners: Singapore 23%, UAE 19%, India 11%, Malaysia 9%, Sri Lanka 7%.

Exports: Frozen, fresh and processed fish and other marine products.

Export partners: Thailand 22%, Japan 22%, UK 14%, Sri Lanka 15%, Germany 5%.

Exchange rate: Maldivian Rufiyaa is pegged to the US dollar at USD 1.00 = Rf 12.80 (mid rate)

Q2. What are the main import/export regulatory measures in Maldives?

Import Duty: Maldives uses import duties as its main source of tax revenue. At present, ad valorem tariffs are levied on all imports, except on items brought by passengers for personal use, in non commercial quantities.

Import duty is levied on the CIF (Cost + Insurance + Freight) value of the goods. The rate of duty applicable for various items and the detailed procedures for imports are available on www.customs.gov.mv.

Import/Export Licenses: Imports/Exports of goods in commercial quantities require an Import/Export Trade License issued by the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, Maldives. The Ministry issues temporary license for occasional importers.

Temporary Imports through Customs: Upon request, Maldives Customs allows the temporary import of goods and equipments for specific purposes such as trade promotion, scientific research and other professional use. Such imports are allowed for a period of 14 days, after which import duty is required to be paid.

Export Tax: No export duties or taxes are levied on exports except on export of ambergris.

Q3. Where do I get information on foreign investments in the Maldives?

Foreign Investment Services Bureau (FISB) is the government’s agency engaged in promoting, licensing and registering foreign investments in the country. The process of registering a foreign investment, is simple and straightforward. Prospective investors can expect to get their operations under way within 10 days from the day that all the required documentation are submitted to FISB.
Some incentives offered to foreign investors in the Maldives are:

  • No income tax, corporate tax or property tax in the Maldives
  • Legally backed investment guarantee
  • Long term contractual agreements and long term lease of land
  • Freedom to use foreign managerial, technical and unskilled workers
  • No restrictions on the repatriations of earnings or profits

Information about the economy, investing, incentives for investors etc can be obtained from the FISB’s website www.investmaldives.org.

In Malaysia, you can contact the High Commission on Monday to Friday between 9.30 – 4.30pm for further information. You may also register online with us to receive email alerts of business opportunities such as tender notices, business events etc in Maldives.