The United States established diplomatic relations with Maldives in 1966 following its independence from the United Kingdom and has since enjoyed friendly ties. The United States has sought to support Maldives’ ongoing democratic initiatives and economic development agenda and seeks to ensure that Maldives addresses its social and environmental problems. The United States has called on the government to respect and protect freedom of expression and the important role of civil society.
The United States recognizes the importance of promoting security in the Indian Ocean, and U.S. naval vessels have regularly called at Maldives in recent years. Maldives has extended strong support to U.S. efforts to combat terrorism and terrorist financing.
The United States has no consular or diplomatic offices in Maldives. The U.S. Ambassador and many Embassy staff in Sri Lanka are accredited to Maldives and make periodic visits.
U.S. Assistance to Maldives
U.S. foreign assistance resources aim to promote and enhance maritime security, counterterrorism, law enforcement, and counternarcotics cooperation with Maldivian forces and to help the country’s adaptive capacity and resilience to the negative effects of global climate change.
Bilateral Economic Relations
Maldives has signed a trade and investment framework agreement with the United States and held its first meeting in October 2014, providing a forum to examine ways to enhance bilateral trade and investment. Maldives has been designated as a beneficiary country under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program, under which a range of products that Maldives might seek to export would be eligible for duty-free entry to the United States. The GSP program provides an incentive for investors to produce in Maldives and export selected products duty-free to the U.S. market.
Maldives welcomes foreign investment, although the ambiguity of codified law acts as a damper to new investment. Areas of opportunity for U.S. businesses include tourism, construction, and simple export-oriented manufacturing, such as garments and electrical appliance assembly. There is a shortage of local skilled labor, and most industrial labor has to be imported from Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, or elsewhere.
Maldives’s Membership in International Organizations
Maldives and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and World Trade Organization.
Maldives has no embassy in Washington, DC, but its permanent representative to the United Nations in New York is also accredited as ambassador to the United States.