flag Maldives Maldives: Trade Profile

Foreign Trade in Figures

The Maldives, which is composed of 1,200 islands, depends heavily on trade. Foreign trade represented 118% of the GDP in 2020 (World Bank, 2022). The state budget relies primarily on revenues from import duties. Therefore, tariffs are relatively high (the average applied tariff rate is 18.4%). However, as part of its trade policy, the government has removed quotas for the majority of products, and customs procedures have been simplified (obtaining an import licence is almost automatic). Total Imports of Goods and Services represented 34.2% of GDP in 2020, while Exports of Goods and Services represented 5.3% of GDP (WTO and World Bank, 2021).

Fish products account for almost the entirety of Maldivian exports (84.7% in 2020), while imports are led by hydrocarbons (5.8%), electrical and broadcasting equipment (2.9%), and aeroplanes (1.9%) (Comtrade, 2020). Thailand is the major destination for exports (30.1% in 2020), followed by France and Germany at 10.7% each, India (8%) and Italy (4.3%). For what concerns imports, China (19.7%), India (14.2%), the United Arab Emirates (13.5%) and Singapore (11.7%) are the major countries of origin in 2020 (OEC, 2022). The State Trading Organisation (STO) remains the country's largest importer, but the government is seeking to include more private partners.

The country possesses few raw materials and, as such, relies heavily on imported oil and finished products. As a result, the Maldives imports much more than it exports, which creates a structural trade deficit. According to WTO, in 2020, the Maldives exported USD 214 million worth of goods and services and imported USD 1.38 billion, resulting in a global negative trade balance of USD 1.16 billion (WTO, World Bank, 2022). Maldives recorded a trade deficit of 259.50 million USD in December of 2021 (Maldives Monetary Authority, 2022).

 
Foreign Trade Indicators 20162017201820192020
Imports of Goods (million USD) 2,1002,3602,9602,8881,839
Exports of Goods (million USD) 210318339361286
Imports of Services (million USD) 9981,2791,3281,326707
Exports of Services (million USD) 2,8732,9643,2373,3731,513
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 108130n/a
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 97106n/a
Trade Balance (million USD) -1,839-1,908-2,425-2,392n/a
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 149152154147n/a
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 77798478n/a
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 72727069n/a

Source: WTO – World Trade Organisation ; World Bank - Latest available data.

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Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
2021
Thailand 46.4%
Germany 11.4%
United Kingdom 6.8%
France 4.1%
India 3.9%
See More Countries 27.4%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2021
Oman 13.1%
United Arab Emirates 13.0%
China 12.6%
India 12.4%
Singapore 10.2%
See More Countries 38.8%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data

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Main Products

0.2 bn USD of products exported in 2021
Frozen fish (excl. fish fillets and other fish...Frozen fish (excl. fish fillets and other fish meat of heading 0304) 52.1%
Prepared or preserved fish; caviar and caviar...Prepared or preserved fish; caviar and caviar substitutes prepared from fish eggs 21.3%
Fish fillets and other fish meat, whether or not...Fish fillets and other fish meat, whether or not minced, fresh, chilled or frozen 11.9%
Fish, fresh or chilled (excl. fish fillets and...Fish, fresh or chilled (excl. fish fillets and other fish meat of heading 0304) 4.4%
Ferrous waste and scrap; remelting scrap ingots of...Ferrous waste and scrap; remelting scrap ingots of iron or steel (excl. slag, scale and other waste from the production of iron or steel; radioactive waste and scrap; fragments of pigs, blocks or other primary forms of pig iron or spiegeleisen) 3.5%
See More Products 6.8%
2.6 bn USD of products imported in 2021
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 17.1%
Telephone sets, incl. telephones for cellular...Telephone sets, incl. telephones for cellular networks or for other wireless networks; other apparatus for the transmission or reception of voice, images or other data, incl. apparatus for communication in a wired or wireless network [such as a local or wide area network]; parts thereof (excl. than transmission or reception apparatus of heading 8443, 8525, 8527 or 8528) 2.3%
Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed...Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed products for therapeutic or prophylactic uses, put up in measured doses "incl. those in the form of transdermal administration" or in forms or packings for retail sale (excl. goods of heading 3002, 3005 or 3006) 1.6%
Parts of aircraft and spacecraft of heading 8801...Parts of aircraft and spacecraft of heading 8801 or 8802, n.e.s. 1.4%
Insulated "incl. enamelled or anodised" wire,...Insulated "incl. enamelled or anodised" wire, cable "incl. coaxial cable" and other insulated electric conductors, whether or not fitted with connectors; optical fibre cables, made up of individually sheathed fibres, whether or not assembled with electric conductors or fitted with connectors 1.3%
See More Products 76.3%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data

 

To go further, check out our service Import Export Flows

 
 

Main Services

3.2 bn USD of services exported in 2017
87.05%
9.20%
3.19%
0.30%
0.26%
1.3 bn USD of services imported in 2017
25.84%
23.77%
23.36%
11.82%
5.90%
3.77%
3.73%
1.03%
0.73%
0.05%

Source: United Nations Statistics Division, Latest Available Data

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Commercial Policy

International Economic Cooperation
Member of World Trade Organisation
Member of South Asian Association for Regional Corporation (SAARC)
Assessment of Commercial Policy
Country’s commercial policy
Average Customs Duty (Excluding Agricultural Products)
22.94%
 
 

Trade Compliance

International Conventions
Member of World Trade Organisation
International Economic Cooperation
Member of South Asian Association for Regional Corporation (SAARC)
Useful Resources
The national customs website
National Organisation of Intellectual Property
You can contact the Intellectual Property Unit by Email.
 
 
 

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Latest Update: October 2022