The United States established diplomatic relations with Maldives in 1966 following its independence from the United Kingdom and has since enjoyed friendly ties. The U.S. has sought to support Maldives’ ongoing democratic initiatives, judicial reform, counterterrorism efforts, economic development, and social and environmental ambitions.
U.S. Assistance to Maldives
U.S. foreign assistance resources aim to strengthen democratic institutions, civil society, fiscal transparency, maritime security, counterterrorism, and law enforcement. Secretary Pompeo committed nearly $10 million in Economic Support Funds in February 2019 during Maldivian Foreign Minister Shahid’s visit to Washington, DC. During the 2020 COVID-19 crisis, the U.S. has provided $2 million in assistance to Maldives to date to support the expansion of social-protection services led by local civil-society organizations and assist them to advocate effectively for COVID recovery policies. The U.S. is also providing $7 million in foreign military financing under the Bay of Bengal Initiative.
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.