Maldives ambassador to UK calls for leniency on fish tariffs

Maldives Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Dr. Farahanaz Faisal has called on the UK government for leniency on the tariffs imposed on Maldivian fish products.

Speaking as a panelist at the 'Restoring Our Blue Planet' conference held in the UK, Dr. Farahanaz said a 20 percent duty tariff is imposed on Maldivian fish products exported to the UK. While the UK advocates for sustainable fishing, the Maldives has always been exemplary in practicing sustainable fishing, said the minister. However, from among the Commonwealth countries, the Maldives is subjected to one of the highest tariffs, noted the ambassador.

Speaking further at the conference organized by the Conservative Environment Network and the Marine Conservative Society, Ambassador Farahanaz appealed to the UK government to decrease the tariff imposed on Maldivian fish products.

When the small island archipelago was listed under Least Developed Countries (LDC), the tariffs imposed on fish exports were not applicable under EU's Generalised System of Preference. The Generalized System of Preferences, or GSP, is a preferential tariff system which provides tariff reduction on various products. 40% of Maldivian fish exports were to Europe at the time. However, after Maldives graduated from from Least Developed Countries (LDC) to the developing countries list in 2013, the country lost its GSP benefits.

Maldives is one of the top exporters of yellow fin tuna to the United Kingdom. After the UK left the European Union, a 24 percent tariff was imposed on exports to the UK. The tariff was decreased to 20 percent on the request of the Maldives government. The Maldivian government continues to request for further leniencies.

A delegation from the Maldives recently traveled to Brussels, Belgium to discuss EU-imposed tarrifs on fish products. The delegation met with EU's Director General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries to discuss easing the current tarrifs.