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Doing Business in the Maldives

Exporting to Maldives

President Obama announced the National Export Initiative (NEI) two years ago, with the goal of doubling exports by 2014. U.S. embassies are committed to supporting U.S. companies to start exporting or grow their exports. In this section, you’ll find a quick description of Maldives as an export market and some suggestions for getting started.

Getting Started

Most exporters find using local distributors an easy first step for entering the Maldives market.  Generally, this is the best method to successfully compete domestically as local firms are well versed in local business practices.  Many foreign firms select local agents on the basis of financial stability and technical capability.  Due diligence on suitability of a potential agent/distributor is essential prior to entering the local market. 

Potential investors should first initiate discussions with the Ministry of Economic Development prior to establishing a company or a liaison office in the Maldives.  One-hundred-percent foreign ownership is allowed with certain exceptions.  The list of the regulated areas where foreign ownership is limited or requires approval of the statutory agencies can be obtained at http://www.trade.gov.mv/?lid=207

Visit the export.gov page on Maldives to get an overview of economic conditions and opportunities.  Access the U.S. Commercial Service Market Research Library containing more than 100,000 industry and country-specific market reports, authored by our specialists working in overseas posts.

The Library Includes: 

  • Country Commercial Guide, Maldives – March 2012
  • Investment Climate Report
  • The International Partner Search (IPS), International Company Profile (ICP) and Gold Key services provided by the Department of Commerce are available through the Embassy for U.S.  companies looking to appoint a local representative in Maldives.  Interested companies should contact the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Export Assistance Centers in their respective states. 
  1. Contact your local U.S. Export Assistance Center for advice and support on exporting to Maldives. U.S. Commercial Service (FCS) has many services to help US exporters interested in entering into the Maldivian market. Contact a Trade Specialist Near You.
  2. Contact your local Small Business Development Center (SBDCs).  Starting a business can be a challenge, but there is help for you in your area. Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) are partnerships primarily between the government and colleges/universities administered by the Small Business Administration and aims at giving educational services for small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs.
  3. Contact in-country business support organizations such as the Maldives National Chamber of Commerce (MNCCI), and Maldives Tourism Development Corporation.

Investing in Maldives

Potential investors: Getting Started. 

If you are considering investment in Maldives here are some steps you may wish to consider as you get started:

  • Register with the U.S. Embassy – If you are planning a visit to consider investment, let us know by sending an email to the contact addresses on this page.
  • Visit host country resources, such as the Ministry of Economic Development in Maldives  

  • Contact local U.S. business support organizations, organizations such as the

Maldives National Chamber of Commerce (MNCCI)
Maldives Tourism Development Corporation.

Subscribe to our embassy Facebook page  or Twitter feed  

Current investors: Staying Connected.

If you are a current U.S. investor in Maldives, the U.S Embassy wants to stay in touch. Here are a few steps you can take to keep the channels of communication open:

  • Register with the U.S. Embassy – If you are active in Maldives, let us know by sending an email to the contact addresses on this page.
  • Add us to your mailing lists – we are always happy to stay informed
  • Subscribe to our embassy Facebook page or Twitter feed
  • Set up a meeting with our economic or commercial team to discuss any issues that arise

Working in Maldives

Business Visas

For information on obtaining a business visa to visit Maldives, contact the Maldives Embassy . Additional information on business visas can be found here http://www.trade.gov.mv/?lid=211

Travel

Make sure to check the current State Department travel advisory for Maldives

FCPA

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) is an important anti-corruption tool designed to discourage corrupt business practices in favor of free and fair markets.  The FCPA prohibits promising, offering, giving or authorizing giving anything of value to a foreign government official where the purpose is to obtain or retain business.  These prohibitions apply to U.S. persons, both individuals and companies, and companies that are listed on U.S. exchanges. The statute also requires companies publicly traded in the U.S. to keep accurate books and records and implement appropriate internal controls.   

More information on the FCPA can be found here:  http://www.fcpa.us/

A party to a transaction seeking to know whether a proposed course of conduct would violate the FCPA can take advantage of the opinion procedure established by the statue.  Within 30 days of receiving a description of a proposed course of conduct in writing, the Attorney General will provide the party with a written opinion on whether the proposed conduct would violate the FCPA.  Not only do opinions provide the requesting party with a rebuttable presumption that the conduct does not violate the FCPA, but DOJ publishes past opinions which can provide guidance for other companies facing similar situations.

More information on the DOJ opinion procedure can be found here: http://www.morganlewis.com/documents/fcpa/FCPAOpinionProcedureReleases.pdf

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