More information about Maldives is available on the Maldives Page and from other Department of State publications and other sources listed at the end of this fact sheet.
The United States established diplomatic relations with Maldives in 1966 following its independence and has since enjoyed friendly ties. The United States has sought to support Maldives’ ongoing democratic initiatives, economic development, and social and environmental ambitions.
The United States recognizes the importance of promoting security in the Indian Ocean and has worked closely with Maldives on a range of security-related issues, including counterterrorism. The United States and Maldives signed the “Framework for U.S. Department of Defense-Maldives Ministry of Defence Defense and Security Relationship” in September 2020.
The U.S. Mission to Maldives, which is currently based in Colombo, Sri Lanka, operates an American Center in Malé and is in the process of establishing a physical embassy in Maldives.
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. The Department 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 nearly $3 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. Since 2018, the U.S. has provided $10.8 million in Foreign Military Financing under the Bay of Bengal Initiative, in support of Maldives’ maritime security capacity.
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.
Principal embassy officials are listed in the Department’s Key Officers list.
There is currently no Maldives Embassy in Washington, DC, but its permanent representative to the United Nations in New York is accredited currently as ambassador to the United States.
More information about Maldives is available from the Department of State and other sources, some of which are listed here:
U.S. Mission Maldives on Twitter
U.S. Mission Maldives Instagram
U.S. Mission Maldives Facebook
CIA World Factbook
Permanent Mission of the Republic of Maldives to the United Nations