Minister Shahid hopeful on exempting tariffs on tuna exported by Maldives to UK

Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulla Shahid expressed grievances on UK’s hefty tariffs on the tuna exported by the Maldives and stated the UK and Maldives should come into an agreement to slice the tariff charges.

Minister Shahid dissents UK’s tuna tariffs, stated Maldives is being ‘punished’

In an interview with UK’s ‘Morning Today’, Minister Shahid noted UK is ‘punishing a small island state’ by imposing 20% duty on tuna exports. Noting that Maldives exported USD 10 million worth tuna exports to the UK this year, Minister said the number would inevitably increase without the heavy tariff charges.

Solidifying the sentiment, Minister Shahid noted ‘sustainable practices’ is a famous phrase in the global community and Maldives maybe be the only country that practices sustainable fishing. He noted the Maldivian fishers catch one fish at a time, and the ban on cast net fishing in the Maldivian waters was imposed to save marine life. The oceans are the lifeblood of Maldives and the small island nations, he said.

Minister pointed out that it is not practicing what is preached when a ‘punishment’ of 20% duty is levied on a small country that relies on two industries – tourism and fishing – while at the same time the world is deliberating on sustainable protection of the environment, oceans and biodiversity.

Minister Shahid said it is an injustice by imposing tariffs on a country that has progressed on the path of development and used the aid money well. However, after meetings with Foreign Secretary James Cleverley and other ministers, there is hope that an agreement can be reached, he said.

Maldives is the only small island country in the Commonwealth that UK has levied tariffs on goods imported into the UK. Other small island countries in the same situation as Maldives have been exempted taxes through various arrangements.