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 from the United Kingdom 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 U.S. naval vessels have regularly called at Maldives in recent years. Maldives has extended strong support to U.S. efforts to combat terrorism and terrorist financing.
The United States does not have a consulate or embassy in Maldives currently but operates an American Center in Malé. The U.S. Ambassador and Embassy staff in Sri Lanka are accredited to Maldives and make regular visits.
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.
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.
The U.S. Ambassador to Maldives is Alaina B. Teplitz, resident in Sri Lanka. Other 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:
CIA World Factbook Maldives Page
USAID Maldives Page
History of U.S. Relations With Maldives
U.S. Census Bureau Foreign Trade Statistics
Library of Congress Country Studies