U.S. Relations With Maldives

Fact Sheet
Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs
February 10, 2014

For the most recently published version of this fact sheet, see //2009-2017.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/.

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. Bilateral relations are friendly. The United States has sought to support Maldives’ ongoing democratic initiatives and economic development agenda and seeks to ensure that Maldives addresses its social and environmental problems. Following the February 2012 transfer of power in Maldives, the United States called on all Maldivian parties to chart a way forward respecting Maldivian democratic institutions, the rule of law, and the will of the Maldivian people.

The United States recognizes the importance of promoting security in the Indian Ocean. 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 has no consular or diplomatic offices in Maldives. The U.S. Ambassador and many Embassy staff in Sri Lanka are accredited to Maldives and make periodic visits.

U.S. Assistance to Maldives

U.S. foreign assistance resources aim to promote and enhance maritime security, counterterrorism, law enforcement, and counternarcotics cooperation with Maldivian forces, and to help the country's adaptive capacity and resilience to the negative effects of global climate change.

Bilateral Economic Relations

Maldives has signed a trade and investment framework agreement with the United States, 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.

Bilateral Representation

The U.S. Ambassador to Maldives is Michele J. Sison, resident in Sri Lanka. Other principal embassy officials are listed in the Department's Key Officers List.

Maldives has no embassy in Washington, DC, but its permanent representative to the United Nations in New York also is accredited 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:

Department of State Maldives Country Page
Department of State Key Officers List
CIA World Factbook Maldives Page
U.S. Embassy: Sri Lanka (Virtual Presence Post - Maldives)
USAID Maldives Page
History of U.S. Relations With Maldives
Human Rights Reports
International Religious Freedom Reports
Trafficking in Persons Reports
Narcotics Control Reports
Investment Climate Statements
U.S. Census Bureau Foreign Trade Statistics
Library of Congress Country Studies
Travel and Business Information