President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has stated that the administration was currently working on signing free-trade agreements with the United Kingdom and the European Union, in an effort to eliminate the 22% export duty currently being paid for local fisheries products.
The President made this statement while addressing the official function held to mark this year’s Fishermen’s Day. The function was held in Gemanafushi Island of North Huvadhu Atoll.
Continuing on, the President noted that the goal of reducing trade barriers was attainable through strengthened relations and also expressed his hopes that the agreements with will be finalised in the near future.
In his speech, President Solih also highlighted that the premium previously paid for Maldivian tuna is no longer paid, as a result of the changes in the international fisheries market. Speaking in this regard, the President underscored the tremendous amount of work yet to be done to resolve the issues being faced by local fishermen and companies. He also said that deliberations were currently underway with the international partners in this regard.
Further, President Solih emphasised that the administration will not tolerate foreign fishing vessels to illegally enter and fish within the Maldivian maritime territory. He stated that the administration was working on facilitating a better mechanism for local fishermen to directly deal with international buyers.
The Maldives’ Fishermen’s Day is marked on the 10th of December, to recognise the hardworking contributors to the country’s economy. Fishing is the second major industry in the country, after tourism.
At the function held this evening, President Solih presented recognition awards to this year’s recipients. He also held a meeting with the fishermen of Gemanafushi later on, where they shared their concerns with the President.