Maldives, India sign MoU to expedite customs procedures

Chairman of Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) of India M. Ajit Kumar (L) with Commissioner General of Maldives Customs Service Abdulla Shareef (R) captured at MoU signing ceremony held on July 22, 2021. (Photo/Maldives Customs)

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed today between India and Maldives for cooperation in exchange of pre-arrival information for the facilitation of trade and customs control on goods.

Chairman of Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) of India M. Ajit Kumar signed the MoU on behalf of India. Commissioner General of Maldives Customs Service Abdulla Shareef signed on behalf of Maldives.

This MoU will provide a framework for the exchange of pre-arrival information contained in customs documents submitted at the time of export – to effectively reduce the time consumed by Customs in their procedures and optimize forms and methods of customs control on goods.

The data exchange will also enhance the overall efficiency of customs administrations on both sides and deliver significant benefits in terms of better facilitation of trade, security of the supply chain and revenue collection.

In a statement made today, Maldives Customs detailed that the healthy bilateral ties maintained between India and Maldives under the leadership of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have significantly paved the way to strengthen trade and commercial ties between the two countries.

In this regard, they highlight the commencement of direct cargo services between the countries in September 2020 – that led India to become the second-largest trade partner of the Maldives in last year. This is a three-rank improvement compared to its rank as the fifth in 2019.

Maldives Customs also noted the benefits heeded by the Maldives from the upswing in trade ties with India – highlighting the steep rise in exported products over the period of January to June this year.

Moreover, India has recently renewed and increased quotas to provide nine essential commodities to the Maldives as part of the existing mechanism set up in 1981 between to two countries to ensure food security and the supply of construction materials to the Maldives. This is the highest approved quantity since the arrangement was made in 1981 – alongside an increase of 15% in the quotas of essential commodities.

Maldives Customs also highlighted the cooperation between the two countries in human resource development. In this regard they note the cooperation extended to the sphere of Customs such as the ‘MoU on Cooperation in Customs Capacity Building’ signed in 2019 in addition to the training programs Maldivian Customs Officials had underdone in India prior to the pandemic. Customs Officials have also been taking part in online training courses conducted by India since November 2020.