1 Maldives signed its first BIT with United Arab Emirates on 17 October 2017. The BIT is yet to come in force. United Arab Emirates issued Federal Decree No. (64) of 2018 ratifying the BIT.
2 Maldives is a member of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC). The member states of OIC, at the Twelfth Islamic Conference held in Baghdad (Iraq) on 1-5 June 1981, established an Agreement on Promotion, Protection and Guarantee of Investments among Member States of the Organization of the Islamic Conference ( 23 September 1986). However, Maldives has not, to date, signed or ratified the Agreement.
3 Maldives is a party to the Agreement on the South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA, 1 January 2006), which does not include an investment chapter.
Maldives signed an FTA with the People’s Republic of China on 7 December 2017; it is not yet in effect. Recent press reports suggest the legislature is unlikely to enact the domestic legislation required to give effect to the FTA. Further, while Maldives has signed and ratified the Framework Agreement of the Trade Preferential System of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (TPS-OIC), it is yet to sign the Protocol on the Preferential Tariff Scheme (PRETAS) and Rules of Origin that, together with the Framework Agreement, form the legal framework of the Trade Preferential System.
4 Maldives does not have an investment treaty regime. Thus for a definition of ‘investor’, Maldives’ domestic investment regime must be consulted.
5 Maldives does not have an investment treaty regime. Thus for a definition of ‘investment’, Maldives’ domestic investment regime must be consulted. An important aspect of the domestic regime is that 100 per cent foreign investment is permitted and foreign investment is permitted in all sectors of the economy, provided a prior approval has been given by the government.
6 The Mandate of the Office of the Attorney General (http://agoffice.gov.mv/en/mandate-2/). The Law No. 25/79, Law on Foreign Investments in the Republic of Maldives (section 3).
7 While there have been no investment treaty awards against the Maldives, it has faced several commercial claims (whether directly or through state-owned corporations). For example: in 2016 an UNCITRAL tribunal ordered Maldives to pay US$270 million to Indian infrastructure group GMR for cancelling a concession to modernise the country’s largest international airport. Also in 2016, Nexbis (now Platinum Blackstone) was awarded US$20 million by a SIAC tribunal against the Maldives arising from Maldives’ alleged non-payments relating to an immigration border control system that gave rise to allegations of corruption. It is also understood that the Maldives paid US$55 million to settle two claims at the Permanent Court of Arbitration brought by a Liechtenstein-registered developer: https://globalarbitrationreview.com/article/1209507/maldives-settles-dispute-with-island-developer.
8 Protections available to an investor must be provided for in the agreement with the government. The agreement in respect of the investment sets out the terms and conditions and the manner of implementation of the investment scheme and programme. According to the Law on Foreign Investment, the government would facilitate all investments which are compliant with the Law on Foreign Investment. A separate legislation, the Law on Doing Business in the Maldives by Foreign Nationals (Law No. 4/79), covers foreign investment in trade (imports and exports) and related services. This also covers the operation of a foreign party or joint venture in wholesale and retail activities.
9 Private property is ‘inviolable’ under the Constitution, and can only be compulsorily acquired by the State under legislation for public benefit and on payment of ‘just compensation’. According to the Law on Foreign Investment, the government may, with or without notice, suspend an investment, either where the investor indulges in an act detrimental to the security of the country or where temporary closure is necessary for national security. If, after due investigation, it cannot be concluded within 60 days of the temporary closure that the foreign investor had indulged in activity detrimental to the security of Maldives, then the government will pay compensation. Capital belonging to an investment that is terminated for the above reasons may be taken out of the country in a manner agreed on by the parties.