To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps her Department is taking to secure a free trade agreement with the Maldives; and what steps she plans to take to ensure that agreement eliminates the 20 per cent tariff on tuna imports from that country.
The United Kingdom is pursuing agreements with a number of trading partners over the next few years already, in an ambitious programme of work, so we are unable to consider a free trade agreement with the Maldives at the present time. We will keep this under review.
The Maldives remains an important partner to the United Kingdom and we are keen to support countries that adopt sustainable fishing methods like the Maldives. My officials are continually exploring opportunities to enhance bilateral trade in important areas, such as food and drink and sustainable development.