The Sino-Maldives free trade agreement signed last week authorises Maldivian travel agencies and tour operators to set up shop in three Chinese cities.
Maldivian companies will be able to operate in Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin, newspaper Mihaaru reported, citing a paper shared with parliament by the economic development ministry.
The Maldives will also open up the lucrative tourism service sector to Chinese investors as part of the FTA.
According to Avas, Chinese businesses can operate hotels, restaurants, liveaboards, dive centres and yacht marinas as well as travel agencies and transport services. The Maldives and China committed to open up 64 sectors and 98 sectors, respectively, the online paper reported.
The opposition cried foul after the country’s first FTA was rushed through parliament last month but the government says it will open up the world’s largest consumer market for tariff-free fish exports.
The economic ministry estimates that the government will lose MVR61.6 million (US$4 million) in import duty revenue next year because of waiving tariffs for Chinese goods. However, the government anticipates higher revenue from the goods and services tax due to “trade creation” and “trade expansion” once the FTA comes into force.