Maldives Removes Vape Duty Exemption on August 1st

Maldives removes vape duty exemption

The Maldivian government has announced its decision to eliminate duty exemptions on unhealthy products such as vape and energy drinks, as part of a broader effort to streamline customs regulations and promote public health. This move aligns the country’s policies with international health treaties it has signed.

Duty Exemption Removal Takes Effect on August 1st

Deputy Chief Superintendent of Maldives Customs Service Ahmed Niyaz revealed that the government will remove all duty exemption allowances previously granted for the import of vape and energy drinks, starting from August 1st. This change comes as one of two significant amendments to Customs’ general regulations.

Niyaz explained that the removal of duty exemptions goes beyond vape and energy drinks, also affecting cigarettes, other tobacco products, plastic bags, single-use plastics, and land vehicles. He emphasized that the international health treaties Maldives has signed discourage allowing exemptions for products like tobacco.

Government Increases Import Duty Exemption Threshold

Niyaz also announced a second change: an increase in the import duty exemption threshold from MVR 6,000 to MVR 10,000, effective from July 1st, 2023. The government had previously set this threshold at MVR 20,000 two decades ago but reduced it to MVR 6,000 in 2013.

Niyaz cited the need to expedite the clearance of shipments, particularly from popular e-commerce platforms like Shein, as the primary reason for raising the allowance. The increased limit allows customs to clear parcels without opening them or requiring additional documentation, streamlining the process.

However, Niyaz clarified that this exemption does not apply to local businesses, and the government will not grant the allowance if the quantity of items suggests they are intended for commercial purposes.

Government Prioritizes Public Health and International Standards

By removing duty exemptions on unhealthy products like vape and energy drinks, the Maldivian government demonstrates its commitment to promoting public health and aligning with international health standards. The government aims to create a healthier environment for its citizens by discouraging the import and consumption of these products through the elimination of tax benefits.

As the Maldives continues to refine its customs regulations, the government will prioritize striking a balance between public health, economic considerations, and international obligations. The removal of duty exemptions for vape and energy drinks marks a significant step in this direction, setting a precedent for future policy decisions that prioritize the well-being of the Maldivian population.

Source: Duty exemption for vape and energy drinks to be removed

Matthew Ma