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Mauritius and China sign Free Trade Agreement to promote trade, investment and economic cooperation

Mauritius and China strengthen their bilateral relations with the signature of a Free Trade Agreement. China is one of Mauritius biggest supplier, and the Agreement between the two countries covers trade in goods and services, as well as investment and economic cooperation.

Mauritius and China has signed a Free Trade Agreement on 17th October 2019, both countries willing to ease barriers to trade in goods and services. It is the first Free Trade Agreement China has with an African country, and gives Mauritius access to a market of 1.4 billion customers.

The Free Trade Agreement also covers more than 40 service sectors, including financial services, professional services, education, ICT and telecommunications, tourism, construction, and health services. Mauritius citizens will also be able to establish businesses in China as wholly owned entities and through partnerships with Chinese people.

According to official sources, the agreement will provide Mauritius with duty-free access to about 8,227 products (96% of Chinese tariff lines). China’s exports to Mauritius – which include iron and steel products, textiles, and light industrial products – are will benefit from the Free Trade Agreement. Eventually, China and Mauritius aim to reach zero tariffs on 96.3% and 94.2% of traded items respectively.

The agreement is part of Mauritius’ three-year development strategy to 2021, which aims to reduce the island’s dependence on European countries and fast track its market diversification through economic penetration into ASEAN markets. Mauritius also focuses on reaching out to African, Gulf and Nordic countries.

On the topic of the Economic Cooperation, the Prime Minister’s Office of Mauritius highlighted that the agreement “Mauritius and China have agreed to collaborate in 10 areas, including industrial development to increase competitiveness; to develop manufacturing based on innovation and research; to conduct exchange of specialists; to have an exchange of researchers for disseminating know how and for support in technology and innovation; and to cooperate in the financial sector.”

Moreover, the Free Trade Agreement intends to create new investment opportunities for Chinese business people in Mauritius, as well as the protection of investors and their investments.

The Mauritius-China Free Trade Agreement negotiations were officially launched in December 2017. After four rounds of negotiations, both countries formally concluded negotiations on 2nd September 2018. The Agreement will become operational after its ratification by both countries.

 

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