Cabinet okays trade deal with Mauritius, the first with an African nation

Illustration: Ajay Mohanty
The Cabinet has approved the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation and Partnership Agreement (CECPA) between India and Mauritius to encourage and improve trade between the two countries.

The Agreement is a limited agreement, which will cover trade in goods, rules of origin, trade in services, technical barriers to trade (TBT), sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures, dispute settlement, movement of persons, telecom, financial services, customs procedures and cooperation in other areas. The CECPA will be the first trade agreement to be signed by India with a country in Africa, information and broadcasting minister Prakash Javadekar said. 

The agreement covers 310 export items for the former, including foodstuff and beverages (80 lines), agricultural products (25 lines), textile and textile articles (27 lines), base metals and articles thereof (32 lines), electrical and electronic item (13 lines), plastics and chemicals (20 lines), wood and articles thereof (15 lines), and others. 

Mauritius will benefit from preferential market access into India for its 615 products, including frozen fish, speciality sugar, biscuits, fresh fruits, juices, mineral water, beer, alcoholic drinks, soaps, bags, medical and surgical equipment, and apparel, Javadekar said.

As regards trade in services, Indian service providers will have access to around 115 sub-sectors from the 11 broad service sectors such as professional services, computer-related services, research & development, other business services, telecommunication, construction, distribution, education, environmental, financial, tourism & travel related, recreational, yoga, audio-visual services, and transport services.

On the other hand, India has offered around 95 sub-sectors from the 11 broad services sectors, including professional services, R&D, other business services, telecommunication, financial, distribution, higher education, environmental, health, tourism and travel related services, recreational services and transport services, he said.

Both sides have also agreed to negotiate an Automatic Trigger Safeguard Mechanism (ATSM) for a limited number of highly sensitive products within two years of the signing of the agreement.

The agreement will be signed on a mutually convenient date and will come into force from first date of the following month.

Mauritius is an important development partner of India. India had extended a ‘special economic package’ of $353 million to Mauritius in 2016. 

Since 2005, India has been among the largest trading partners of Mauritius, and has been one of the largest exporters of goods and services to Mauritius. According to the International Trade Centre (ITC), in 2019, the main import partners of Mauritius were India (13.85 per cent), China (16.69 per cent), South Africa (8.07 per cent), and UAE (7.28 per cent). 

The bilateral trade between India and Mauritius has registered a growth of 233 per cent from $206.76 million in 2005-06 to $690.02 million in 2019-20. 

India’s exports to Mauritius surged 232 per cent from $ 199.43 million in 2005-06 to $662.13 million in 2019-20, while  our imports from Mauritius increased 280 per cent from $7.33 million in 2005-06 to $27.89 million in 2019-20.

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