Mauritius and China reiterated their determination towards consolidating economic and trade relations by signing the agreed minutes pertaining to the first round of negotiations on the Mauritius-China Free Trade Agreement (FTA) yesterday at the Maritim Resort & Spa, in Balaclava.

The signatories were the Director of Trade Policy, International Trade Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, Mr Narainduth Boodhoo, and the Head of the Chinese delegation, and Deputy Director General, Ministry of Commerce, Mr Hu Yingzhi.

A delegation of fifteen members from the People’s Republic of China was in Mauritius to initiate negotiations on the first ever FTA between both countries and to take stock of the points that were agreed upon during the discussions. Documents were also exchanged between the Mauritian and Chinese delegations so as to determine the position of both countries regarding the possibilities arising with the implementation of the FTA.

In his statement, Mr Boodhoo, underlined that the discussions have been fruitful and constructive in gauging the discrepancies and gaps existing between the two sides with regards to the FTA. The two delegations had the opportunity to exchange views on the four aspects of the Agreement, namely: trade in goods, trade in services, investment possibilities, and economic cooperation but the main focus of this first round of discussions was on ‘trade in goods’, he pointed out.

A Joint Feasibility Study was finalised in May 2017 after which negotiations discussing the framework agreement kick-started, he recalled. Now, the following step, he emphasised, will be to complete detailed negotiations relating to market access of both countries after rigorous internal consultations. The next meeting will be held in Beijing during which both countries will proceed to the official exchange of requests regarding market access, Mr Boodhoo announced.

For his part, the Head of the Chinese delegation, Mr Hu Yingzhi, highlighted that the FTA will strengthen and expand the scope of economic cooperation between Mauritius and China as well as eliminate trade barriers. The ability of both countries to share views and negotiate, clearly demonstrates the longstanding cooperation and friendly relations that they have been sharing since 1972, he stated.

The Deputy Director General also underscored that both sides were successful in developing common grounds but more efforts will be required as regards flexibility in the level of their expectations. The first round of negotiations, he pointed out, have already laid the foundation for Mauritius-China economic, trade and investment relations in the coming years.

Source: Government of Mauritius