India and Mauritius are keen to conclude negotiations on the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation and Partnership Agreement (CECPA) during the present round on the resumption of discussions which opened, this morning, at the Hotel Sofitel Mauritius L’Impérial Resort & Spa, Flic en Flac. This seventh round of talks aims at clearing all outstanding issues so that the CECPA can be signed in January 2019 by both the Indian and Mauritian Prime Ministers in the margin of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas meeting in India.
An Indian delegation led by Mr Keshav Chandra, Joint Secretary, Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, is in Mauritius for the CECPA negotiations which is spanning over five days. The Mauritian side is led by Mr N. Boodhoo, Director, Trade Policy and International Trade, and, comprises representatives from both the Public and Private sectors. Both the Secretary for Foreign Affairs (SFA), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, Ambassador Mrs U. C. Dwarka Canabady, and the High Commissioner of India to Mauritius, Mr Abhay Thakur, were present at the opening ceremony.
Speaking to the press, Ambassador Dwarka Canabady, pointed out that between now and January 2019 there many videoconferencing that will be held over and above the current negotiations since there are several outstanding issues that are still pending.
The SFA indicated that much progress has been made with regards to trade in services. However, she emphasised, as regards market access Mauritius would like to obtain a sizeable market access given that the country has a reduced amount of products and a predictable market access.
According to Ambassador Dwarka Canabady, Mauritius views India as not only a huge market but also one which is expanding and we are not looking at the production capacity of Mauritius but trying to make a projection in the future to see whether the country can produce more and export more. India represents a huge market that is buying more at the global level including Mauritius, she said. So, we have set ourselves high targets and it is in terms of quotas and market access that we would like to see much more happening with India, she added.
For his part, the Indian Joint Secretary, recalled that negotiations on the CECPA are going in the right direction and major ground has been covered during the past last six rounds. The issues which are outstanding will be sorted out shortly with a clear understanding from each country’s position, he remarked.
In addition, Mr Chandra expressed confidence that negotiations will be clinched based on mutual understanding that exists between both sides and also given that India and Mauritius are literally umbilically attached to each other.
It is expected that the CECPA will unlock business opportunities for Mauritian operators, providing access to a market of 1.3 billion people and provide greater certainty to service suppliers and investors. It will cover economic cooperation in more than 20 sectors, including agriculture, manufacturing, research and innovation.
The CECPA has four pillars which form the basis of negotiations, namely trade in goods, trade in services, investment and economic cooperation. Negotiations of the CECPA got stalled in 2006 and negotiations started following the visit of the Indian Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, in Mauritius in 2015.
Source: Government of Mauritius