Mauritius: The Mauritius-China Economic Cooperation Forum comes at an opportune time as we will soon be celebrating two years since the entry into force of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Mauritius and China. The signing, ratification and implementation of this major agreement is an essential element of Government’s trade openness strategy.
The Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, Dr Renganaden Padayachy, stated yesterday at the Hilton Mauritius Resort & Spa Hotel during the official opening ceremony of the Mauritius-China Economic Cooperation Forum.
The Ambassador of People’s Republic of China to Republic of Mauritius, Mr Zhu Liying, the Chief Executive of the Economic Development Board (EDB), Mr Ken Poonoosamy, and other personalities were also at this event, which was organised by the EDB, in partnership with the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Republic of Mauritius.
Minister Padayachy highlighted that with the removal of customs duties on 7,500 tariff lines, Mauritian operators now have access to a market of 1.4 billion consumers. Since the entry into force of the FTA between Mauritius and China on 01 January 2021, he pointed out; several major export contracts have been honoured under the agreement.
He underlined that goods shipped to China and accompanied by a Mauritius-China FTA certificate of origin include textiles as well as food products, such as tea, sugar and tuna. The impact of the FTA between Mauritius and China is already visible and clearly quantifiable as Mauritian exports to China have increased by 54% in 2021 compared to 2020, he stated.
This, he added, demonstrates the success and growth potential that this agreement can have on the local industry, with positive ripple effects on jobs, growth and investment.
Furthermore, the Finance Minister reminded us that Mauritius and China are engaged in a number of complementary initiatives that will deepen our economic collaboration and accelerate the development of trade between the two countries. For instance, he observed, the Bank of Mauritius is currently working on the establishment of a Renminbi Clearing Centre in partnership with the People’s Bank of China. This Centre, according to him, will be officially unveiled in the coming days.
In addition, Dr Padayachy stressed that the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, coupled with our advantages in terms of ease of doing business, political stability, regulatory reliability and availability of professional skills, Mauritius is the platform of choice to facilitate cross-border trade and investment between China and the African continent. He affirmed that the Mauritius-China cooperation could only promote the growth of our economy and its pivotal role in the benefit of the region.
For his part, the Chinese Ambassador provided some insights and ideas on the innovative Mauritius-China cooperation so as to not only seize but also create opportunities for both countries.
According to him, there is a need to further expand the commercial dimensions; raise the level of infrastructure cooperation; strengthen cooperation in finance and investment; create projects in the green, blue and digital economies; and further develop tourism.
He also recalled that one year after the entry into force of the FTA between Mauritius and China, the volume of bilateral trade has grown by 25.8% as compared to the previous year. He indicated that Mauritian exports to China increased by 35.1%, while its overall export growth was 15.8%. It is fair to say that the China-Mauritius FTA is a source of business opportunities and an engine of economic development for both countries, he added.