2 Oct 2019
MAURITIUS: Free Trade Deal with China Confirmed
The Republic of Mauritius has announced a free trade deal with People’s Republic of China. Both parties will benefit from improved access to each other’s markets, with over 8,000 types of Mauritian products enjoying duty free access to the mainland.
The move was revealed by Republic of Mauritius on 11 September 2019, confirming that it will sign a free trade agreement with the People's Republic of China. This is the first free trade agreement signed between China and an African nation, and will play an important role in guiding future trade deals between African nations and China.
The China-Mauritius Free Trade Agreement (FTA) will comprise 17 chapters, encompassing trade in goods; sanitary and phytosanitary measures; technical barriers to trade; competition issues; intellectual property; e-commerce; trade in services; investment and economic cooperation; among others.
Mauritian companies will enjoy duty free access to the Chinese market for 8,547 products, representing 96% of all Chinese tariff lines. 88% of those tariffs will be eliminated with immediate effect and the remaining tariffs will be removed over a five- to seven-year period.
The agreement will provide significantly improved market access for both countries on products of export interest and with flexible rules of origin. For example, the single transformation rule for the garment sector will allow operators to transform imported fabric into garments for export to China.
The agreement also covers more than 40 service sectors, including financial services, telecommunications, ICT, professional services, construction and health services. Mauritian investors will be able to set up businesses in China as wholly owned entities or in partnership with Chinese operators.
Under the economic cooperation chapter of the agreement, Mauritius and China have agreed to collaborate in ten areas, including industrial development aimed at improving competitiveness; manufacturing based on innovation and research; exchange of specialists and researchers to disseminate know-how and for support in technology and innovation, and the setting up of a renminbi clearing centre in Mauritius.
Talks on the free trade deal were originally launched in December 2017, with negotiations officially finished in 2 September of 2018 when both parties signed a memorandum of understanding to finalise the agreed terms. At the signing, China’s Ministry of Commerce stated that reaching the agreement will not only provide a stronger institutional guarantee for deepening China-Mauritius bilateral economic and trade relations, but also inject new forms and elements into the China-Africa comprehensive strategic partnership.