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Cabinet approves trade pact between India, Mauritius

Union Minister for Environment Prakash Javadekar, Union Minister for Law & Justice, Ravi Shankar Prasad and Union Minister for Women & Child Development Smriti Irani holding a press conference on Cabinet Decisions, in New Delhi on Wednesday. (ANI Photo)Premium
Union Minister for Environment Prakash Javadekar, Union Minister for Law & Justice, Ravi Shankar Prasad and Union Minister for Women & Child Development Smriti Irani holding a press conference on Cabinet Decisions, in New Delhi on Wednesday. (ANI Photo)

  • The CECPA, which is kind of a free trade pact, would cover 310 export items for India, including foodstuff and beverages, agricultural products, base metals, electricals and electronic items

NEW DELHI : The Union Cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Wednesday approved signing of a comprehensive economic cooperation agreement (CECPA) between India and Mauritius to liberalize norms and improve trade between the two nations.

“The Agreement will be signed ... on a mutually convenient date and will come into force from 1st date of the following month," an official statement said. This will be India's first such trade pact with an African nation.

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The CECPA, which is kind of a free trade pact, would cover 310 export items for India, including foodstuff and beverages, agricultural products, textile and textile articles, base metals, electricals and electronic items, plastics and chemicals, wood and its articles, among 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.

Countries enter into such agreements to remove barriers to imports and exports and promote services trade.

Indian service providers will have access to 11 broad sectors of Mauritius such as professional services, computer related services, research and development, other business services, telecommunication, construction, distribution, education, environmental, financial, tourism and travel, transport services, among others.

Similarly, India has offered 11 broad services sectors, including professional services, telecommunication, financial, distribution, higher education, environmental, health, tourism and travel related services, among others.

“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 natural persons, telecom, financial services, customs procedures and cooperation in other areas," the statement said.

Over the last 15 years, India has been one of the largest exporters of goods and services to the island nation. According to the International Trade Centre (ITC), in 2019, the main import partners of Mauritius were India (13.85%), China (16.69%), South Africa (8.07%), and UAE (7.28%).

The bilateral trade between the countries has declined to $690 million in 2019-20 from $1.2 billion in 2018-19. While India's exports to Mauritius in 2019-20 aggregated at $662 million, imports stood at $27.89 million.

“The India-Mauritius CECPA will further cement the already deep and special relations between the two countries," the statement said.

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