Cabinet approves trade pact between India, Mauritius


New Delhi: The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved signing of a comprehensive economic cooperation agreement, a kind of a free trade pact, between India and Mauritius which is aimed at liberalising norms to boost two-way commerce.

The Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the signing of the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation and Partnership Agreement (CECPA) between India and Mauritius, an official statement said.

The 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.

Mauritius would benefit from preferential market access into India for 615 products, including frozen fish, speciality sugar, biscuits, fresh fruits, juices, mineral water, beer, alcoholic drinks, soaps, bags, medical and surgical equipment, and apparel.

In such an agreement, two trading partners cut or eliminate duties on a host of products besides liberalising norms to promote services trade.

A mutually convenient date would be finalised for signing of the agreement, after which it will be implemented. It would be India’s first such trade pact with an African nation.

The pact would 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 bilateral trade between the countries has been dipped to USD 690 million in 2019-20 from USD 1.2 billion in 2018-19. While India’s exports in 2019-20 aggregated at USD 662 million, the imports stood at USD 27.89 million.

India exports petroleum products, pharmaceuticals, cereals, cotton and electrical machinery, apparel and clothing accessories to Mauritius. The island nation’s exports to New Delhi include iron and steel, pearls, precious/semi-precious stones and optical, photographic and precision instruments.

Mauritius was the second top source of foreign direct investment (FDI) into India in 2019-20. India received USD 8.24 billion (about Rs 57,785 crore) foreign inflows from that country in the last fiscal.