NEW DELHI: The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation and Partnership Agreement (CECPA) between India and Mauritius, a agreement which is aimed at liberalising trade between the two countries.The pact, which is a kind of a free trade agreement, will cover 310 export items for India, including foodstuff and beverages, agricultural products, textile, base metals, electricals and electronic items, plastics and chemicals, etc.
In such agreements, the two trading partners cut or eliminate duties on a host of products besides liberalising norms to promote services trade. The pact that has received the Cabinet green light will cover trade in goods, rules of origin, trade in services, Technical Barriers to TradeSanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures, dispute settlement, movement of natural persons, telecom, financial services, customs procedures and cooperation in other areas.
According to the agreement, Mauritius will 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. This instance will be India’s first such trade pact with an African nation.A mutually convenient date will be finalised for signing of the agreement, after which it will be implemented.
Data shows that bilateral trade between the countries had dipped to $690 million in 2019-20 from $1.2 billion in 2018-19. While India’s exports in 2019-20 aggregated to $662 million, imports stood at just $27.89 million. Mauritius imports petroleum products, pharmaceuticals, cereals, cotton, electrical machinery, apparel and clothing accessories, while India’s imports include iron and steel, pearls, precious/semi-precious stones, etc. Mauritius was also the second largest source of foreign direct investment into India in 2019-20, accounting for around $8.24 billion (about Rs 57,785 crore) for the year.