India has signed the first Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Mauritius, the first such agreement with the African republic. Identified as the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation and Partnership Agreement (CECPA), the landmark Deal will enhance international trade relations.
Mauritius exporters will benefit from exclusive access to the Indian market and Indian companies will be able to grow within the Mauritius market. Overall, CECPA will allow preferential market access to 615 tariff lines for Mauritius and 310 tariff lines for India.
The India-Mauritius CECPA is broad-based and covers a wide range of areas, including trade in commodities, trade in services, non-tariff measures and technological barriers to trade, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, trade facilitation, finance, technical legislation, customs processes, rules of origin, dispute resolution, trade remedies, etc.
The Historic Trade Agreement also encompasses bilateral trade services, including commercial services, educational services, communications, construction, environmental services, delivery services, financial, health and social services, leisure, cultural and sports services, transport services and travel and tourism services.
CECPA would offer a gateway for Indian exporters and companies to extend their investment and commercial activities in the African continent.
Tariff breaks on frozen fish, biscuits, fresh fruit, juices, mineral water, specialty sugar, soaps, beer and other alcoholic beverages, medical supplies, and other items will support Mauritius. Mauritius will have exclusive access to the Indian market and will be able to sell 40,000 tons of sugar, 7.5 million pieces of clothing, 1.5 million liters of rum and 2 million liters of beer per year. In terms of trade in services, India will give Mauritius access to 95 sub-sectors of its 11 large service sectors.
The trade deal has been India's first such arrangement since 2011. Announcing the signing at Port Louis, Indian Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar said that the CECPA "will provide a timely boost to the revival of our post-Covid economies and will also allow Indian investors to use Mauritius as a launch pad for continental African market expansion, allowing Mauritius to emerge as a 'Hub of Africa'." He further elaborated that since the services sector contributes 76% of Mauritius' GDP, CECPA could encourage Indian investment in the services sector of the country.
India had flown 100,000 doses of Made-in-India VOCID vaccine to Mauritius in January and handed over another 100,000 doses. Jaishankar said the distribution of the vaccine was a "clear and telling demonstration" of the bilateral relationship.
The two countries have signed a US$100 million Defense Line of Credit (LOC) deal, which is intended to assist Mauritius in obtaining defense properties from India. India will also lease the Dornier aircraft and the Advanced Light Helicopter Dhruv (HAL Dhruv) to Mauritius free of charge for a term of two years, which will allow the nation to better patrol and track its extensive maritime domain.
High-sea security is important, among other items, for smooth foreign trade, and India seeks to be an influential provider of maritime peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region. Via the deal, Mauritius will act as India's main security partner in the country.