Mauritius reiterates its commitment to bolster trade & investment with China
The Economic Development Board in collaboration with the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT), organised a Business Forum themed “Embracing Closer Economic and Trade Ties” on 23rd July 2019.
The Chairperson of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT), Ms. Gao Yan, led a high-level business delegation comprising 40 representatives of various sectors, namely construction & infrastructure, IT and tourism to Mauritius from 21st to 25th July 2019. The event was attended by 150 economic operators and the business community.
During her address, Ms. Gao Yan emphasised that Mauritius & China shared a profound and deep-rooted relationship based on shared values, which dates back 200 years. The bilateral and diplomatic relationship has been further cemented with the visit of President Xi Jinping to Mauritius in 2018 and participation of the Prime Minister, Honourable Pravind Jugnauth in the FOCAC Summit in September 2018. Ms. Gao Yan highlighted that China remains the largest trading partner and source of import of Mauritius with trade volume surging to USD 800 million, representing a 7.3% increase in 2018. Moreover, she underlined that the signing of a Free Trade Agreement will be a milestone for expanding economic & trade as well as create new business prospects for China and Africa.
To broaden the scope of bilateral cooperation & give a further impetus to business opportunities, Ms. Gao Yan, proposed three suggestions namely:
Spur investment in innovative industries
She commended the remarkable economic progress of Mauritius and called for Chinese companies to invest in innovative industries such as the marine economy, telecommunication, and high-end manufacturing industries.
Drive investment into Africa through the Mauritius International Financial Centre (MIFC)
Ms. Gao Yan stressed that both sides may deepen their cooperation by leveraging on the robustness of the MIFC and use this platform for supporting trade and construction projects in Mauritius & Africa.
Propel Tourism and intensify people-to-people exchanges
In 2018, the number of Chinese outbound tourists has hit 140 million-mark, positioning China as the largest outbound tourist market in the world.
On the other hand, His Excellency, Mr. Sun Gonyi, Chinese Ambassador to Mauritius has extolled the strong Sino Mauritian relationship which has remained firm despite a dynamic and ever-changing international business climate. He stated that the FTA will be mutually beneficial for both countries and will support multilateralism and globalism of the economy.
In the keynote address, Honourable Nandocoomar Bodha, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration & International Trade has highlighted that negotiations on the Mauritius-China Free Trade Agreement has been concluded at the FOCAC Summit which marks an important milestone in our bilateral relations. The Minister expressed the commitment of the Government to sign the agreement and called for both parties to accelerate the internal procedures and set a date for the signature of the FTA.
He further expressed that the FTA will provide a framework for trade and investment and will help to address the trade imbalance and enable Mauritius to cater for niche markets in China. He reaffirmed Government’s determination to position innovative industries as a backbone for sustained economic growth. Moreover, he has also invited Chinese companies to use our compliant and well-established Mauritius International Financial Centre for structuring their investments into Africa.
Moreover, Minister Bodha has highlighted that China is an important partner for the tourism industry and has called for the setting up of a five-star hotel from China which suits all the requirements of Chinese tourists. Moreover, with an improved connectivity and daily flights to Kenya, Chinese tourists can enjoy Mauritius beaches and Safari in Kenya. He further stated that the FTA would be a concrete step towards achieving the goal of mutual prosperity by institutionalizing the Sino-African economic development.
The opening ceremony was concluded with the signing of an MoU between the CCPIT and the EDB with a view to strengthening trade & investment promotion and to establish mechanisms for close institutional & working cooperation.