On October 17, 2019, Chinese Minister of Commerce Zhong Shan and Mauritius’ Ambassador to China Lee Miao Kwong signed the Free Trade Agreement Between the Government of the People's Republic of China and the Government of the Republic of Mauritius on behalf of the two governments.

The China-Mauritius Free Trade Agreement is the 17th free trade agreement signed by China and the first free trade agreement between China and the African countries. It will not only provide a stronger institutional guarantee for deepening the economic and trade relations between the two countries, but also bring new ideas to China-Africa comprehensive strategic partnership to China. It elevates China-Africa economic and trade cooperation to a new height and creates a new situation.

The China-Mauritius Free Trade Agreement negotiations were officially launched in December 2017. Under the concern and guidance of the leaders of the two countries, the two teams formally concluded the negotiations on September 2, 2018 after four rounds of intensive negotiations. The agreement covers goods trade, service trade, investment and economic cooperation and achieves the goal of “comprehensiveness, high level and mutual benefits.”

Regarding trade in goods, the proportion of tax items on which China and Mauritius eventually impose zero tariff reached 96.3% and 94.2% respectively, both accounting for 92.8% of the total imports from each other. The tariffs on the remaining tax items of Mauritius will also be substantially reduced, and the tariffs on most products will no longer exceed 15% or be even lower. China's current major exports to Mauritius, such as steel products, textiles and other light industrial products, will benefit from that. Special sugar produced in Mauritius will also gradually enter the Chinese market. The two sides also reached agreement on rules of origin, trade remedies, technical barriers to trade and sanitary and phytosanitary issues.

Regarding trade in services, the two sides have promised to open up more than 100 sub-sectors. Among them, Mauritius will open more than 130 sub-sectors of important service areas such as telecommunications, education, finance, tourism, culture, transportation and traditional Chinese medicine. Till now, this is the free trade agreement in Mauritius that has the highest level of opening up in service sector.

Regarding investment, compared with the 1996 China-Mauritius bilateral investment protection agreement, this agreement has been greatly upgraded in terms of the protection scope, protection level, and dispute settlement mechanism. This is the first time that China has upgraded the original investment protection agreement with African countries. It will not only provide more powerful legal protection for Chinese enterprises to go to Mauritius, but also help enterprises to further expand investment cooperation with Africa through the platform of the country. In addition, the two sides also agreed to further deepen economic and technological cooperation between the two countries in the fields of agriculture, finance, medical care and tourism.

After the signing of the agreement, the two sides will implement the domestic procedures for the formal entry into force of the agreement, so that the agreement can be implemented as soon as possible and the results of the agreement can benefit the enterprises and people of the two countries as soon as possible.


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