The Indian cabinet has today approved the signing of the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation and Partnership Agreement (CECPA) with Mauritius. The CECPA covers 310 export items for India, including 27 lines of textile and textile articles. Mauritius will benefit from preferential market access into India for its 615 products including apparel.

CECPA provides for an institutional mechanism to encourage and improve trade between the two countries.

The India-Mauritius CECPA will be the first trade agreement to be signed by India with a country in Africa. The limited agreement covers 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.

India has offered around 95 sub-sectors from the 11 broad services sectors, including professional services, R&D, other business services, telecommunication, financial, distribution, higher education, environmental, health, tourism and travel related services, recreational services and transport services, an official statement said.

Both sides have also agreed to negotiate an Automatic Trigger Safeguard Mechanism (ATSM) for a limited number of highly sensitive products within two years of the signing of the agreement.

The agreement will be signed by both the countries on a mutually convenient date and will come into force from 1st date of the following month.

Since 2005, India has been among the largest trading partners of Mauritius, and has been one of the largest exporters of goods and services to the African nation. According to the International Trade Centre (ITC), in 2019, the main import partners of Mauritius were India (13.85 per cent), China (16.69 per cent), South Africa (8.07 per cent), and UAE (7.28 per cent).

The bilateral trade between India and Mauritius has registered a growth of 233 per cent from $206.76 million in financial year (FY) 2005-06 to $690.02 million in FY 2019-20. India’s exports to Mauritius surged 232 per cent from $199.43 million in FY 2005-06 to $662.13 million in FY 2019-20, while India’s imports from Mauritius increased 280 per cent from $7.33 million in 2005-06 to $27.89 million in FY 2019-20.

“The India-Mauritius CECPA will further cement the already deep and special relations between the two countries,” the statement said.