China and Mauritius yesterday signed a free trade agreement (FTA) in Beijing covering trade in goods and services and investment and economic cooperation—the first such agreement between both sides and the 17th FTA by the former, according to the Chinese ministry of commerce. Negotiations for the FTA were officially launched in December 2017.
The two sides formally concluded the negotiations on Sept. 2, 2018, after four rounds of intensive negotiations.The FTA will not only provide a more powerful institutional guarantee to deepen bilateral economic and trade relations, but also boost China-Africa economic and trade cooperation, an official news agency quoted the ministry as saying.
In the area of trade in goods, China and Mauritius will eventually achieve zero tariffs on 96.3 per cent and 94.2 per cent of product tariff items respectively, involving 92.8 per cent of import volume for both countries from each other.For the remaining tariff items of Mauritius, the tariffs will also be greatly cut, and the maximum tariffs for most of the involved products will not exceed 15 per cent.
China’s main exports to Mauritius, such as iron and steel products, textiles and other light industrial products, will benefit from it. Special sugar produced in Mauritius will also enter the Chinese market gradually.The two sides also agreed on rules of origin, trade remedies, technical barriers to trade and sanitary and phytosanitary issues.In the area of trade in services, both sides promised to open up more than 100 sub-sectors.
Mauritius will open up more than 130 sub-sectors in important service fields such as communications, education, finance, tourism, culture, transportation and traditional Chinese medicine to China.
In the field of investment, the agreement has been upgraded from the 1996 China-Mauritius Bilateral Investment Protection Agreement in terms of protection scope, protection level and dispute settlement mechanism.The two sides will soon start domestic procedures in their countries for the agreement to take effect.
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