Mauritius keen to sign free trade accord
22 December 2013
ISLAMABAD: Mauritius is keen to develop economic relations with Pakistan and enter into a free-trade agreement (FTA) to tap the bilateral trade potential, Mauritius Deputy Prime Minister Dr Ahmad Rashid Beebeejaun said on Saturday.
Pakistan and Mauritius signed a preferential trade agreement (PTA) in July 2007 and it has been operational since Nov 30, 2007. Under the agreement, Pakistan offers concessions to Mauritius on 130 items, whereas Mauritius gives concession on 102 items.
The objective of the PTA was to pave the way for FTA encompassing almost all products, trade and services. However, this agreement is yet to be materialised.
Talking to APP on the sidelines of International Riphah University convocation, Dr Rashid, who is also the Minister of Energy and Public Utilities of his country, said that on his return Mauritius he would take up the issue of FTA.
Talking about the overall trade, he pointed out that communication connectivity was the main hurdle in boosting the trade between the two countries. He said that currently there was not direct air connectivity between the two countries and the flights are running through Dubai.
He said both the countries had lucrative investment opportunities, stressing that Pakistan needed to come to Mauritius and educate the businessmen about the investment opportunities which would help bring Mauritian investment.
“If we are investing in Africa, why not in Pakistan,” he remarked. However, he said somebody has to come to brief Mauritian investors about the investment opportunities available in Pakistan.
He said that Mauritius Prime Minister was aiming to transform the island state of Mauritius into an ocean state, adding, “We qualify for that as we have long continental shelf to set up ocean economy.” —APP