Panapress - Port-Louis - 31/07/2007
Mauritius, Pakistan to create free trade zone
Port-Louis, Mauritius — Mauritius and Pakistan have announced plans to create a free trade zone between the two countries by 2009 and have preferential trade exchanges by 30 November, official sources told PANA here.
The announcement followed Monday’s signing of necessary agreements in Port-Louis, the capital of Mauritius, by the minister of foreign affairs and international trade, Madun Dulloo and the Pakistani trade minister, Humayun Akhtar Khan, who is currently visiting the island.
Six other sectoral agreements, covering customs issues, quality certification, the promotion of small and medium-sized enterprises, enhanced cooperation between the State Trading Corporation of Mauritius and the Training Corporation of Pakistan, health measures and the marketing of Mauritius and Pakistani products, were signed between the two governments.
"We wish that this partnership be beneficial to our two countries in terms of experience-sharing, connectivity and the commercial network, technology transfer, mobilisation of investments, improved trade facilities, the development of world standard quality products and partnership in new economic activities", Dulloo said after the signing.
According to Anand Neewoor, Mauritius’ Secretary for foreign affairs, the two countries agreed on the establishment of a free trade area between them, where all the products will be exchanged on a tax-free basis.
"We must now engage discussions in a bid to design an appropriate model for this free trade area," he said.
It is believed that the agreement will make it possible for the two countries to mutually export products on a preferential basis, thus increasing the volume of trade between them.
Among the products which Mauritius will be able to export at preferential rates to Pakistan are natural flowers, fruits, tea, tinned tuna, sugar and soap.
On the other hand, Pakistani producers will be able to export to Mauritius at preferential rates fruits, vegetables, biscuits, leather products, carpet and floor coverings.
Trade between the two countries has been to the advantage of Pakistan