The Minister of Land Transport and Light Rail, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, Mr Alan Ganoo, chaired, today in Port Louis, the first Inter-Ministerial Committee Meeting on Monitoring and Implementation of Free Trade Agreements (FTAs).
The Minister of Industrial Development, SMEs and Cooperatives, Mr Soomilduth Bholah; the Minister of Financial Services and Good Governance, Mr Mahen Kumar Seeruttun; the Minister of Information Technology, Communication and Innovation, Mr Darsanand Balgobin; the Minister of Labour, Human Resource Development and Training, Mr Soodesh Satkam Callichurn; the Minister of Blue Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping, Mr Sudheer Maudhoo; representatives of private sector institutions; and other stakeholders were also present during the meeting.
In his opening remarks, Minister Ganoo recalled that, back in October 2021, Cabinet agreed to set up an Inter-Ministerial Committee under his chairmanship in order to monitor the various FTAs signed by Mauritius with a view to maximising their benefits. He informed that Mauritius is signatory to some 10 FTAs with, among others, the European Union, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, and the Southern African Development Community.
Minister Ganoo underlined that, last year, Mauritius signed FTAs with Africa, China, the United Kingdom and India. All these FTAs, he stressed, provide great opportunities for the country and there is thus a need to devise appropriate strategies so as to increase our exports of goods and services, while attracting foreign investment in productive sectors. This, he added, will generate more foreign currency revenue and create quality jobs for the population.
Furthermore, he underscored that Mauritius exports some Rs 70 billion under the different FTAs. However, he observed, Government intends to increase exports by two to three times with the help of the signed FTAs. As such, a Technical Coordination Committee has been set up so as to devise an action plan with the collaboration of all stakeholders both in the public and private sectors, and will report to the Inter-Ministerial Committee on a regular basis.
During the meeting, discussions focussed on, among others: the establishment of the Technical Coordination Committee for trade and investment promotion; leveraging on existing Trade Agreements with traditional partners; considering new market access to be tapped under recently negotiated Trade Agreements; restructuring the manufacturing sector; attracting investment; promoting entrepreneurship; and developing synergies between Mauritian Missions/Embassies and public-private sector institutions.