On October 17, 2019, Chinese Trade Minister Zhong Shan and Mauritius Ambassador to China Lee Miao Kwong signed the free trade agreement between the Government of the People`s Republic of China and the Government of the Republic of Mauritius on behalf of both governments. The China-Mauritius Free Trade Agreement is the 17th free trade agreement signed by China and the first free trade agreement between China and African countries. Not only will it provide a greater institutional guarantee for deepening economic and trade relations between the two countries, but it will also bring new ideas to China and Africa for a comprehensive strategic partnership between China and Africa. It takes economic and trade cooperation between China and Africa to a new level and creates a new situation. Negotiations on the free trade agreement between China and Mauritius were officially launched in December 2017. Under the concern and leadership of the heads of state and government of both countries, the two teams formally concluded the negotiations on 2 September 2018, after four rounds of intensive negotiations. The agreement covers trade in goods, trade in services, investment and economic cooperation and achieves the objective of “comprehensiveness, high level and mutual benefit”. With regard to trade in goods, the share of tax positions on which China and Mauritius end up levying zero tariffs reached 96.3% and 94.2% respectively, or 92.8% of all imports. Tariffs on the remaining tax positions in Mauritius will also be significantly reduced and tariffs on most products will no longer exceed, or even be lower, by 15%. Currently, China`s major exports to Mauritius, such as steel products, textiles and other light industrial products, will benefit.
Similarly, the special sugar produced in Mauritius will gradually be brought to the Chinese market. The two sides also reached agreement on rules of origin, trade evidence, technical barriers to trade, and health and plant health issues. With regard to trade in services, both sides have promised to open more than 100 sub-sectors. Among them, Mauritius will open more than 130 sub-sectors of important services such as telecommunications, education, finance, tourism, culture, transport and traditional Chinese medicine. So far, this is the free trade agreement in Mauricie, which has the highest degree of openness in the services sector. With regard to investment, this agreement has been significantly improved in terms of the level of protection, the level of protection and the dispute settlement mechanism in relation to the bilateral investment protection agreement concluded in 1996 by China and Mauritius.