Mauritius’ fifth trade policy review took place at the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva on November 9 and 11, 2021, where the country’s trade policies, practices and developments were reviewed following its previous review which took place in 2014.
In his opening remarks, the Hon. Mr. Alan Ganoo, Mauritius Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, underlined the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Mauritius and the initiatives taken by the country to revive trade and economy. Mauritius’ three fundamental strategies, as announced in the 2021-2022 budget speech, were reiterated, namely to recover from the crisis, revive all industries and improve social resilience.
Efforts have been made to improve trade and economic partnership through the opening of markets at bilateral and regional levels, including the entry into force of four trade agreements and the inclusion of new areas of economic partnership in the agreement with the ‘European Union. Various measures were highlighted as being undertaken to improve and develop the public and private sectors, combat money laundering, promote innovation, combat climate change and foster economic growth.
The WTO President’s concluding observations note that responses and clarifications have been requested from Mauritius by WTO Members (Members) on several issues, such as Mauritius’ COVID-19 recovery program, fiscal policies, practices in its Global Business sector, the Africa strategy and other business practices. Mauritius has been commended by Members for its long-standing support for the multilateral trading system and for having fulfilled most of its WTO notification obligations. They also recognized and appreciated Mauritius’ openness to trade and the service sector and its stable and strong democratic system, among other factors.
Members observed that the strong resilience that the Mauritius economy has shown so far provides a basis for optimism for a rapid recovery from the pandemic. Suggestions and concerns have been made by Members for Mauritius to consider when formulating its forthcoming reforms.
We are of the opinion that these reforms aim not only to stimulate the existing domestic industries of Mauritius, but also to encourage the development of new industries and new processes. The Mauritian government is committed to supporting economic growth and keeping up with evolving business trends in the aftermath of the pandemic. Recent international trade agreements can be exploited by Mauritius to improve the skills of the national workforce, promote international business opportunities in new markets and attract increased investment. Overall, Mauritius aims to position itself as an important player on the scale of global trade competitiveness. The upbeat response from members will serve as an impetus for the country to effectively implement its policies and build confidence in Mauritius as a privileged trade hub.
Other relevant information and documents are available at the links below: