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India enters into first FTA with African nation, signs CECPA with Mauritius

By TIOL News Service

NEW DELHI, FEB 23, 2021: INDIA and Mauritius signed a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation and Partnership Agreement (CECPA) that will allow them to trade and invest bilaterally in select goods and services, said the Ministry of Commerce and Industry on Tuesday. This is the first ever Free Trade Agreement (FTA) signed by India with an African nation and the first to be signed by New Delhi since 2011.

The CECPA was signed in Port Louis on Monday, in the presence of Mauritian Prime Minister Mr Pravind Jugnauth, and India's External Affairs Minister Mr S Jaishankar who is visting the country.

"A special day for our special relationship. Privileged to witness along with PM Jugnauth Kumar the signing of Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Partnership Agreement," Mr Jaishankar wrote on Twitter.

The bilateral agreement is expected to provide a wider entry for Indian goods into the entire African continent while Mauritius will gain preferential market access into India's markets.

The CECPA limited agreement covering trade in goods, rules of origin, trade in services, technical barriers to trade, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, dispute settlement, movement of natural persons, telecom, financial services, customs procedures and cooperation in other areas.

It provides an institutional mechanism to encourage and improve trade by covering 301 export items from India including food stuff and beverages, agricultural products, textile and textile articles and base metals, among others. Indian service providers will also gain access to around 115 sub-sectors from the 11 broad service sectors, such as professional services, computer related services, research and development, telecommunication, tourism and travel related and yoga.

Mauritius will also benefit from preferential market access into India for its 615 products, including frozen fish, speciality sugar, biscuits, fresh fruits, juices, mineral water and beer. India has also offered to around 95 sub-sectors including telecommunication, financial, distribution, higher education, environmental, health, tourism and travel related services, recreational services and transport services.

New Delhi has also extended a USD 100 million Defence Line of Credit to Mauritius to facilitate the procurement of Indian defence equipment, including coastal surveillance system and other hardware. India has also allowed the lease of the Dornier aircraft and Dhruv helicopter on gratis basis for two years to shore up Mauritius' capabilities to monitor its maritime domain.


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