The government is encouraging cross-border investments by creating the necessary enabling environment as Mauritius has comparative advantages over other countries, said Mauritius trade minister Arvin Boolell.

“When we talk about trade in services we should think about cross borders investments and also be inspired by the experience we have acquired over the years in Mauritius,” the minister stated at a national workshop on South African Development Community (SADC) Trade in Construction and Energy-related services.

Speaking to some 30 participants from the public and private sectors on Wednesday, April 16, 2014, at Clos St Louis, in Domaine Les Pailles, he said that Mauritius should set its mind, thoughts and policies to invest in Africa. He noted that money is coming from both emerging markets and developed countries to new frontiers such as Africa.

“We are putting in our best endeavours to make things happen (as policy makers), and the support of stakeholders is crucial in this process,” said Minister Boolell.

The two-day national workshop is bringing together some 30 participants from the public and private sectors and is organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, in collaboration with the SADC Secretariat.

The workshop’s objective is to assist stakeholders in preparing request to be made to SADC Member States as well as an initial offer in construction and energy-related services.

The work agenda comprises overviews of market conditions, regulatory bottlenecks and other impediments to construction and energy-related services in the SADC region; as well as interactive sessions on offensive and defensive interests of Mauritius and experience of Mauritian stakeholders in seeking to export construction and energy-related services to SADC markets.

SADC member-states are currently engaged in Trade in Services negotiations based on a request / offer basis which is a process of making specific request to each other in order to open their markets on respective wish lists and afterwards for each member to respond to these requests as to what extent it would be prepared to open its services market.

The services negotiations are carried out based on progressive liberalisation with the purpose of promoting an integrated regional market for services and enhancing the region’s services capacity, efficiency and competitiveness.

When requests and offer were made in the first four sectors, Mauritius benefitted from similar technical assistance in 2012 and 2013.

Ultimately, pursuant to statements made by one official of the Ministry, the negotiations cover six priority sectors, namely communications, tourism, financial services, transport, construction and energy-related services.

Image (UN): Trade Minister Arvin Boolell noted that money is coming from both emerging markets and developed countries to new frontiers such as Africa.

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