India and Mauritius resumed negotiations on the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation and Partnership Agreement in September 2017. 7 rounds of negotiations and 13 DVC were held. The CECPA covers three main chapters namely Trade in Goods, Trade in Services and General Economic Cooperation.
Key elements of CECPA
1. Trade in Goods
The CECPA contains a comprehensive chapter on Trade in Goods including Preferential Trade Agreement text and tariff elimination scheduled by both countries, Customs Cooperation, Trade Facilitation, Sanitary and Phyto-sanitary measures and Technical Barriers to Trade.
Mauritius submitted a request for market access for 615 products covering key products such as special sugar, garments, medical devices, spirits and rum amongst others. The latest proposal as included in the consolidated CECPA text on our key products are provided below.
In a nutshell, Mauritius will have preferential access on including medical devices, food preparations, vanilla, ethyl alcohol, medicinal preparations, detergents, soaps, clock and watch parts, and jewellery, amongst others. The Indian market access offer as it stands is commercially meaningful and can be accepted by Mauritius, although a request has been made to the Indian side to further improve its offer. A provision has been included in the Agreement to pursue negotiations on additional tariff lines. As regards the Mauritius market access offer, preferential treatment will be provided to the Indian side on a list of 310 products.
2. Trade in Services
The CECPA contains a comprehensive Chapter on Services aimed at improving bilateral trade in services. Both sides will take commitments in some 31 sub sectors, including insurance and insurance related services, banking and other financial services, telecommunication, professional services such as accounting, auditing, market research, architectural, engineering, veterinary services, distribution services, tourism and travel related services, translation and interpretation services.
3. Way Forward Agreed by Both Sides
• Market Access – Both sides agreed to sign the Agreement and include relevant provisions therein that would allow the continuation of negotiations on additional market access within a period of 2 years from the date of entry into force of the Agreement.
• General Economic Cooperation: To expedite the signing of the Agreement, on 18 October 2019, the Indian side proposed to drop the General Economic Cooperation Chapter for the time being since it covers 25 different sectors and would be time consuming for them to consult with different Ministries. An article has thus been included in the Agreement that provides for the incorporation of the General Economic Cooperation chapter, within two years from the signing of the Agreement.
• Data Protection: The Mauritian side was informed in October 2020 that the Indian side is in process of introducing new laws on data protection and would not wish for the time being to take any commitments in the schedule on commitments under Services. Both sides thus agreed that a side letter on data protection be signed together with the CECPA.
• Signature of the CECPA: On 30 December 2020, the Indian side submitted a draft consolidated CECPA text, that was sent to the Indian Cabinet of Ministers. The CECPA will be signed on 22 February 2021.
Entry into Force: The CECPA Agreement has come into force on 1st April 2021.