Mauritius ratifies FTA with Turkey
January 22, 2013 – The Free Trade Agreement (FTA) signed between Mauritius and Turkey in September 2011, has been recently ratified by the Turkish authorities. The next steps are the presidential assent, before the Government of Turkey notifies the Government of Mauritius. The FTA will then be in force and operational as from this year. This FTA will now enable Mauritius to have duty free access on all industrial products. Some 70 industrial products (mainly textiles) will have duty phased over a period of five years. Concerning agricultural products, Mauritius will have preferential access for some 50 products constituting mainly of tropical fruits, vegetables, flowers, etc. Small enterprises will be able to tap a new market as regards local fruits and flowers.
Under the FTA, Turkey will charge preferential duty on Mauritian products including textiles, clothing and agricultural products. Industrial products will have unlimited access to the Turkish economy. Mauritius will also allow preferential access to all Turkish manufactured goods, except those like meat, soap and paints, which have been classified as ‘sensitive’ products.
Mauritian imports from Turkey currently represent about 1% of total imports of the Island. Among the goods imported are cereals, flour, machinery, base metals and pharmaceutical products. Mauritian exports to Turkey are mainly fabrics, mainly of woven cotton apparels, which amounted to an estimate US$ 2.5 million in 2008. As regards imports, Mauritius imported mainly manufactured products such as electric cables, oven cookers, refrigerators, iron bar, floor and ceiling fittings and sweet biscuits.
The FTA also includes flexible rules of origin. For several products, including textiles, Mauritius exporters will be able to source their raw materials from third countries, manufacture the product in Mauritius and export to Turkey at preferential rates. Mauritius will also be able to use materials from countries having an FTA with Turkey and benefit from preferential treatment.
With the conclusion of the agreement, Mauritius will benefit from more favourable rules compared to the General System of Preferences provided by Turkey. The FTA will equally spare Mauritian textiles and clothing products from being sanctioned by a safeguard duty which Turkey has recently imposed on all textiles products imported from the rest of the world.
The FTA negotiations started in June 2009 and were completed in January 2011 after five rounds of discussions. Through this agreement, Mauritius seeks to further consolidate ties and spur Mauritian stakeholders to export to Turkey. In 2010, Mauritian exports to Turkey accounted less than 1% of our exports basket. Exports stood at Rs 66 million.
Collecting primary data
Prior to the ratification of the FTA, Enterprise Mauritius organised a fieldwork to collect primary data on the Turkish Market to explore export opportunities. According to the survey, Mauritian manufacturers will now be able to capitalise strategically on the good reputation of local products on the international market to create awareness and further penetrate Turkey.
Meetings were held with the following key institutions, importers, manufacturers, distributors: Istanbul Chamber of Commerce; Fruit importers; Rum importers and manufacturers; Association of food importers; Manufacturers and distributors of spices; Food importers and distributors; Vegetable and fruit importers and distributors; Importer of cake decoration; Denim and non-Denim fabrics importers and manufacturers; Shirts, T-Shirts, Ladies blouse importers and manufacturers; Man’s trousers importers and manufacturers.; Ship Modellers Association comprising of importers, manufacturers and distributors of ship models; Turkish Footwear Industrialists Association – Shoe Manufacturers Association; Spectacle and optical glasses importers and distributors; and Halal Food Association.
With a population of 74 million and given its strategic location, which provides a secondary market from its neighbouring countries within a radius of 200 miles (Europe with a population of 668 million, part of Russia 142 million, most of the Middle East and North Africa region 647 million and Central Asia 82 million), Turkey represents a promising exports market for Mauritius. Turkey has a strategy to penetrate Africa and Turkish Airline has lately started flying direct to many African destinations namely South Africa, Burkina Faso, Djibouti, Chad, Uganda, Zambia, etc.
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Source: Government of Mauritius