Mauritius & Tunisia discuss PTA
A meeting between Mauritius and Tunisia to initiate discussions on a Bilateral Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) between the two countries was held a few days ago.
The Tunisian delegation was led by Mrs Saida Hachicha, Director of Trade and Industry, Ministry of Trade and Handicraft of Tunisia. The Mauritian side, led by Mr N. Boodhoo, Deputy Director, International Trade Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, comprised representatives from stakeholder ministries, the State Law Office, and the private sector including the Mauritius Chamber of Commerce and Industry and MEXA.
Discussions on the PTA are based on a text proposed by Mauritius and to which the Tunisian side has already expressed broad agreement. The two-day meeting is also addressing issues related to rules of origin and market access which will be annexed to the PTA. Participants are being called upon to identify issues that need to be negotiated at technical level. Presentations on the Mauritian and Tunisian respective economies are also scheduled.
It is expected that the PTA will provide a gateway for Mauritius to penetrate the Mediterranean market and this will help diversify the export market of Mauritius in line with government strategy.
Developing a partnership to maximise the benefit of the EU market
Mr Assad Bhuglah, Director International Trade Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade stated that the launching of discussions on the PTA demonstrates the political will of the Mauritian and Tunisian governments to enter in a structured dialogue and agree on the framework that would help facilitate bilateral trade.
Both Mauritius and Tunisia have opened their economies through liberalisation measures, observed Mr Bhuglah. ‘The EU constitutes the major market for the two countries. The possibility therefore of developing a partnership to maximise the benefit existing in the EU market is real especially by developing a bilateral supply chain in garments and other products. This will be in addition to the market opportunities which the PTA will provide, he added.
For her part, Mrs Hachicha expressed her conviction that the present meeting and the discussions on the PTA will enhance bilateral commercial exchanges and their development. ‘We expect a lot from the PTA under discussion with Mauritius which will certainly enhance the conditions of commercial exchanges between the two countries and the competitiveness of products exchanged’, she said.
It is recalled that Tunisia has concluded an Association Agreement with the European Union in 2008 allowing duty free access to Tunisian industrial products. Given that Mauritius has concluded an Interim Economic Partnership Agreement with the European Commission, the PTA would provide a platform to explore the possibility of developing synergies to tap the European Market, especially, through the cumulation of rules of origin.
According to trade statistics, in 2012, Mauritius exports to Tunisia amounted to Rs 6.7 million comprising canned tuna, denim fabric of cotton, fertilizers, machinery parts and woven fabrics.
Imports for the same year amounted to 88 million rupees including electrical appliances, footwear, textiles products, sweet biscuits, fruits such as watermelons and dates.
Image Source: www.thenextweb.com
Source: Government of Mauritius