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India, Mauritius ink free trade pact

India, Mauritius ink free trade pact
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New Delhi: India and Mauritius have signed a free trade agreement, under which over 300 domestic goods from agriculture, textiles, electronics and other sectors will get market access at concessional customs duties in the African nation, an official statement said on Tuesday.

According to a commerce ministry statement, Commerce Secretary Anup Wadhawan and Ambassador Haymandoyal Dillum, Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, Government of Mauritius, signed the India-Mauritius Comprehensive Economic Cooperation and Partnership Agreement (CECPA) in Port Louis on Monday. It was signed in the presence of Prime Minister of Mauritius Pravind Jugnauth, and India's External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, it added. CECPA is the first trade agreement signed by India with a country in Africa, the ministry said. "The agreement will come into force at an early date," it added.

The Union Cabinet on February 17 had approved signing of this pact. Mauritius will benefit from preferential market access into India for its 615 products, including frozen fish, speciality sugar, biscuits, fresh fruits, juices, mineral water, beer, alcoholic drinks, soaps, bags, medical and surgical equipment, and apparel. In a free trade agreement, two trading partners cut or eliminate customs duties on a host of products besides liberalising norms to promote services trade.

The bilateral trade between the countries dipped to $690 million in 2019-20 from $1.2 billion in 2018-19. While India's exports in 2019-20 aggregated to $662 million, the imports stood at $27.89 million.

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