In a bilateral meeting with Minister of Industry, Commerce and Consumer Protection, Mauritius, Sayyad Abd-Al-Cader Sayed Hossen, Union Minister for Commerce, Industry & Textiles Anand Sharma on Friday said that India and Mauritius have initiated steps towards setting up Mauritius-India Joint Business Council and a Joint Working Group (JWG) on trade and investment.

"The Joint Business Council will be a robust institutional mechanism for giving a boost to trade and investment ties by identifying the priority sectors and sectors of engagement. The JWG would further work out the modalities for broadening and deepening the economic engagement between the two countries," said Sharma to the Mauritian Minister. 

He also conveyed to Hossen that the two nations should conduct a Joint Commission Meeting at the earliest so as to chart out a thorough roadmap for future cooperative ventures between the two countries. 

During his recent bilateral visit to Mauritius from 8-10 January, Sharma was informed about the Freeport policy of Mauritius which offers zero custom duty and corporate tax free regime for companies with predominant export orientations, especially to Africa. On Friday, both the ministers took the issue forward and explored the possibilities of approaching new markets through part value addition under the Freeport policy. The special arrangement of Mauritius with COMESA and the DFQF regime with EU will come into play under this Policy. In this regard, DIPP, CII, ASSOCHAM and FICCI have been asked to take necessary action in the matter. 

Sharma also assured full support for the development of the textiles sector in Mauritius. He expressed happiness that MoUs in the textiles sector have been signed between the two countries subsequent to his visit to Mauritius last month. Sharma said that both the countries should look at the possibility of establishing Integrated Textile Park in Mauritius.

The Indian Minister asked the officials to give a concept paper on this within two weeks. The Mauritian Minister met Indian industry representatives through AEPC and CITI in a bid to attract Indian FDI into Mauritius in the textile sector. A Board of Investment delegate is travelling with the Minister to explain the fiscal and trade-related aspects to potential investors. 

During the Financial Year 2011-12, the bilateral trade between India and Mauritius grew by 68 per cent, increasing from USD 863 million in 2010-11 to USD 1,451 million in 2011-12. In the current FY 2012-13, the bilateral trade in the nine-month period from April-December 2012 was USD 1007 million, registering a marginal decline of 4.78 % as compared to the corresponding nine-month period of April-December 2011. 

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