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Mauritius Free Trade Agreement With China Is A Big Deal

Credit: Africa On The Rise

China and Mauritius have signed a Free Trade Agreement, which is the first of its kind between China and an Africa nation. Mauritius seeks to position itself as a middle man between China and mainland Africa.

The FTA was signed on October 17, 2019. It aims to deepen economic and trade relations between China and Africa.

Experts believe China stands to benefit from this agreement more than Mauritius. Alex Vines, head of the Africa program at Chatham House told TRT, “I can see that the Chinese will significantly benefit, there is a massive trade imbalance between Mauritius and China, in favor of China. We will have to see how much Mauritius will benefit”.

“I think the real win for Mauritius as a platform for Chinese exports into the mainland African continent. That is why the Chinese have agreed the first FTA with African countries in Mauritius- it’s a stepping stone basically into broader – African markets”, Alex added.

China is currently Mauritius’s number one import market, making up 16.7% of its import supplies.

Mauritius’s proximity to the Indian ocean makes it a suitable candidate for China’s trade ambitions. Indian oceans have recently become a place where 3 major global powers, the US, China, and India have been competing for dominance. It is at the crossroads of global maritime trade.

Over 64% of the globe’s oil trade transits through the Indian ocean and its basin is home to over 40% of the world’s offshore petroleum production. It is also rich in fisheries and minerals, like nickel, iron, manganese, copper, zinc, silver, and tin. Territorials along the Indian ocean have a combined population of 2 billion people, which is a massive source of manpower or economic growth.

China has over the years deployed a strategy of approaching regional trades via small states first, as evidenced by their entry into the Western market via New Zealand.

The Mauritius deal might be another strategy to dominate regional trade of Africa.

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