RAWALPINDI - Since Mauritius is a gateway to African countries therefore it offers huge opportunities to Pakistani businessmen desirous of winning those markets. Mauritius has huge scope for Pakistani products, especially textiles, cosmetics, cotton, cereals, pharmaceutical and plastic, and these marvelous opportunities must be tapped.

A Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) was signed in 2007 between the two countries but no efforts were made to enhance the bilateral trade relations. “It is need of the hour to activate PTA and Mauritius is mulling to sign Free Trade Agreement with Pakistan,” stated High Commissioner of Mauritius Yusuf Elahee while talking to Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) President Mian Humayun Parvez during his visit to the Rawalpindi Chamber. RCCI Senior Vice President Saqib Rafiq, Vice President Muhammad Aqil Obaid, members of the executive committee and renowned traders were also present on this occasion.

The high commissioner said that Mauritius wants to enhance trade relations with Pakistan and will cooperate with RCCI to hold ‘Made in Pakistan Expo’ in Mauritius to strengthen bilateral trade relations. He said that business communities of both sides must interact with each other to boost trade volume between two countries. He said that Mauritius, with its strong textile sector, has been well poised to take advantage of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). “We would like to share the knowledge and expertise with Pakistani business community”, he added.

He said that tourism, hotel industry and construction businesses are booming in Mauritius. Pakistani business community must explore these areas and we will provide maximum assistance here, he urged.

Speaking on the occasion, Mian Huayun Parvez said that there is a huge scope for expansion in trade and the private sector has the responsibility to be a front-runner in creating new avenues of establishing trade and investments relations. He said that sustainable efforts are needed to give boost to bilateral trade that is much below the respective potential of the two countries. He said that Pakistani products are best in the world and has the potential to win respectable place in Mauritius market. Pakistan and Mauritius signed a preferential trade agreement (PTA) in July 2007 and it has been operational since Nov 30, 2007, he added. He informed the audience that under the agreement, Pakistan offers concessions to Mauritius on 130 items, whereas Mauritius gives concession on 102 items. “The objective of the PTA was to pave the way for FTA”.

President RCCI said that current bilateral trade volume between the two countries is around $56 million which is very low and it is need of the hour to strengthen bilateral trade relations. Communication connectivity is the main hurdle in boosting the trade between the two countries as there is no direct air connectivity between the two countries and the flights are running through Dubai. The issue of Free Trade Agreement (FTA) is yet to be resolved to help make progress for the sake of trade development.

RCCI president expressed hope that the frequent exchange of international exhibitions/delegations between both the countries would be a best source of strengthening the relation.