Mauritius Signs the Continental Free Trade Area
Mauritius was among the 44 countries out of the 55 Member States of the African Union to have signed the Agreement establishing the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) in Kigali, Rwanda, on 21st March 2018. The Agreement will enter into force when 22 countries out of the 55 AU member countries ratify it.
It is expected that the deal will contribute to increase intra-continental trade on the continent. With the entry into force of the Agreement, the participating countries will remove tariffs on 90 % of goods. The market access commitments of the Member States for Goods and Services as well as the Rules of Origin requirements will be finalised as part of the built-in agenda. In addition, Member States have agreed to pursue negotiations on Competition Policy, Investment and Intellectual Property Rights.
By signing and ratifying the CFTA, African leaders would be entering a new phase to make the continent a global player, while promoting its economic interests as one, through a single African market.
Source: International Trade Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade.
Trade Figures for 2017: Decrease in Exports
Total exports for the year 2017 including domestic exports, re-exports and excluding ship’s stores and bunkers amounted to Rs 72 billion, 8% less compared to the year 2016.
Domestic exports amounting to Rs 53 billion, accounted for 74% of total exports for the year 2017. Compared to a value of Rs 56 billion recorded for the year 2016, domestic exports fell by 4%.
Analysis by countries of destination for the year 2017 showed that our main markets were dominated by the European countries, representing 49% of our exports for a value of Rs 35 billion as compared to Rs 37 billion in 2016, thus a decrease of 4%. The other major destinations for our exports were UK (11.9%), France (11.7%), USA (11.2%) and South Africa (9%). Compared to the year 2016, total exports to UAE went down by 52%, mainly explained by a decrease in the re-exports of mobile phones by Freeport operators.
Total imports for the year 2017 amounted to Rs 180 billion, showing an increase of 9% compared to the year 2016. Our main imports originated mainly from India (18%) and China (18%), followed by South Africa (9%) and France (8%).
Based on recent past trends and information from various sources, Statistics Mauritius has forecasted total exports for 2018 at around Rs 84 billion and imports at Rs 190 billion. Trade deficit for 2018 is therefore expected to be around Rs 106 billion.
The full report can be downloaded from the website of Statistics Mauritius by clicking on: http://statsmauritius.govmu.org/English/Publications/Pages/Ext_Trade_4Qtr17.aspx
Overview of the 3rd Round of Negotiations on the CECPA with India
The 3rd round of negotiations on the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation and Partnership Agreement (CECPA) between Mauritius and India was held on 22-24 January 2018 at Le Meridien Hotel, Balaclava.
Discussions were held in parallel sessions namely on the Joint Study Report, Trade in Goods and Trade in Services.
With regards to Trade in Goods, both sides discussed the draft text for establishing the trade agreement and exchanged a list of products of export interest which would serve as the basis for negotiations. Mauritius indicated that products such as garments, rum, sugar, jewellery, medical devices, amongst others were of key export interest and requested the Indian side to give positive consideration thereto. The products which are sensitive to both countries’ industries were also identified.
Regarding Trade in Services, both sides discussed the proposed text and substantial improvements were made except where further consultations were required. Both sides agreed to exchange their requests and offers for sectors of export interest in the next round of negotiations; which is tentatively scheduled to be held in March 2018.
Reduction of Customs Duties on imports from the EU under the iEPA
In view of the commitments taken under the interim Economic Partnership Agreement (iEPA) with the European Commission, customs duties have been reduced on the importation of a number of products from the 28 countries of the European Union including importation from their overseas countries and territories.
Since 1st January 2018, consignments imported from the European Union and accompanied by a Movement Certificate EUR-1 attract lower rates of customs duties for products such as alcoholic beverages, pet food, plastic products, leather products, wood marquetry, paper products, bed linen, and iron bars and rods, amongst others. The complete list of products with their respective HS codes which attract lower rates of customs duties when imported from the European Union can be accessed by clicking on:
It is to be noted that since the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) signed with Turkey is based on the commitments taken under the iEPA, importation from Turkey also attracts lower rates of customs duties for the same list of products.
Removal of Tyres, Tubes and Timber from the Maximum Mark-Up legislation
The First Schedule to the Consumer Protection (Maximum Mark-Up) Regulations 1998 have been amended by Government Notice No. 238 of 2017 by deleting the items ‘Timber’ and ‘Tyres and Tubes’. These items which previously had a maximum mark-up of 25% are no longer subject to price control by the Price Fixing Unit of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Consumer Protection.
The regulations are in force since 8 December 2017.
A copy of the Government Notice No. 238 of 2017 can be accessed on:
3rd Quarter Trade Statistics – Contraction in the Exports of Garments.
Total exports of goods for the period January to September 2017 accounted for RS 54.7 billion representing a drop of 7% when compared to the same period in 2016. Domestic exports were valued at RS 40.7 billion while re-exports amounted to RS 14.0 billion. From January to September 2017, both domestic exports and re-exports fell by 3% and 16% respectively when compared to the period January to September 2016. On the other hand, from January to September 2017, imports were valued at Rs 128 billion representing an increase of 8% when compared over the same period in 2016.
During the period January to September 2017, the European Union remained our major export destination representing 50% of market share followed by USA (11%) and South Africa (9%). Excluding textiles and clothing products, we note that processed fish and cane sugar experienced an increase in exports of 12% and 22% respectively. In contrast, exports of textiles and clothing have contracted by 10% for the period January to September 2017 with reductions in the exports of several categories of ‘garments’.
A graphical illustration of the 3rd quarter trade statistics, including main products exported and imported and the major export destinations and countries of imports can be accessed by clicking on: https://www.mcci.org/media/165403/export-analysis-1.pptx
All figures are based on Statistics Mauritius’ publications.
Final Date for Registration of Chemicals under REACH
The final date for registering chemical substances under the EU chemicals legislation REACH is on 31 May 2018. After that date, substances produced or imported in quantities reaching one tonne or more per year per manufacturer or importer that are not registered with the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) can no longer be placed on the EU market.
Companies that export to the EU cannot register substances themselves, but their EU-based importers must do that. To complete the registration dossier, the EU-importer will need detailed information on the composition and the properties of the chemical substance, which will need to be provided by the exporting company. Alternatively, the exporting company can also appoint a so-called "Only Representative", who must be based in the EU, to submit the registration on his behalf. In both cases, the exporting company must be prepared to provide the information that is required for the registration. Companies that need to register the same substance must share data and related costs and submit most of the information jointly.
Adopted in December 2006, REACH reversed the burden of proof on the safe use of chemicals. It is now up to companies to demonstrate that the chemicals they manufacture or import in the EU can be used safely and do not cause unacceptable risk to human health and the environment. The companies' findings and conclusions are recorded in a registration dossier that is submitted to ECHA.
The information in the registration dossiers is used for further regulatory processes and published on the ECHA's website. This helps European and non-EU companies, authorities and citizens to make informed decisions on chemicals they use or that they may be exposed to.
The ECHA's website contains extensive information on REACH and other EU chemicals legislation: Leaflet "Do you export to the European Union?", REACH registration 2018, and ECHA information on chemicals. Companies can also directly contact ECHA for more information: https://echa.europa.eu/contact
Cabinet Decision: Removal of tyres, tubes and timber from the Maximum Mark-up Legislation
Cabinet has agreed to tyres and tubes, and timber being removed from the list of goods under price control. The Consumer Protection(Consumer Goods) (Maximum Mark-Up) Regulations would be amended accordingly.
Source: Cabinet decision, 3 November 2017
Amendments to the definition of ‘Sweeteners’ in the Food Regulations 1999
The Food Regulations 1999 have been amended by the Food (Amendment No. 2) Regulations 2017 to review the definition of ‘artificial sweetener’ permissible in foodstuffs. The Food Regulations 1999 have therefore been amended by deleting the words ‘artificial sweetener’ wherever they appear and replacing them by the words ‘permitted sweetening substance’.
A list of eighteen permitted sweetening substances have been included in the new regulations, including the ingredient ‘Xanthan Gum’ which was previously allowed in a limited category of products is now being allowed in other products such as coffee, tea, pasta, seasonings, and other prepared foods.
The Food (Amendment No.2) Regulations 2017 can be accessed by clicking on: https://www.mcci.org/media/165280/food-amendment-no2-regulations-2017.pdf
The Regulations are in force since 7 September 2017.
Elimination of ‘Premarket Approval’ on several food items
As part of its mandate to streamline business procedures and facilitating trade, the MCCI has been working in several committees, set up at the level of the Board of Investment, to simplify import and export procedures. One of the recommendations has been to streamline the list of products, which are subject to the "Pre-Market Approval" permit under the Food Regulations 1998.
The MCCI is pleased to inform business operators that the Food Regulations have been amended and that, 29 out of the 35 product categories, have been removed from the regulations including milk products, breakfast cereals, biscuits, fruit juices, meat products, amongst others. The product categories, which still require a ‘Premarket Approval Permit’ are as follows: Novel food, Baby feed bottle, Bottled water, Canned food for infant, Edible fat oil, and Irradiated food.
A copy of the Food (Amendment) Regulations 2017 can be accessed by clicking:
Elimination of ‘Premarket Approval’ on several food items
As part of its mandate to streamline business procedures and facilitating trade, the MCCI has been working in several committees set up at the level of the Board of Investment to simplify import and export procedures. One of the recommendations has been to streamline the list of products, which are subject to the “Pre-Market Approval’ permit under the Food Regulations 1998.
The MCCI is pleased to inform its Members that the Food Regulations have been amended and that, 29 out of the 35 product categories, have been removed from the regulations including milk products, breakfast cereals, biscuits, fruit juices, meat products, amongst others. The product categories, which still require a ‘Premarket Approval Permit’ are as follows: Novel food, Baby feed bottle, Bottled water, Canned food for infant, Edible fat oil, and Irradiated food.
A copy of the Food (Amendment) Regulations 2017 can be accessed by clicking on:
Amendments to the Consumer Protection (Importation and Sale of Second-Hand Motor Vehicles) Regulations
he Consumer Protection (Importation and Sale of Second-Hand Motor Vehicles) (Amendment) Regulations 2017 have been gazetted through the Government Notice No. 159 of 2017.
Provisions of the new Regulations include, amongst others, that on application the importer must submit a certificate attesting that the company has an issued share capital of not less than Rs 2 million and that no application will be entertained by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce during the period 1 July 2016 to 30 June 2018.
The Ministry may also reject the application where the dealer has failed to import at least 10 second-hand motor vehicles in the 12 months preceding the application.
A copy of the Consumer Protection (Importation and Sale of Second-Hand Motor Vehicles) (Amendment) Regulations 2017 can be accessed by clicking on: https://www.mcci.org/media/165254/consumer-protection-importation-and-sale-of-second-hand-motor-vehicles-amendment-regulations-2017.pdf
Removal of Export Permit on a number of Products
"Cabinet has taken note that the Minister of Industry, Commerce and Consumer Protection would amend the Consumer Protection (Export Control) Regulations 2000 to give effect to the measures that would further facilitate the business and trade framework. In this context, a number of items, including live animals; meat and edible meat offal of bovine animals, swine, sheep, goats, horses, asses, mules or hinnies; and vegetables, would no longer require an export permit."....Source: Cabinet Decision dated 4th August 2017
WTO TBT Notifications
Line of products concerned: Food, Food products, Fish, Fish Products
The MCCI has received several WTO TBT notifications from the Mauritius Standards Bureau on products including Food and Food Products and Fish and Fish Products.
As per the WTO Agreement, exporters have 60 days as from the date prescribed under the notification number, to submit their comments, if any, to the Mauritius Standards Bureau. Comments to MSB should be addressed to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Access the WTO TBT notifications:
Awareness Session on New Regulations for Domestic and Electrical Appliances
The MCCI organised an Awareness Session on the Consumer Protection (Safety Requirements) Regulations for domestic and electrical appliances which was held on Wednesday 19 July 2017. The Consumer Protection (Safety Requirements) Regulations 2017 introduces new safety standards on a set of domestic and electrical appliances as from 1st October 2017.
The Awareness Session was an opportunity for our members to be apprised on the procedures for the implementation of the regulations. As such, it was confirmed that the Certificates of Conformity may be submitted directly to the Mauritius Standards Bureau (MSB) for verification which will entail a cost of Rs 700 per certificate of conformity.
Representatives from the Consumer Affairs Unit, the Mauritius Standards Bureau and the MRA Customs were invited to explain the new procedures involved for certification of certificates of conformity and the clearance procedures at Customs.
Around 40 participants attended the Awareness Session and the issues raised by our Members will be addressed by the respective government agencies.
The presentations made can be downloaded below:
Presentation from the Consumer Affairs Unit: http://www.mcci.org/media/161932/presentation-by-the-consumer-affairs-unit.ppt
Presentation from the Mauritius Standards Bureau: https://www.mcci.org/media/165215/presentation-by-the-mauritius-standards-bureau.ppt
Amendments to the Food Act
Cabinet decision 23rd June 2017:
Cabinet has taken note that the Minister of Health and Quality of Life would promulgate the Food (Amendment) Regulations under the Food Act to streamline procedures for and review the scope of food-related business requiring pre-market approval permit under the Food Regulations 1999, as amended. The Regulations would, inter alia, provide for the following – (a) the application for pre-market approval permit, which would, henceforth, be made electronically through the TradeNet on the prescribed form; (b) determination of every application for pre-market approval permit within five working days from the effective date of receipt of the application; and (c) reasonably reduced list of food, pre-packed food, container or contact material requiring prior pre-market approval permit.
Source: Cabinet Decision
Budget 2017-2018 – Changes in Customs Duties, Excise Duties and VAT
Following the Budget 2017-2018, a number of amendments regarding the rates of taxes have been made to the Excise ACT, Customs Act and the VAT Act. The MRA Customs notification to Declarants and Importers as well as the complete list of products with their respective HS Codes on which tax changes have occurred can be downloaded below:
External Trade Figures for 1st Quarter 2017
Total exports for the first quarter of 2017 amounted to Rs 19,687 million, 6.0% less compared to the corresponding quarter of 2016. This drop is mainly explained by the drop of 91% in the re-exports of mobile phones by Freeport operators.
Domestic exports amounting to Rs 11,945 million, accounted for 60.7% of total exports in the first quarter of 2017. Compared to a value of Rs 13,954 million recorded in the fourth quarter of 2016, domestic exports fell by 14.4%, while comparison against the corresponding quarter of 2016 shows a decrease of 12.7%.
Analysis by exports destination for the first quarter of 2017 showed that the European countries remained our main markets, importing some 47.4% of our exports for a value of Rs 8,280 million. The major destinations were were U.S.A (12.2%), France (12.1%), U.K (11.0%), and South Africa (7.7%).
Total imports for the first quarter of 2017 amounted to Rs 41,193 million, showing a decrease of 10.3% over the previous quarter. During the first quarter of 2017, our imports originated mainly from India (17.0%), China (13.4%), South Africa (7.5%) and France (7.4%).
Based on recent past trends and information from various sources, Statistics Mauritius has forecasted total exports for 2017 at around Rs 87,000 million and imports at Rs 181,000 million.
The full report can be downloaded from the website of Statistics Mauritius on:
Application for Export Permit through Mauritius Trade Link
The Consumer Protection (Export Control) Regulations 2000 have been amended to make provision for an exporter to apply for an export permit for controlled goods through the Mauritius Trade Link (Single Window).
An exporter will now be able to scan every document or information required to accompany the application and should same application be approved, an electronic export permit will be sent back to the applicant.
A copy of the Consumer Protection (Export Control) Amendment Regulations 2017 can be downloaded by clicking on:
The Regulations will be operational on Tuesday 2nd May 2017.
New Energy Efficiency Labelling Regulations for Domestic Appliances
The new Energy Efficiency (Labelling of Regulated Machinery) Regulations 2017 will come into operation on 1st July 2017 and will provide for mandatory energy efficiency labels on certain types of domestic appliances namely electric ovens, refrigerating appliances, and electric dishwashers.
The Energy Efficiency Management Office (EEMO) is strongly encouraging dealers and importers to start registering controlled appliances listed in the Energy Efficiency (Labelling of Regulated Machinery) Regulations 2017 using the Energy Efficiency Information Management System on: eeims.govmu.org. Test reports and certificates of conformity submitted to the EEMO will be referred to the Mauritius Standards Bureau (MSB) for certification which would entail a fee of Rs. 700 per document certified to be paid to MSB.
A copy of the regulations can be accessed by clicking on:
For more information and clarification, Members are requested to contact the following persons:
• Energy Efficiency Management Office:
Mr. R. Mungur, Director, Tel: 206-0592, Email: email@example.com.
• Mauritius Standards Bureau:
Mrs. J. Moonowa, Quality Officer, Tel: 433-3648, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Launching of the National Export Strategy
The National Export Strategy (NES) for Mauritius was launched on Friday 31st March 2017 at Le Maritim Hotel, Pointe aux Piments, by the Hon. Pravind Jugnauth, Prime Minister, Minister of Home Affairs, External Communications and National Development Unit, Minister of Finance and Economic Development in the presence of the Executive Director of the International Trade Centre, Ms. Arancha Gonzalez.
The NES document aims to boost the export capacities of the country’s private sector and step up its trade with regional and global markets. NES will serve as a blueprint for the Government, the private sector and Mauritius' development partners to help the country’s SMEs improve their competitiveness and generate higher-value jobs. These will guide Mauritius’ effort to reinvigorate inclusive and sustainable growth through trade.
The Strategy also aims to tackle economy-wide constraints for trade growth and in response sets out five key cross-sector focus areas that will support export development and competitiveness: the internationalisation of SMEs; skills development; innovation; branding and institutional alignment.
The NES identifies seven sectors with high potential for export growth, employment generation and innovation: agro-processed foods; fisheries and aquaculture; medical devices; jewellery; financial services; software development and; cultural tourism.
More information can be accessed on:
New Tariff Rates for Captive Cargo at CHCL
The new tariff rates for captive cargo will become effective as from 1st July 2017.
The new tariffs will apply to stevedoring charges, shore charges, handling charges, bulk cargo, extra men or gangs, and extended hours, amongst others.
The new tariffs which have already been approved by the Mauritius Port Authority can be downloaded by clicking on: https://www.mcci.org/media/150208/chcl-new-tariffs.pdf
The Energy Efficiency (Labelling of Regulated Machinery) Regulations 2017
The Ministry of Energy and Public Utilities has introduced the Energy Efficiency (Labelling of Regulated Machinery) Regulations to provide for mandatory labelling of domestic appliances, namely electric ovens, refrigerators and dishwashers. The Regulations, which would become effective as from 1 July 2017, require amongst others, that the energy labels be in accordance with the standards developed by the Mauritius Standards Bureau (MSB) and that the dealer should submit a test report or product certificate to the MSB for verification. In that respect, the Energy Efficiency Management Office (EEMO) is encouraging dealers and importers to start registering their appliances using the Energy Efficiency Information Management System of the EEMO on: eeims.govmu.org. This will help to avoid any flooding of requests when the regulations will come into operation. Any test report or product certificate from dealers to the EEMO would be referred to the MSB for certification. This will entail a fee of Rs 700 per document certified and which will have to be paid directly by the dealers to the MSB. A copy of the Energy Efficiency (Labelling of Regulated Machinery) Regulations 2017 can be accessed by clicking on: https://www.mcci.org/media/154325/energy-efficiency-labelling-of-regulated-machinery-regulations-2017.pdf. For more information and clarification, Members are requested to contact the following persons: • Energy Efficiency Management Office: Mr. R. Mungur, Director, Tel: 206-0592, Email: email@example.com. • Mauritius Standards Bureau: Mrs. J. Moonowa, Quality Officer, Tel: 433-3648, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
MSB Standards on Imports of Cement
Following the Cabinet decision taken on 10 February 2017, the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Consumer Protection will promulgate:
(a) the Consumer Protection (Control of Import, Manufacture, Supply and Storage of Cement) Regulations to provide that no person shall import, manufacture, supply and store cement which does not conform to the specifications corresponding to Mauritian Standards MS EN 197-1:2011 or MS 36-3:2007; and
(b) the Consumer Protection (Control of Imports) (Amendment) Regulations to provide that only cement complying with the Mauritian Standards MS EN 197-1:2011 or MS 36-3:2007 would be allowed to be imported.
Introduction of the Energy Efficiency (Labelling of Regulated Machinery) Regulations
The Ministry of Energy and Public Utilities will introduce the Energy Efficiency (Labelling of Regulated Machinery) Regulations to provide for mandatory labelling of domestic appliances, namely electric ovens, refrigerators and dishwashers. The label, also known as energy label, rates an appliance from dark green (most efficient) to red (least efficient) and shows the annual energy consumption of the appliance. The regulations provide, among others, that:
(a) the labels should be in accordance with the standards developed by the Mauritius Standards Bureau;
(b) the dealer should submit a test report or product certificate to the Mauritius Standards Bureau for verification; and
(c) the Energy Efficiency Management Office would issue a certificate of compliance that would be valid for a period of two years.
A copy of the regulations can be accessed by clicking on:
The regulations would be effective as from 1 July 2017.
Introduction of Safety Standards on Domestic and Electrical Appliances
The Consumer Protection (Safety Requirements) Regulations 2017 which set out new safety standards on imports of domestic and electrical appliances have been gazetted through Government Notice No.9 of 2017.
The Regulations provide for importers of domestic and electrical appliances to comply with the safety standards of the Mauritius Standards Bureau (MSB). Imports of domestic and electrical appliances must be accompanied by a Certificate of Conformity which must be submitted to the MSB for certification. Where goods are not accompanied by a Certificate of Conformity, a test report shall be obtained from the MSB prior to the release of the goods.
A copy of the Government Notice No.9 of 2017 and the list of products subject to the new standards can be accessed by clicking on: http://email.eservices.mu/t/j-l-uyjhdyt-uyohkjyt-t/
The Regulations would become effective on 1st October 2017.
Postponement of the new Tariff Rates at CHCL
The MCCI has been informed by the CHCL that the implementation of the new tariff rates will not be effective on 1st February 2017 and has been postponed to a later date.
New Tariff Rates for Captive Cargo at CHCL
The MCCI has been informed by the Cargo Handling Corporation Ltd (CHCL) that it will be proceeding with a general increase of 8% in the captive cargo tariffs with effect from Wednesday 1st February 2017.
The new tariffs will apply to stevedoring charges, shore charges, handling charges, bulk cargo, extra men or gangs, and extended hours, amongst others.
The new tariffs which have already been approved by the Mauritius Port Authority can be downloaded by clicking on: http://www.mcci.org/media/150186/chcl-new-tariffs.pdf
New Regulations on Electronic Payment at MRA Customs
MRA Customs have issued a notice informing operators that, as from 15 January 2017, electronic payment will be required for all amounts payable (per bill of entry) exceeding Rs. 50,000. More information can be obtained from the following link: http://www.mcci.org/umbraco/preview/?id=12911#?id=12911
External Trade Statistics Jan-Sept 2016: Decrease of 10% in Total Exports
Total exports for the period January to September 2016 accounted for Rs 58.7 billion representing a drop of 10% over same period in 2015. Domestic exports also fell by 3% as compared to the same period of 2015 to reach Rs 41.9 billion in 2016. A substantial decrease of 24% in re-exports figures for the period January–September 2016 as compared to the same period in 2015 can also be noted. This is mainly attributed to the drop in the re-exports of mobile phones by Freeport operators.
Analysis of exports figures by country of destination for the first nine months of 2016 shows that the EU were our main buyer, purchasing some 46.6% of our exports. The major destinations for our exports were U.K (11.9%), U.S.A (11.2%), France (11.1%), South Africa (8.2%), Madagascar (7.5%), Italy (6.5%) and Spain (4.6%). Compared to the corresponding period of 2015, total exports to UAE went down by 80%, mainly explained by the decrease in the re-exports of mobile phones. Exports to Italy, France and Madagascar went up by 20.2%, 11.5%, and 4.9% respectively. On the other hand, exports to both Spain and UK dropped by 14.7% while those to South Africa and USA fell by 7.1% and 3.1% respectively.
On the other hand, total imports for the period January to September 2016 amounted to Rs 119 billion. During the first nine months of 2016, almost half of our imports originated from four main countries, namely: China (17.8%), India (15.9%), France (7.9%) and South Africa (7.5%). Compared to the corresponding period of 2015, total imports from India and China fell by 14.4% and 3.8% respectively while those from South Africa and France rose by 9.1% and 9.0% respectively.
According to Statistics Mauritius, total export for the year 2016 is forecasted at around Rs 88 billion and imports at Rs 167 billion.
For more information click on: http://statsmauritius.govmu.org/English/Publications/Pages/Ext-Trade_3Qtr16.aspx
Amendments to the Consumer Protection (Maximum Mark-up) Regulations 1998
The Second Schedule of the Consumer Protection (Maximum Mark-up) Regulations 1998 regarding the format of the Return Form to be submitted to the Ministry of Industry and Commerce has been amended by Government Notice No. 212 of 2016. A company making its return for goods for which the mark-up is controlled will be required to submit additional information including the Business Registration Number, Value Added Tax Registration Number, Brand name, FOB Value, Freight and Insurance.
In addition, the Third Schedule to the Regulations has also been amended. A company submitting its return will be required to give information on the Batch Number of the goods on which the mark-up is controlled.
A copy of the Government Notice No. 212 of 2016 can be accessed by clicking on: http://www.mcci.org/media/150128/government-notice-no-212-of-2016.pdf
The Regulations will come into operation on 15 November 2016.
MRA Customs to issue Certificate of Age for Rum
The Excise Act has been amended by Government Notice No.89 of 2016 to empower the MRA Customs to issue “Certificate of Age” for matured rum, matured agricultural rum or matured local rum.
Exporters who would wish to have their consignment of rum accompanied by a “Certificate of Age” are requested to contact MRA Customs on 202-0500 for the application procedures.
The regulations are in force since 3 October 2016.
Amendments to the Consumer Protection (Control of Fairs) Regulations 2016
The Consumer Protection (Control of Fairs) Regulations 2016 have been amended by deleting the definition of ‘international trade fair’ and ‘trade fair’ and replacing them by the following definitions:
“international trade fair” means a fair, organised under a theme specified in the 2nd column of the First Schedule, where local participants and one or more foreign participants, or foreign participants display and sell the goods and provide the services specified in the corresponding 3rd column of that schedule.
“trade fair” means a fair, organised under a theme specified in the 2nd column of the First Schedule, where local participants display and sell the goods and provide the services specified in the corresponding 3rd column of that schedule.
The First Schedule of the Regulations has also been amended by adding the theme ‘Leisure and Tourism’.
The Regulations are operational since 5 October 2016.
Export of Foodstuffs to the USA: Updating FDA Registration
The period for updating the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) registrations for export of foodstuffs to the USA opened on October 1, 2016, and will end on December 31, 2016. Operators in Mauritius that produce, handle and/or store food products for export to the US should now update their FDA registrations.
Registrations may be updated online at www.access.fda.gov. Paper copies for the form may be accessed and downloaded at:
Budget 2016-2017: Extension of Excise Duty on Milk-Based Beverages and Fruit Juices
Following the Budget 2016-2017, the excise duty of 3 cents per gram of sugar content has been extended to other ‘sugar sweetened non-alcoholic beverages’ such as drinking yogurt, flavoured milk, and Aloe-Vera drinks and fruit juices, amongst others.
In this context, the Excise Act has been amended to define ‘sugar sweetened non-alcoholic beverages’ as any non-alcoholic beverages containing sugar; and includes juices, milk-based beverages and soft drinks. Sugar is defined as sucrose, lactose, maltose, fructose and glucose.
The products and HS codes on which the excise duty of 3 cents per gram of sugar content is applicable can be accessed by clicking here.
In the case of manufacturers, they would be requested to submit to MRA Customs a Sugar Content Certificate obtained from the Government Analyst Division for each flavour of the product manufactured, whilst importers would need to provide a Certificate of Analysis obtained from their supplier determining the level of sugar content per flavour.
This measure will come into operation on 1st October 2016 and prior to that date all manufacturers and importers of ‘sugar sweetened non-alcoholic beverages’ are requested to register with MRA Customs to obtain a license.
For more information on:
Registration procedures at MRA Customs, please contact Mr. Gupta Ramnarain / Mr. Khemraj Chutturdharry on 202-0500.
Procedures to obtain the Sugar Content Certificate, please contact Mrs. Liu / Mr. Mahamood Ally / Mr. Barahim from the Government Analyst Division on 466-5601 / 466-2134.
Finance (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2016
The Finance (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2016 which provides for the implementation of measures announced in the Budget Speech 2016 can be downloaded from the link below.
Budget 2016/2017 – Amendments to Customs and Excise Regulations
Following the Budget Speech 2016/2017, several amendments have been made to the Customs and Excise regulations.
The amended Regulations have entered into force since 30 July 2016. The Regulations to the Excise Act are attached as PDF and the Customs Tariff (Amendment of Schedule) (No 2) Regulations 2016 can be accessed on the link below.
Export of Alcoholic Products - Amendments to the Excise Regulations 1994
The Excise Regulations 1994 have been amended by Government Notice 152 of 2016 by deleting Article 72 which stipulated that “Except with the Director-General's written authorisation and subject to such conditions as he thinks fit to impose, no person shall export alcohol unless it complies with the requirements set out in the Ninth Schedule; and the container is marked Grade A or Grade B as the case may be” and replacing it by the following new Article:
“No person shall export alcohol except with the written authorisation of the Director-General and subject to the terms and conditions specified in the authorisation”.
The Amendments are effective since 5 July 2016.
Removal of Export Permit on Spices and Serum
The Consumer Protection (Export Control) regulations 2000 have been amended by Government Notice No. 151 of 2016 to remove spices such as ginger, saffron and turmeric classified under HS 09.10 and serum and blood samples classified under HS 30.02 from the list of goods requiring an export permit. Since 15 July 2016, the items listed above no longer require an export permit.
However, export permits are maintained on serum and blood samples of animal origin and classified under HS 3002.1020 and 3002.9040.
Weight Verification of Containers under the SOLAS Convention Enters into force on 1st July 2016
Amendments to Chapter VI, Part A, Regulation 2, of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) will enter into force on 01 July 2016. The aforesaid amendments require that all packed containers’ gross mass are verified prior to stowage on board ships.
Upon completion of packing and sealing of a container, the shipper shall ensure that the verified gross mass of the container is stated in the shipping document. The shipping document shall be signed by a person duly authorized by the shipper and submitted to the ship master or his representative and to the terminal representative sufficiently in advance of loading onto a vessel so that it could be used in the preparation of the ship’s stowage plan. A maximum ≤ 5% variation in gross mass of a loaded container is applied as a threshold for compliance and enforcement purposes.
The procedures for obtaining and submission of the Verified Gross Mass (VGM) of packed containers required under SOLAS VI/2 are found in the document attached below. A list of registered service providers can be accessed on the link provided.
Trade Statistics for 1st Quarter 2016
Total exports for the first quarter of 2016 summed up to Rs. 21.2 billion, representing a decrease of 5.9% compared to corresponding quarter in 2015. The fall in the value of exports of ‘Ships stores and Bunkers’ (-21.2%) as well as the significant decline in re-exports of ‘Telecommunication equipment and accessories’ (-57.7%) account for this decrease. It is worth noting that domestic exports amounted to Rs. 13.7 billion in the first quarter of 2016, representing an increase of 5.6% from its value in the first quarter of 2015.
Compared to the corresponding quarter in 2015, exports to our main buyers declined for U.A.E (-70.3%), United Kingdom (-2.9%) and Madagascar (-1.2%) but rose for Italy (+37.8%), South Africa (+26.5%), France (+14.0%) and U.S.A (+4.4%).
Total imports dropped by 3.8% from Rs 38.9 billion in the first quarter of 2015 to Rs 37.4 million in the first quarter of 2016. Decreases were noted in the imports of ‘Mineral fuels, lubricants and related products’ (-26.2%), ‘Manufactured goods classified chiefly by materials’ (-12.4%) and ‘Machinery and transport equipment’ (-5.5%). For the same period, imports from our main suppliers fell for India (-15.6%) and China (-13.7%) but rose for France (+17.7%) and South Africa (+7.5%).
The trade deficit for the first quarter of 2016 amounts to Rs 16.3 billion, 0.9% lower than the deficit for the corresponding quarter of 2015. Statistics Mauritius estimates that total exports for the year 2016 will amount to Rs. 95 billion against Rs. 171 billion for imports, leading to a forecast of Rs. 76 billion for the trade deficit for 2016.
Source: Statistics Mauritius Website
World Trade Organisation Forecast for Trade Growth
In its latest projections, the WTO predicts a merchandise trade volume growth of 2.8% for 2016, unchanged from 2.8% in 2015. The Director-General of the WTO, Roberto Azvêdo, stated that: “Trade is still registering positive growth, albeit at a disappointing rate. This will be the fifth consecutive year of trade growth below 3%.” It is also expected that trade growth accelerates to 3.7% in 2017 with risks to the forecast on the downside, primarily due to financial volatility and subdued economic growth in emerging countries.
WTO experts also anticipate Asia to record the fastest export growth of any region in 2016 at 3.4%, followed by North America (3.1%), Europe (3.1%), South & Central America (1.9%) and Other Regions (0.4%). On the buy side, it is predicted that North America will register an imports growth of 4.1% whilst Asian and European imports should both increase by 3.2%. Imports of South and Central America and Other regions are set to contract again this year as oil and other commodity prices remain low, but the degree of contraction should be less than 2015.
Source: WTO Website
ZImbabwe Consignment Based Conformity Assessment
Since 1st March 2016, exports of certain products to Zimbabwe require a “Certificate of Conformity” that is issued by Bureau Veritas. This measure has come into effect under the Consignment Based Conformity Assessment (CBCA) Programme which aims to ensure that imported products meet quality, safety, health and environmental standards in line with the World Trade Organisation agreements. The complete list of products regulated under the Programme is available on the link below and includes food & agricultural products, petroleum & fuels, electronic goods and toys amongst others.
The programme is being enforced by the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, Standards Association of Zimbabwe, and Bureau Veritas officials through Statutory Instrument 132 of 2015. The official notice is attached below.
Introduction of Permits for Imports of Steel Products in the EU
Exporters of steel and steel products to countries of the European Union including Reunion Island are hereby informed that the European Commission has issued a regulation to introduce a prior Union Surveillance System on the imports of steel products into the European Union.
Prior Union surveillance is a system under which importers of steel and steel products into the European Union are required to apply and to submit an import license to EU customs prior to clearance. The issuing of such licences is fully automatic and has no limitation in terms of quantities or prices. The system will apply to products from all origins (with the exception of the countries of the European Economic Area).
The regulation introducing the system has entered into force since 29 April 2016 and would last till 2020. Imports without an import licence will be allowed for 21 days from the entry into force of the Regulation in order not to prevent the importation of products already on their way to the Union and to allow sufficient time to importers to request the necessary documents.
More information can be obtained by clicking on:
Exports to the EU: Food labelling nutrition information mandatory as from December 2016
Specific rules for the labelling, presentation and advertising of food are in place for the EU market since December 2014. From 13th December 2016 more detailed provisions, in particular with regard to nutrition information will apply. The requirement applies to all foods intended for exports and sales to the final consumer, including foods delivered by mass caterers, and food ingredients intended for their supply. The declaration of nutrition values will be compulsory from 13 December 2016 and must contain mandatory information on: energy value, amounts of fat, saturates, carbohydrates, sugars, protein and salt.
More information can be accessed by clicking on:
Workshop - Business Facilitation Tools for SMEs
The Mauritius Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) is organising a half-day workshop on ‘Business Facilitation Tools for SMEs’ which will be held on Tuesday 29 March 2016 at Le Labourdonnais Waterfront Hotel, Caudan, Port-Louis.The workshop aims to apprise SMEs on the various business facilitation tools available in Mauritius to improve the business and trade environment. The presentations will cover, inter alia, the Trade Obstacle Alert Mechanism recently set up in Mauritius in collaboration with the ‘International Trade Centre’ for reporting trade obstacles as well as the support services being provided by SMEDA under ‘MyBiz’ and by MCCI through the ‘SME Marketplace’. A copy of the draft program is attached below. Contact Mrs. Christiane Charlot to confirm your participation – Tel: 208 3301 / Email: email@example.com. You can also register online through the link provided.
New Regulations on the Organisation of Trade Fairs
The Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Consumer Protection has published The Consumer Protection (Control of Fairs) Regulations 2016 through the Government Notice No. 19 of 2016 to control the organisation of trade fairs in Mauritius.
The new Regulations prohibit the organisation of trade fairs on premises such as sports grounds, parking areas and gardens. A list of authorised items for display and sale during trade fairs is also specified.
The Consumer Protection (Events) Regulations 2013 are therefore revoked. A copy of the new Consumer Protection (Control of Fairs) Regulations 2016, which entered into force on 12 February 2016, is attached below.
Launch of the Single Window Platform
The National Single Window (Mauritius Trade link) was launched on Tuesday 26 January 2016 at the MRA Custom House, Mer Rouge in the context of the celebrations of the International Customs Day 2016 under the theme: Digital Customs: Progressive Engagement.
The Mauritius Trade link will act as a single web-based online portal for the submission and processing of import/export permits and respective clearance from Government agencies. The National Single Window project presents various benefits to the business community such as a reduction in the dwell time for import/export permits processing and clearance; reduced cost of doing business; 24/7 access to the portal via internet; and facilities for traders to track the progress of their applications/declarations in real time among others.
The Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Consumer Protection, is the first Government agency to join the Mauritius Trade link platform and eventually other ministries/agencies will follow in a phase-wise approach.
Regulation of Scrap Metal Activties in Mauritius
Cabinet has agreed to the following measures being taken with a view to better controlling and regulating scrap metal activities: (a) the export of scrap metal, including copper, would be banned; (b) steel manufacturing plants in Mauritius or any other buyer of scrap metal would pay to scrap metal operators the international market rate for scrap metal, exclusive of export charges (freight and insurance); and (c) no new scrap dealer licence would be issued. (Source: Cabinet Decisions, 15th January 2016)
New Procedures for Registration of Factories Qualified to Export Goods to Egypt
The Ministerial Decree 992/2015, attached below, stipulates that factories manufacturing products for export to Egypt must be registered with the General Organisation for Export and Import Control (GOEIC) within two months from the date of publication of the decree, i.e. 30th December 2015.
Only certain products are affected by this new provision, including food items, cosmetics, soaps and household electrical appliances. The complete list of products as well as the procedures for registration can be found on the site of GOEIC (http://www.goeic.gov.eg).
The WTO Nairobi Package
The WTO's Tenth Ministerial Conference was held in Nairobi, Kenya, from 15 to 19 December 2015. The Nairobi Package contains a series of six Ministerial Decisions on agriculture, cotton and issues related to least-developed countries (LDCs). These include a commitment to abolish export subsidies for agricultural exports.
The other agricultural decisions cover public stockholding for food security purposes, a special safeguard mechanism for developing countries, and measures related to cotton. Decisions were also made regarding preferential treatment for LDCs in the area of services and the criteria for determining whether exports from LDCs may benefit from trade preferences.
A centrepiece of the Nairobi Package is a Ministerial Decision on Export Competition. A number of countries are currently using export subsidies to support agriculture exports. The legally-binding decision would eliminate these subsidies and prevent governments from reverting to trade-distorting export support in the future.
On market access, the decision calls for cotton from LDCs to be given duty-free and quota-free access to the markets of developed countries and to those of developing countries as from 1 January 2016.
More information on the WTO Nairobi package can be accessed on the link below.
Impact of Biocidal Products Regulations on Exports to the European Union
The Biocidal Products Regulation (BPR, Regulation (EU) 528/2012) relates to the commercialisation and use of biocidal products, which are utilised to protect humans, animals, materials or articles against harmful organisms like pests or bacteria, by the action of active substances contained in the biocidal product.
Active substances need to be approved before authorisation for commercialising a biocidal product containing them can be granted. The approval of an active substance is granted for a defined number of years, not exceeding 10 years and is renewable.
It should be noted that the Biocidal Products Regulations also contains provisions that apply not only to biocidal products but also to manufactured goods if they have been treated with or incorporate a biocidal product. Article 58(2) of the Biocidal Products Regulations specifies that a treated article can only be placed on the EU market if it has been treated with active substances which have been approved in the EU for that purpose.
Manufacturers of non-compliant treated articles can:
i) switch to substances that are approved - a list of approved products is available here: http://echa.europa.eu/information-on-chemicals/biocidal-products
ii) undergo evaluation in the EU or submit either themselves or through a third party, an application for the approval of the active substance used to the European Chemical Agency by 01 September 2016. Further details on how to submit an application are available on the Agency’s website: http://echa.europa.eu/support/dossier-submission-tools/r4bp.
The Regulations can be accessed on the link below.
Pre-Export Verification of Conformity Required for All Exports to Kenya
A Pre-Export Verification of Conformity (PVoC) will now be mandatory for all exports shipped to Kenya on or after 1st December 2015.
PVoC is a conformity assessment procedure applied at the country of export to ensure that products entering the Kenyan market are compliant with the relevant Kenyan standards, approved specifications or applicable regulations.
All goods exported to Kenya must be inspected by agencies approved by KEBS prior to export to obtain the Certificate of Conformity (CoC). A list of agencies approved by KEBS is accessible on the link below. Presentation of the Certificate of Conformity will be a mandatory document for clearance of the goods under the scheme for both the Kenya Bureau of Standards and Kenya Revenue Authority.
A copy of the Public Notice released by Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) can be found in the attached document.
New Guidelines for Verification of Test Reports and Certificates of Conformity for Toys
Toys are controlled under the Toys Safety Regulations 1994 (GN 43 of 1994), whereby toys which are accompanied by a Certificate of Conformity or Test Report with the Mauritian Standard or European Standard or any equivalent standard shall be deemed to comply with the essential safety requirements of the regulations for physical and mechanical properties, flammability, chemical properties, electrical properties, hygiene and radioactivity. The Mauritius Standards Bureau (MSB) has released new guidelines on the procedures for the verification of Test Reports and Certificates of Conformity. In brief, a request form accompanied by copies of the Test Reports of Certificates of Conformity should be submitted to the MSB in person, by email or by fax. An application fee will be charged as per the Bureau’s policy for assessment of each multiple of 5 Test Reports or Certificates of Conformity. Further details and a copy of the request form are available in the document attached below.
First National Monitoring Committee Meeting Held on 05 November 2015
The National Monitoring Committee (NMC) met on 5th November 2015 to discuss the progress made in the implementation of the Trade Obstacles Alert Mechanism (TOAM). The NMC consists of representatives from all agencies that are linked on the platform and ensures the smooth functioning of the mechanism. During the meeting, the National Focal Point presented an update on the status of the various obstacles reported and the activities being carried out to sensitise economic operators. Moreover, agencies were able to provide additional details on their responses to reported obstacles and clarified any issues they encountered when using the online system. To date, 15 obstacles have been validated and published on the platform. 10 of these obstacles were encountered whilst importing into Mauritius. For detailed statistics on the reports, please click on the link below.
Investment Promotion (Amendment of Schedule) Regulations 2015
Attention is drawn to the holders of Occupation Permits that as per Government Notice No. 216 of 2015,
1. The annual income for the self-employed category has been increased from MUR 600,000 to MUR 1,200,000 as from the third year of activity.
2. The salary threshold for eligibility for an occupation permit as Professional has also been amended. The minimum monthly salary has been increased from MUR 45,000 to MUR 60,000. However, for all applications submitted prior to 31 October 2015, the salary threshold of MUR 45,000 still applies.
Source: Board of Investment
Amendments to the Consumer Protection (Price Label) Regulations
The Consumer Protection (Price Label) Regulations have been amended by Government Notice No. 206 of 2015 as follows:
1) Regulation 3 of the Principal Regulations is revoked.
It is to be recalled that Regulation 3 referred to:
“Where VAT is chargeable in respect of any goods exposed or kept for sale, white in colour; where VAT is not chargeable in respect of any goods exposed or kept for sale, blue in colour”.
2) Regulation 5 of the Principal Regulations is amended as follows:
A Price Label shall indicate the selling price of the goods together with the words:
a) “VAT INCLUSIVE”, where VAT is chargeable on the goods;
b) “VAT NIL”, where VAT is not chargeable on the goods;
c) “VAT ZERO”, where the goods are zero rated.
A copy of the Government Notice No. 206 of 2015 is attached below.
The Regulations will come into force on 9 November 2015.
MCCI Workshop: Expanding Your Trade Horizons
The Mauritius Chamber of Commerce and Industry is conducting a half day workshop on the Trade Obstacles Alert Mechanism (TOAM) which offers a unique opportunity for private operators to report, through an online platform, the trade barriers they encounter. In addition, this newly implemented trade facilitation tool allows the user to follow-up on actions taken by the authorities to resolve the reported obstacle whilst maintaining confidentiality. Targeted to Exporters, Importers, Manufacturers, Business Associations, SMEs and Freight Forwarders, the workshop will also provide an overview of the market opportunities available under our different Trade Agreements. The workshop will be held on Thursday 22nd October at Le Labourdonnais Waterfront Hotel, Caudan, Port-Louis from 09hrs15 to 13hrs30. A detailed agenda can be obtained by clicking on the link provided below. Contact Mrs. Christiane Charlot to confirm your participation – Tel: 208 3301/Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
E-Procurement in the Public Sector System (e-PS)
The Government e-Procurement System (e-PS) was launched on Monday 28 September 2015.
The e-PS is an online application that enables private suppliers to interface with CEOs, administrative, procurement and technical staff of more than 200 public bodies and the Central Procurement Board through the website: https://eproc.publicprocurement.govmu.org, to procure goods, works, consultant services and other services.
The e-PS benefits users in many ways, namely: expanding the use of ICT in the work environment; slendering the Government-to-Business Gap with the private sector; lowering transaction costs by going digital; and developing decision-making by reducing bureaucracy, among others.
You may obtain more information concerning the requirements for using the System, which includes the mandatory use of a Digital Certificate for the submission of bids, in the information note attached below.
Resolution of the First Obstacle on the TOAM Portal
About a month after the official launch of the TOAM platform, we are pleased to announce that the first obstacle has been resolved.
The reported problem involved lack of information on the procedures for obtaining a Compliance Certificate from the Mauritius Standards Bureau (MSB) for the importation of toys. To facilitate the process, the competent authority provided new guidelines with details on verification of Test Reports/Certificates of Conformity and on the issuance of Test Reports by the MSB.
The full report is attached below.
Official Launch of the Trade Obstacles Alert Mechanism
The official launch of the Trade Obstacles Alert Mechanism (TOAM) will take place on 10th September 2015.
The Trade Obstacles Alert Mechanism is an online tool designed and developed by the International Trade Centre (ITC) to facilitate the identification and elimination of trade obstacles faced by the business community.
The TOAM platform will provide a formal mechanism for the monitoring and resolution of trade obstacles through enhanced coordination between the public and private sectors.
The MCCI is the National Focal Point for the TOAM and will channel reported obstacles to the relevant agencies for follow-up and action. This will ensure efficient transmission of information between operators and government agencies in order to maintain confidentiality.
It is expected that the TOAM will help companies increase their competitiveness and hence reduce the cost of doing business. Furthermore, it will provide policy-makers and trade support institutions with access to an updated database of information regarding trade obstacles faced by operators.
Mauritius to put trade obstacles alert mechanism in place
Mauritius is planning to put in place a Trade Obstacles Alert Mechanism, to help businesses successfully overcome any obstacles they may face in the course of trading activities.
The Mechanism, which is to be operated using the existing Mauritius Trade Portal platform, is expected to be used by the corporate community to report obstacles which they may encounter during trade transactions.
Mauritius: Company Perspectives on non-tariff measures
Mauritian exporters claim to be less affected by trade barriers than many other countries that have participated in the ITC business surveys on non-tariff measures. Among the 400 Mauritian firms surveyed, 27% of exporters were adversely affected by non-tariff measures; 36% of importing firms reported they were affected by non-tariff measures.