During his address at the CII Partnership Summit in Bangalore on 28 January this year, Director General of the WTO Roberto Azevedo said that after 18 years of discussions and rounds, the WTO finally delivered a negotiated outcome.
The recently agreed Bali package can provide the biggest non-fiscal stimulus to International Trade through the Trade Facilitation Agreement aimed at fostering a surge in trade within the global economy in a post financial crisis era. The estimated potential lowering of transaction costs by as much as 15 percent in cross-border trade worldwide will have a direct impact on the profit margin of enterprises. With the further lowering of tariffs being negotiated at the level of the proposed Tripartite Free Trade Area (COMESA, SADC & EAC), Mauritian manufacturers will enjoy even greater market access to the region. The need to devise a national export development strategy with all stakeholders concerned becomes critical.
A manufacturing led economic growth strategy will firmly position Mauritius in the Global Value Chain where products are now “made in the world” as opposed to the entire processes being performed in a single country. With a significant services component within manufacturing, the demarcation line between manufacturing and services has become blurred and enhanced competitiveness within one sector has a direct bearing on the other.
This mutually reinforcing symbiotic relationship could deliver the much needed growth that we need to reduce unemployment.