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US And Mauritius Begin TIFA Negotiations

by Lorys Charalambous,, Cyprus

17 November 2006

After Mauritius and the US signed a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement in September, a first priority-setting meeting took place at the US Embassy in Port Louis this week by video conference.

Mauritian Foreign Affairs, International Trade, and Cooperation Minister Madan Murlidhar Dulloo together with Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Anand Neewoor and other Mauritian officials conferred with an American team led by Assistant US Trade Representative Florie Lister and Senior Director for Trade Capacity Building Mary Ott.

The meeting established the main lines of a work-plan, the major priorities for the TIFA, and the composition of the United States-Mauritius Trade and Investment Council, which is to be formed to address a wide range of subjects, including trade promotion and development, export diversification, trade capacity building, intellectual property, labor, investment, and environmental issues. The Council will establish an ongoing dialogue that will help increase commercial and investment opportunities by identifying and working to remove impediments to trade and investment flows between the United States and Mauritius.

The TIFA will provide a formal mechanism to address bilateral trade issues and will help enhance trade and investment relations between the United States and Mauritius. "Mauritius’ experience demonstrates how trade and investment can fuel economic growth and development," Ambassador Bhatia said in September, adding: "The Government of Mauritius has an impressive track record on democracy, economic growth, openness to foreign direct investment, economic diversification, and the expansion of trade. The TIFA will provide an opportunity for our governments to work together to expand trade between our two countries and to work more closely on a broad range of trade-related issues, including moving the World Trade Organization Doha Development Round forward and on signing the African Growth and Opportunity Act."

Mauritius officials declared themseves satisfied after the meeting. "We were able to cover all the items on the agenda, and we agreed to have a further video conference this month or next," said a spokes-person. A first formal meeting is due to take place in Port Louis in January.

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