GIS – October 16, 2014: A Trade Obstacles Alert Mechanism was presented to relevant stakeholders for brainstorming this morning during a national workshop at Le Labourdonnais Waterfront Hotel, in Port Louis. The purpose of the Mechanism is to identify and eliminate trade barriers, enhance transparency in decision-making processes, improve public and private sector dialogue and promote inter-agency dialogue.
Organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, in collaboration with the International Trade Centre (ITC), the one-day workshop is bringing together some 45 representatives from various Ministries and institutions as well as from the private sector.
In her opening address, the Acting Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, Mrs Usha Dwarka-Canabady explained the importance of having an institutionalised mechanism that would help in eliminating trade barriers. The Trade Obstacles Alert Mechanism would take stock of and address obstacles to trade and investment as these arise, she stated.
The Acting Secretary for Foreign Affairs also said that the Mechanism will only deliver if all the agencies concerned with implementation of trade and investment related policies participate effectively in the Mechanism.
As regards the streamlining of business and trade procedures and eliminating burdensome administrative hurdles, Mrs Dwarka-Canabady, observed that substantial progress has already been achieved. She mentioned the promulgation of the 2006 Business Facilitation Act; elimination of some 26 licenses in 2013; and removal of customs duties on some 87% of tariff lines as notable examples.
Trade Obstacle Alert Mechanism
The Trade Obstacles Alert Mechanism will be operated using the existing Mauritius Trade Portal platform and used by the business community to report obstacles which they may encounter during their trading activities.
Once reported, these barriers would be channelled to the relevant Government agencies such as Customs, Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Consumer Protection, Ministry of Agro-Industry and Food Security, Ministry of Health and Quality of Life to find solution, where required.
The Mechanism will be jointly operated by the public and private sectors. The Mauritius Chamber of Commerce and Industry will act as the focal point to receive the alert from the operators to be subsequently channelled to the Government agencies. The Chamber will also coordinate proposals from the private sector on better regulations to improve trade and investment opportunities and receive comments on proposed regulations through the Trade Alert System.
It is recalled that the Trade Obstacles Alert Mechanism developed by ITC and implemented in Côte d’Ivoire has helped resolve about 25% of obstacles reported by business operators.
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