Trade Performance Review 2005: Mauritius

Year of publication: 
2005
Author(s): 
Sawkut Rojid
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The overall trade balance for Mauritius, as shown in Table 1, has been negative throughout the period 1999 and 2003, with the highest trade deficit registered in the last year under study. During this year, the total value of exported goods showed an increase, although the main exporting sectors recorded poor performances. Due to persisting difficulties in the clothing sector, the EPZ sector showed a drop in exports by 3.8 %. Exports of sugar also dropped, by around 0.9 % in 2003.

The difficulties in the clothing sector were due to the closure of a number of foreign-owned firms and jobs losses. This is because the MFA quotas were to be completely phased out on Jan 1st 2005. Foreign investors, especially from Hong Kong, who in the 1980s located or relocated their clothing firms to Mauritius to circumvent MFA quotas, have started relocating their firms to Madagascar, Hong Kong and China. During the period March 1999 to March 2003, the number of firms in the wearing apparel sector fell from 357 to 313 and the number of employees in that sector fell from 75,699 to 68,344. The drop in sugar exports was due to a drop in sugar production following the passage of cyclone Gerry in Feb 2003 and to the excessive rainfall registered during the first 6 months of the year. However in the year 2003, the increase in merchandise imports more than offset the increase in merchandise exports causing a more pronounced trade deficit. The increased price of oil and the purchase of an aircraft were the main factors showing an increase in imports in that year.

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