Intra-SADC Trade Performance Review 2006: Chapter 3: Mauritius

Year of publication: 
Sawkut Rojid, University of Mauritius
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Mauritius continued to diversify its exports during the period under review. Significantly, though, the fastest growing exports to the world were not its major export products. Of concern was the fact that out of the top five fastest growing exports to the world, Mauritius had a revealed comparative disadvantage in three categories - H39, H34 and H42. The clothing sector, which was traditionally one of its leading export revenue earners, was not among its list of 20 fastest growing export commodities even though, up until the late 1990s, it was Mauritius’s boom sector. The decline of this sector was attributable to the phasing out of the MFA.

Mauritius has long depended on the preferential status granted to it by developed nations for it to export certain products to developed countries’ markets, particularly those in the EU and the US. With the phasing out of the MFA, the Mauritian government was pushed into adopting a more proactive and aggressive trade policy. Still, sugar and wearing apparel were, for the period under review, Mauritius’s two main exports.

On a positive note, whilst the economy is known to be driven by mainly tourism, as well as exports of sugar and textiles, the inflows experienced in the services sector, in particular the banking and ICT sub-sectors, seems to be evidence that Mauritius is able to successfully diversify the types of investment attracted.