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Dissemination Workshop on Trade Facilitation Reforms

In line with its mandate to facilitate the implementation of reforms, the Economic Development Board (EDB) in collaboration with the Mauritius Revenue Authority (MRA - Customs) and Mauritius Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) organized a full-fledged workshop on Trade Facilitation Reforms on 5th March 2020 at the Caudan Arts Centre, Port-Louis.  The event was attended by over 100 participants comprising importers, exporters, freight forwarders, customs brokers, and other relevant stakeholders from both private and public sector involved in the logistics supply chain.

The workshop served as a communication platform to disseminate information pertaining to new processes which have been implemented by the MRA Customs and other Government agencies in the wake of the Business Facilitation (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2019.  Moreover, a comprehensive overview of the trade ecosystem was presented to allow relevant stakeholders to gauge the amendments made in several legislations and harness the opportunities put at their disposal.  These reforms will act as an enabler to further enhance and facilitate the investment and business climate.  Moreover, these ongoing reforms have been implemented to streamline processes with a view to bolster cross-border trade.

It should also be highlighted that Business Facilitation (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2019, was followed by a series of amendments in existing Regulations as well as new Regulations to improve import and export procedures.

In his welcome address, Mr. Zakir Caunhye, Head of the Doing Business Reform Implementation & Monitoring commended the efforts of all stakeholders for their commitment and involvement in consultations to address challenges and impediments which hinder imports and exports.  Mr. Caunhye also underlined that stakeholder insights and involvement is instrumental in bringing a new dynamism in the trade landscape.

A comprehensive presentation on WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) was showcased by Mrs. N. Butonkee, Trade Policy Analyst, International Trade Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration & International Trade.  Mrs. Butonkee underscored that trade facilitation measures remain an important agenda of the Government and in this perspective a National Trade Facilitation Implementation plan has been drafted to meet the objectives of the WTO.

Ms. Ines Zabalbeitia Mugica, Regulatory Specialist at the World Bank highlighted the international best practices for trading across borders and outlined the eight indicators which contribute to the trading across borders ranking in the Doing Business Report.  She also added that Mauritius is the best performing economy trading through a seaport in Sub-Saharan Africa.

On the other hand, Mr. J Audit, Section Head of the MRA Customs Department has enumerated the series of reforms implemented over the years such as the electronic submission of risk-based inspections, upgrading of risk-management & the Cargo Community System and the Coordinated Border Management.

The Mauritius Ports Authority, the Mauritius Standards Bureau, the ICTA and the Radiation Safety and Nuclear Security Authority also featured in-depth presentations pertaining to new processes and regulations regarding imports and exports.  The event was concluded with three interactive sessions by the Ministry of Health & Wellness, Ministry of Commerce and Consumer Protection and the Ministry of Agro Industry and Food Security.

Click here to access the programme.