The Prime Minister, Minister of Home Affairs, External Communications and National Development Unit, and Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Mr. Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, chaired the Ministerial Committee on BREXIT yesterday to review recent developments on Brexit following the United Kingdom's decision to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon treaty on 29 March 2017.
The Joint Working Group (JWG) submitted a report on the impact of BREXIT on our economy with particular focus on three strategic thrusts, namely support to vulnerable companies; addressing the potential threats with regard to trade relations with United Kingdom; and seizing the new opportunities that may emerge.
With regard to emerging opportunities, Government will pursue its diversification strategy and, in particular, capitalise on the strengths in the financial sector such as:
· Position Mauritius as an attractive choice for asset managers to house their activities in Mauritius
· Develop synergies between Mauritian services providers and new European Access Centres such as Luxembourg and Malta to set up support units in Mauritius
· Market Mauritius as an 'Insourcing Centre' for United Kingdom's banking and insurance institutions
· Attract High Net Worth Individuals to shift part of their wealth to be managed from Mauritius.
The JWG has been mandated to work further on these strategies and to come up with action plans to deal with the Brexit issues.
During the meeting, potential threats were discussed and the main issue identified is ensuring the maintenance of our preferences on the United Kingdom market. Mauritius has raised this issue in different regional and international fora such as African Caribbean Pacific (ACP) group, African Union, Southern African Development Community, Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, Economic Partnership Agreement Committee with the European Union and Commonwealth organisation.
At the ACP Trade Ministerial meeting held on 9 December 2016 in Brussels and at the Commonwealth Trade Ministers Meeting held on 10 March 2017 in London, the United Kingdom Permanent representative in Brussels, Ambassador Augus Lapsley and the United Kingdom Minister of State at the Department for International Trade, Lord Price, have respectively given assurances that the preferential market access will be maintained for all ACP and Commonwealth countries. This measure is expected to give comfort to Mauritian exporters.
With respect to support to vulnerable companies, the Speed to Market scheme (STMs) has already been implemented as from 1 April 2017, providing 40% rebate on air freight and the need to formulate additional instruments to support overexposed companies have been discussed. The STMs aims at giving a boost to textile and apparel export to European countries including United Kingdom and to enhance product delivery in terms of speed-to-market.