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Introduction: The only deep water harbour of the island, Port
Louis, which is also the capital city, is being transformed into
a Free-Port Zone. It is hoped that the strategic position
of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean will transform the island into
a gateway between the African continent and Asia for goods and
The Freeport Act 1992 provides for the establishment of free port
zones in Mauritius and for the regulation of their operations.
It also provides for the setting up of the Mauritius Freeport
Authority which is a body corporate to be administered by a Board.
The objects of the Authority are as follows:
The Authority has the power to:
The Freeport zones are defined in a schedule to the Act and are
situated in Port Louis and at the International Airport. Any area
delimited as a Freeport zone under this Act is considered not
to be an area within Mauritius. The Authority ensures that it
is properly enclosed, maintained and guarded with appropriate
authorised entry and exit points. This prevents evasion of custom
duty, import levy and sales tax.
The activities authorised within a Freeport zone are:
The Freeport legislation provides for a liberal and comprehensive incentive package for companies looking for a cost-effective storage, assembly, and redistribution location.
Mauritius offers several advantages for companies operating form its Freeport. These are the membership of Mauritius to the Indian Ocean Commission, to the Preferential Trade Agreement, the Cross Border Initiative and the Lomé Convention. Furthermore Mauritius is situated relatively close to the African mainland and has had a long history of trade ( though on a modest scale) with countries in the region.
The port and airport infrastructures are of high standard and
telecommunications with the rest of the world are swift and reliable.
The economic advantages for Mauritius are expected to be manifold, direct and indirect. These include:
1995/1996 (9 months)
Value (Rs 000's)
Value (Rs 000's)
An analysis of the volume of importation by country indicates that 27% of the goods originate form China, 11% from India and 10% from Thailand. South East Asia countries and South-Africa contribute a fair share of the imports.
As for re-export, Madagascar is the main market absorbing 62% of the total value, while South-Africa and Reunion Island import 8% and 4% respectively of the total.
Textiles constitute 45% of the goods re-exported while electrical
goods and chemical products make up 10% and 8% of the total respectively.
Back to : The Economy
Date on the web: Thursday, January 22, 1998
Last Update: 14th of September 1999