According to the minister, the economic situation in the Euro zone is forecasted to improve only slightly, as depicted by the International Monetary Fund, with a growth rate of advanced economies at around 1.5% in 2013. The growth rates in traditional markets such as the United Kingdom, France and the United States are forecasted to be 1.1%, 0.4% and 2.1% respectively for 2013. The economic growth for Mauritius is forecasted at 3.7% for 2013, which is well above those registered in advanced economies.
Growth in the Manufacturing Sector is forecasted at 2% for 2013. Export oriented enterprises have exported to the tune of Rs 46.2 billion last year. Figures reveal that three major textile and clothing products have depicted improved export performance in 2012 with growth rates of 44.4% (pullovers), 16 % (trousers) and 9.5% (shirts).
Export of T-shirts declined by 11% last year, a situation similar among many of our competitors. Data available for the first half of 2012 show decline for China (-18.8%), India (-31.0%), Sri Lanka (-18.3%), and Turkey (-8.5%). During period January to November 2012, positive performance was noted in the export of fish and fish preparation (+33%) and jewellery and precious stones (+15%).
For the year 2012, Enterprise Mauritius (EM) has also emphasised on non-traditional markets within Europe as well as in emerging and regional markets, where visibility would help market diversification. In this regard, 38 export promotion events benefited some 642 enterprises, out of which 434 SMEs resulting in Rs. 2.25 billion of expected orders. For the year 2013, EM will organise and participate in 47 export promotion events for Rs 145m for market consolidation, expansion and diversification into traditional, regional and emerging markets. Moreover, 21 events will be geared for the African market and 16 events will be dedicated to intensify our market presence in EU and the USA.
Minister Sayed-Hossen said that the Ministry wants to give a new orientation to the Manufacturing Sector and revamp the industry sector. In this context, apart from the Africa Strategy announced in last Budget, there will be enhanced promotional efforts towards the US in 2013, which are expected to help reduce dependence on the Euro Zone. Activities for 2013 will include participation in the Magic Show and Texworld for Textile and Clothing and JCK Las Vegas for Jewellery, the organisation of a contact promotion programme, and the strengthening of EM Liaison Office under the responsibility of Mrs Barbara Ende.
For the year 2012, the Mauritius Standards Bureau (MSB) generated about Rs 26 million, which represents around 45% of its recurrent budget, compared to Rs 23.2m in 2011. The MSB has developed standards for Basmati rice, protective shoes, and solar water heater.
Moreover, new activities by the MSB will include the development of a National Eco-labelling framework for agriculture and food products, under the MID, and the setting up of Global Gap Certification Scheme and an eco-labelling scheme for hotels. Global Gap standards are the new passports for the commercialisation of agricultural products, and certification to Global Gap standards are increasingly becoming a requirement imposed by international buyers.
According to the minister, activities in year 2013 should help to leverage on potential in the African market and emerging markets including India. “We need new infrastructure to entice new investments. We need also leverage on new incentives in the last budget for Freeport activities. Development of closer bilateral ties with countries like India should open new vistas”, he said.