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International relations

Beijing expands Indian Ocean FTAs westward with Mauritius

Concern among small island nations over huge trade imbalances with China

Port Louis, the Mauritian capital, is getting busier as the free trade agreement with China comes into play, but observers are concerned that the balance of trade is already in Beijing's favor by a factor of over 30. (Photo by Yuji Kuronuma)

BANGKOK -- China's free trade agreement with the small island-nation of Mauritius came into effect in January, increasing the Asian powerhouse's presence in the Indian Ocean where its regional rival India has long dominated. 

The deal was signed in October 2019 and is the first for Beijing with an African country. It is expected to pave the way for China into the large and lucrative African market, and coincides with the launch of the African Continental Free Trade Area, home to an estimated 1.3 billion consumers.

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