Mauritius Market Entry

Mauritius Market Entry

Subchapters:

  • Market entry
  • Forms and conditions of operation on the market
  • Marketing and Communications
  • Issues of intellectual property protection
  • Public procurement market
  • Payment terms, payment ethics and resolution of commercial disputes
  • Visas, fees, specific conditions of travel to the territory
  • Employment of citizens from the Czech Republic
  • Fairs and events

Market entry

The Mauritian market is a relatively mature market. Most global companies are present on the market. Precision and solidity in mutual cooperation are a matter of course, and cultural customs also play a role. For goods of a consumer nature, most companies prefer to connect directly to the manufacturer in order to save costs on intermediaries. For other products, it is recommended to ship through a local agent/distributor. Check smber for agriculture and fishing facts of Mauritius.

Registration of importers and exporters takes place online at the website of the Mauritius Revenue Authority, www.mra.mu.

When importing any goods, it is necessary to go through customs clearance, when exporting, fill out an export declaration. The procedure for importing goods to Mauritius, including the export of goods, is clearly presented on its website by the Mauritian Revenue Institution (www.mra.mu) and lists all the necessary measures, documents and the amount of customs rates for individual products. Mauritius is an open economy and therefore the customs burden on imports is not that high. The exception is products manufactured in Mauritius.

The import restriction is applied to the following selected products:

  • Foodstuffs
  • Agricultural production (fruits, vegetables, flowers, seeds)
  • Medicines
  • Live animals – veterinary / quarantine procedure
  • tobacco – Tobacco Board
  • tea – Tea Board
  • toys and some other consumables (eg iron rods, electric cables) – Mauritius Standards Bureau

The complete list can be downloaded from this link: https://www.mra.mu/download/ProhibitedRestricted.pdf

Information on prohibited products for import and export:

Products prohibited for export from Mauritius include:

– National heritage products – these are the products/goods listed in Section 12 and the Schedule to the National Heritage Fund Act 2003, without the prior approval of the National Heritage Fund Council.
– Copper exported as scrap – refined copper and copper alloys, unwrought, classified under HS code 7403 exported as scrap, copper scrap and scrap classified under HS code 7404.

Forms and conditions of operation on the market

Mauritius maintains its position as the most “business friendly” country in sub-Saharan Africa and the Mauritian government intensified efforts in 2019 to implement measures to support business and attract investment in key export areas. At the end of July 2019, the Business Facilitation Act was published, which changed many regulations and legislation. This law facilitated trading and the payment of market fees, established the Department of Business and Business Registration – CBRD (department of the Ministry of Finance) as a single point of contact for entrepreneurs and investors (the so-called one stop shop), accelerated the issuance of building permits and business licenses, and introduced news regarding residence permit.

There are 4 types of companies that can be established in Mauritius:

  • Domestic Company – has its headquarters and does business in Mauritius and can be established within 2-3 days. This is the simplest type of company and can be used for various types of activities. It must have at least one shareholder (including a non-resident) and at least one director resident in Mauritius, and for the company to avoid tax residency elsewhere, the number of directors resident in Mauritius must exceed the number of non-resident directors. The company is obliged to pay corporate income tax.
  • Authorized Company – this is a new type of company that replaced the GBC 2. This company can apply for permission to operate if the majority of the shares or beneficial interest is held or controlled by a person who is not a citizen of Mauritius and at the same time conducts business outside of Mauritius and has real leadership outside of Mauritius as well. The company may not operate – banking, financial services and various managerial and administrative services. The company must have at least one shareholder and corporation tax is only payable on income originating in Mauritius.
  • Global Business Company (GBC) – replaced the original GBC1 and covers any business activities in and outside Mauritius. It must have at least one shareholder (even a non-resident) and at least 2 directors resident in Mauritius. The actual management must be operated from Mauritius, where it must also have its registered office. Corporate income tax applies.
  • Protected Cell Company – a separate legal entity and cells are not separate legal entities that would be separated from it. There is always one nucleus and no cells. The company must have its registered office in Mauritius, at least one shareholder and at least 2 directors resident in Mauritius. Actual management must be from Mauritius and taxation is the same as GBC with each cell being taxed separately.

More information on starting a business in Mauritius is provided on the Economic Development Board (EDB) website link.

Marketing and communication

Due to the maturity of the Mauritian market, promotion, marketing and advertising are one of the basic prerequisites for success in the market. A number of specialized companies and associations operate in this field, which are able to provide service at a high professional level.

Notable PR and advertising agencies include:

  • Maluti Communications – a specialist in corporate communications with the public, established in Mauritius in 2003, website: www.maluti.mu
  • Concrete Agency – specialist in PR communication, website: www.concreatepr.mu
  • Global Integrated Digital Agency – specialist in digital communication, marketing and branding campaigns, website: www.smartmedia.agency
  • Blast BCW – main PR agency, communication and media services, branding, website: www.blast.mu

We do not find many regular trade fairs and exhibitions in Mauritius, although it is gradually becoming an increasingly popular destination for congresses and conferences, at least within the African continent.

Information on upcoming events can be found on the website of the Economic Council for the Development of the EDB, including trade missions from Mauritius to trade fairs in other countries.

Exhibition venue in Mauritius: Swami Vivekananda International Convention Center – SVICC.

Issues of intellectual property protection

The legislative framework for the enforcement of intellectual property rights in Mauritius was initially established to protect copyrights, trademarks, patents – the Patents Act 1875; the Trade Marks Act of 1868 and the Copyright Act of 1956 constitute the oldest legislation. The enforcement mechanism for intellectual property rights changed in 1995 when the TRIPS Agreement (Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) of the World Trade Organization entered into force. In the interests of conformity and the principles established in TRIPS, the following legal norms have been adopted:

  • copyright law, adopted in 1997;
  • the Patents, Designs and Trade Marks Act 2002;
  • the Protection against Unfair Practices (Industrial Property) Act 2002;
  • the Design (Topography) of Integrated Circuits Act 2002;
  • the Geographical Indications Act 2002.

The institutional framework for the enforcement of intellectual property rights consists of several bodies. The Office of Industrial Property, a department under the auspices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Regional Cooperation, is responsible for processing the registration of patents, trademarks and industrial designs. The Court of Industrial Property decides on cases such as the rejection of an application for registration with the possibility of appeal to the Supreme Court.

Regarding copyright, the Mauritius Society of Authors administers the property rights of copyright owners and exclusive licenses; grants permission to use protected works and is responsible for collecting and disbursing royalties. In addition, the Ministry of Arts and Culture operates a so-called Copyright Desk responsible for informing the public and registering copyrights.

To enforce intellectual property rights, the customs department of the Mauritius Revenue Authority is authorized to detain suspected counterfeit goods upon entry into the country, provided that the trademark owner has undergone prior registration procedures.

Detailed information, incl. upcoming legislative changes and practical instructions for companies can be downloaded from the website of the government’s business and information portal.

Public procurement market

The field of public procurement in Mauritius is governed by the Public Procurement Act of 2006, as amended and subsequent legal acts.

Tendered public contracts are published on the central portal for public contracts.

In addition to the Public Procurement Office, which falls under the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, this area is also overseen by the Central Public Procurement Board (see the website for a description of the public procurement process in Mauritius).

The public procurement system is electronic and represents the most advanced system of its kind in Africa.

Mauritius Market Entry