Mauritius maintains a list of preferred trading partners to which it gives preferential tariff rates. Taxes on imports from the preferred list are levied at 0% to 80%. Imports of goods from other countries, at the 55% rate or higher, are subject to an additional 10% duty. A value-added tax (VAT) of 12% is levied on all imports. Vehicles, petroleum, alcohol, cigarettes, and furniture are subject to special excise duties of up to 360%.
Most imports require a license and state enterprises control the import of rice, wheat, flour, petroleum, cement, tea, tobacco, and sugar. There are few export controls, except the need for licenses to export sugar, tea, vegetables, fruits, meat, fish, textiles, pharmaceuticals, gold, live animals, coral, and shells.
Mauritius is a member of the South African Development Community (SADC), whose objective is creation of a free trade area by 2005. The country is also a member of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), which gives preferential rates of duty between member states.