MNAs better equipped to negotiate trade pacts


 Mr Faure addressing the delegates on Monday

Seychellois MNAs have been negotiating trade agreements with bodies like the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and are expected to take part in talks pressing our case for accession into the organisation.

The key role that parliaments have to play in managing and overseeing trade policies is one of the topics they covered during the workshop which ended yesterday at the Berjaya Beau Vallon Bay resort.

They also learned how trade systems are made up, the rules they follow and how they work, in a topic that apprised them on what effect trade has on growth and development.

The MNAs also studied the WTO system and the Doha Development Agenda, which sought to deal with deadlocks on agricultural tariffs and subsidies.

The Doha negotiations have featured differences between the United States, the European Union, and developing countries on major issues, such as agriculture, industrial tariffs and non-tariff barriers, services, and trade remedies.

Yesterday the delegates talked about regional trade arrangements and how countries of the region can work together to make the best of opportunities and overcome hurdles.

They also made an overview of trade policies for MNAs and studied what challenges exist in trade and development.

The delegates came from the parliaments of Ghana, Uganda, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Kenya, Cameroon, Mauritius, Tanzania and Seychelles.

The workshop was hosted by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, the Commonwealth secretariat and the Seychelles National Assembly.

It was officially launched by Vice-President Danny Faure, who told the delegates that Seychelles’ vision is to ensure the country is brought into the fold of the global economy.

“Regional integration will be the necessary platform for the smooth transition of Seychelles into this global economy. These will allow Seychelles to develop and create competitiveness in niche markets as well as in our main economic pillars.  Currently, Seychelles has 86% of its customs duties at 0%,” he said.

He urged the MNAs to take a fuller and more active role in the preparation of trade policy, and expressed hope that concrete frameworks – whereby they can work together to ensure that the checks and balances on our negotiators – are in place long before the final agreements come to them for domestication.

“I look forward to seeing a more active engagement of parliamentarians in assisting with the  formulation and execution of trade policy for your countries, for the region and for the African continent,” said Mr Faure.