Stakeholders learn more about iEPA rules of origin


This was through a two-day workshop hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance and the assistance of Trade Mark Southern Africa (TMSA).

The workshop, led by Stefano Inama, took place on Monday and Tuesday this week at the Maison de Football, Roche Caiman.

Its aim was to provide the delegates with a better understanding of the workings of the iEPA rules of origin, its criteria, procedures, comparable rules of origin agreement in the region, and any other administrative procedures of iEPA rules of origin.

The government of Seychelles and the European Union (EU) signed the iEPA in August 2009.
Other countries who have signed this agreement are Madagascar, Mauritius and Zimbabwe.

The iEPA agreement entered into force in Seychelles as well as the three other eastern and southern African countries on May 14, 2012.

The primary objective of this agreement was to allow developing countries to continue exporting their products at 0% tariff to the EU and to achieve a preferential trade arrangement which is compatible with relevant rules of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

As per conditions of the agreement, Seychelles will continue to export its product to the EU at 0% tariff and at the same time is required to make certain reciprocal concessions towards the EU, provided that both Seychelles and the EU can satisfy the rules of origin.

Implementation of these concessions nationally is expected to start at the beginning of 2013.

Rules of origin are laws, regulations and administrative rulings applied to determine the country of origin of a product so that customs authorities can evaluate if a product qualifies for a tariff preference. These rules vary from country to country and for different regions.
The workshop is part of a sensitisation campaign initiated by the Seychelles National iEPA committee to inform relevant stakeholders of the implications of the iEPA.

The workshop is fully funded by the TMSA, an organisation based in South Africa, and supported by the Department for International Development (DfID), which supports improvements to the trade performance and competitiveness in eastern and southern Africa.