Seychelles’ move to become WTO member on track


This follows a recent review of the latest developments of Seychelles’ accession to the world trade body.

At the third working party meeting on the accession of Seychelles, members reviewed the state of play in the bilateral market access negotiations and examined Seychelles’ legislative developments and its trade regime.

The chief negotiator of Seychelles, Charles Morin, said that Seychelles has made significant progress in meeting accession requirements and had presented their revised goods and services offers in April and May 2012.
He noted that despite the limited human and financial resources, Seychelles has made remarkable progress and has recently established a mission in Geneva that will be handling WTO issues and therefore ease the accession process.

He added that Seychelles is in a unique position as one of the smallest economies in the world and its economy is prone to external shocks.
He asked members to recognise the specificities and constraints that Seychelles faces and to allow it the policy space to attain its development objectives.

Representatives from the European Union, Lesotho (on behalf of the African Group), Oman, Brazil, Mauritius (on behalf of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group), India, Australia, South Africa, the United States, China, Canada and Barbados expressed their appreciation for the substantive work that Seychelles has undertaken to advance its accession.
Some members also voiced their support for allowing for more flexibility in the accession of a small and vulnerable economy such as Seychelles.

During the discussion, members raised specific questions and requested further clarification on a number of areas: economic policies, trading rights, import regulations, customs valuation, export regulations, internal policies affecting foreign trade in goods, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, intellectual property and transparency.

The chairperson of the working party, Hilda Ali Al-Hinai (Oman), said the meeting had successfully advanced the examination of all aspects of Seychelles’ economic and trade regime.
She congratulated Seychelles for successfully establishing a mission in Geneva and praised Seychelles for the quantity and quality of the documents it has submitted.

Seychelles has already signed three bilateral market access agreements with Oman, Mauritius and Canada.

The Seychelles delegation also held bilateral negotiations with the European Union, South Africa, Thailand, and the United States which according to all parties involved progress was made.