‘Seychelles cannot afford to be left out of the WTO’


Mr Fanny addressing delegates at the opening of the workshop yesterday

This viewpoint emerged at a two-day workshop hosted by the Trade Division of the Ministry of Finance, Trade and Investment in conjunction with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Industry. The workshop is based on technical barriers to trade (TBT) agreement and the issues around its implementation in Seychelles.

Technical regulations and product standards may vary from country to country, and having many different regulations and standards can make life difficult for producers and exporters. According to the WTO, the TBT agreement seeks to ensure that regulations, standards, testing and certification procedures do not create unnecessary obstacles, while also providing members with the right to implement measures to achieve legitimate policy objectives, such as the protection of human health and safety, or the environment.

The workshop is being facilitated by Thomas Mathew from the United Nations Conference of Trade and Development (UNCTAD) secretariat and Devin McDaniels, economist at the WTO. It covers the main principles and disciplines of the agreement and is directed at officials responsible for Seychelles’ accession to the WTO and also exporters, businesspeople and other stakeholders concerned with accessing export markets.

Mr Mathew said that although it was a costly procedure to comply with the regulations surrounding the TBT agreement, the benefits far outweigh the costs as they would help Seychelles to benefit fully from WTO membership.

Mr Fanny said that although Seychelles re-engaged in the process of joining the WTO, many Seychellois still did not know how becoming a member of the WTO would benefit the country.

“As a small nation, it will strengthen and reinforce our domestic and international policies, laws, technical capacity and institution to conduct international trade,” said Mr Fanny. “As a small nation, we get a friend that will help us in terms of benefitting from access to new markets to sell our good and services,” said Mr Fanny.

 “When we do get access to WTO membership, we will know that we are getting access for the right reasons and that we have gone through this agreement in minute detail to make sure that we have read the small print and we will make sure that in the future we will reap all the benefits that we can get from joining the WTO.”