09.16.14

Seychelles to accede to WTO in December

Posted in Bilateral Treaties, Business and Economy, International Organisations, International relations at 2:24 pm by Robert Klien

The Seychelles has concluded bilateral trade negotiations with all interested World Trade Organization (WTO) member states.

This moved the jurisdiction closer to acceding to the WTO by the end of 2014.

The final bilateral agreement with the USA was signed by the Seychelles in Geneva, Switzerland, on September 10, 2014. According to the Seychelles Ministry of Finance, Trade, and Investment, “Seychelles has now overcome the final hurdle toward accession, in what has been a lengthy and arduous, but nevertheless rewarding process.” The jurisdiction will host its 8th Working Party meeting in Geneva in October 2014, which is expected to be the last, prior to formal acceptance into the WTO. It is expected that its membership will be considered at the WTO Council meeting to be held in December this year.

Seychelles initially requested membership to the WTO in 1995, but made very little progress until it revisited the process in 2008. One of the main challenges the Seychelles faced is considered to be its limited experience of negotiating trade agreements. However, after 2008, the Government made significant progress to identify the required legislative changes, including enactments related to sanitary and phytosanitary measures and the protection of copyright and industrial property. By 2010, Seychelles had submitted offers for market access for goods and services and had established a Working Party.

Before signing the agreement with the United States, the Seychelles completed bilateral trade negotiations with 8 other WTO members – the European Union, Switzerland, Canada, Japan, Mauritius, Oman, South Africa, and Thailand.

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