Seychelles-India Agreement for military use of island being revised

Posted in Bilateral Treaties, International relations at 9:41 pm by Robert Klien

The agreement between India and Seychelles to build military infrastructures on the remote island of Assumption has been revised and will be signed on January 27.

The decision followed an extraordinary meeting between the President of Seychelles, Danny Faure, and his Cabinet of Ministers on Tuesday.

The agreement was  signed during the official visit of the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Seychelles in March 2015 to be the first one that was supposed to go before the Seychelles National Assembly for ratification as stipulated in the constitution.

The Secretary of State of the Foreign Affairs department Barry Faure said that when the agreement was signed the intention was not for India to take control of the island. “Although the project was being financed entirely by India, Seychelles retains full ownership of the facilities and sovereign rights over the island,” he said.

The remote island of Assumption is situated some 1,140 southwest of the Seychelles main island of Mahe.



Seychelles and Kenya to strengthen ties in trade, tourism, security

Posted in Bilateral Treaties, Diplomatic missions, International relations at 6:16 pm by Robert Klien

During a visit to Kenya, Seychelles’ President Danny Faure and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta entered into a wide-reaching agreement aimed to enhance ties in trade and security

President Faure left Seychelles on April 2 on his first state visit since he took office in October 2016 following the resignation of former President James Michel.

The agreement was the culmination of bilateral discussions between the two heads of state at the State House in Nairobi on April 3. The agreement will see Kenya export more human capital (for example, teachers) and agricultural products to Seychelles.

President Faure said it makes more economic sense for Seychelles to import beef and poultry from Kenya instead of countries like Brazil. In the maritime sector, Seychelles has expressed its support to Kenya in developing its fishing industry, where President Kenyatta said little attention has been paid to since its independence. Seychelles will also support Kenya to develop the capacity of the port of Mombasa to act as a fish trans-shipment port.

The two Presidents also agreed for the two countries to cooperate in tourism development by partnering the agencies managing the sectors.


Seychelles signs TIEA with India

Posted in Bilateral Treaties, Business and Economy, International relations at 12:59 pm by Robert Klien

According to an announcement issued by the Indian Government’s information bureau, the Cabinet has approved the signing of a tax information exchange agreement (TIEA) between Seychelles and India.

The statement was made on August 20, 2015 to explain that the agreement will encourage the flow of information with respect to taxes in order to help curb tax avoidance and evasion.

The agreement will enable the Competent Authorities of both jurisdictions to provide assistance through exchange of information relevant to the administration and enforcement of the domestic laws of two countries concerning taxes covered by this TIEA. Information received under the tax information exchange agreement is to be treated as confidential and may be disclosed only to persons or authorities concerned with assessment, collection, enforcement, prosecution, or determination of appeals, in relation to taxes covered under the agreement. Information may be disclosed to any other person or entity or authority or jurisdiction with the prior written consent of the country sending the information.

Also, the document provides for a Mutual Agreement Procedure for resolving any difference or for agreeing on procedures under the agreement.

The TIEA will enter into force on the date of notification of completion of procedures required by the respective laws of the two countries.

India has signed similar bilateral agreements for Exchange of Tax Information with Argentina, Bahamas, Bahrain, Belize, Bermuda, BVI, Cayman Islands, Gibraltar, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Jersey, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Macao, Monaco and San Marino.


Seychelles and Qingdao promoting mutual trade and investment

Posted in Bilateral Treaties, Business and Economy, Double Taxation Agreements, Financial Services, Foreign investments, International Organisations, International relations, Seychelles infrastructure, Seychelles offshore jurisdiction at 1:16 pm by Robert Klien

Seychelles and Qingdao, a major port city of China’s eastern province of Shandong, have widely discussed trade and investment opportunities between entrepreneurs from both jurisdictions.

A 1-day business forum was held on May 12 in the northern part of the Seychelles main island of Mahé, where about 30 local companies and representatives of some 20 businesses from Qingdao could have business-to-business meetings and discuss the possibilities for cooperation in infrastructure, banking, import and export, shipping, and construction.

According to the Seychelles Investment Board (SIB), it had responded to the Qingdao delegation’s proposal to organise the forum as the group are currently on a tour of the Indian Ocean to establish business contacts and develop partnerships.

SIB’s Chief Executive, Rupert Simeon, told SNA that the Qingdao delegation have already been to Mauritius and are now heading to Sri Lanka.

It should be noted that a Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTA) already exists between Seychelles and China allowing businessmen operating in the two countries to pay tax in one of the jurisdictions and avoid taxation in the other, aiming to encourage trade and investment between the two jurisdictions. Also, Seychelles is a member of both the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) trade alliances and was recently welcomed as the 161st member of the World Trade Organisation. So, there should be much interest from Chinese businesses especially in the offshore sector that are using the tax structures in place to invest in the region.


Seychelles enters WTO as 161st member

Posted in Bilateral Treaties, Business and Economy, International Organisations, International relations, Seychelles government at 6:22 pm by Robert Klien

On April 26, 2015, Seychelles became the 161st member of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Welcoming Seychelles’ membership, Director-General Roberto Azevêdo, said: “I am delighted to welcome the Republic of Seychelles as the 161st member of the WTO. This is great news for Seychelles’ economy and, therefore, for the people of Seychelles. It is also a boost for the WTO and a vote of confidence in the Organization, as we redouble our efforts to complete the Doha Round of negotiations.”

Seychelles President James Michel signed the Instrument of Acceptance of the country’s Accession Protocol on March 25, 2015, confirming its membership terms.

It is worth noting that accession negotiations had lasted for 20 years. As part of these negotiations, Seychelles concluded 8 bilateral agreements on market access for goods. It has undertaken to “bind” average tariff rates for all products at 9.5%. For agricultural products, this average is 16.9%, while for non-agricultural products the average is 8.3%.


Indian Prime Minister to visit Seychelles

Posted in Bilateral Treaties, Business and Economy, Diplomatic missions, International relations, Seychelles government at 5:27 am by Robert Klien

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is to visit Seychelles as a part of a major move to India’s neighourhood outreach in the Indian Ocean region.

Modi will be on a 5-day visit to the 3 key island nations – Seychelles, Mauritius and Sri Lanka. The trip will start on March 10.

In Seychelles, the first stop of his tour, Modi will hold bilateral discussions with President James Alexis Michel. The meeting will be aimed at strengthening maritime ties as well as enhancing bilateral development cooperation.

During the visit, 3 agreements are to be signed between Seychelles and India.

It should be noted that Modi will be the 2nd Indian prime minister to visit Seychelles after Indira Gandhi’s visit in 1981.

The cooperation of India and Seychelles is mainly in the field of health, education, defence and maritime security.

India recently gave a patrol ship to Seychelles, a 115-island country located 1,500 km east of Southeast Africa. The patrol ship was for the Seychelles Coast Guard to better patrol its extensive Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

Both jurisdictions are likely to sign an agreement to strengthen the energy sector of the Seychelles.


Seychelles accepts Terms of WTO Accession

Posted in Bilateral Treaties, Business and Economy, International Organisations, International relations at 12:26 pm by Robert Klien

Following the negotiations aimed to accede the WTO, on October 17, 2014, the terms of Seychelles’ accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) were agreed, whicj concluded 18 years of negotiations.

Seychelles’ draft accession package contains its market access concessions and commitments on trade in goods. It is to be formally approved by all 160 WTO members, who meet in December 2014.

As part of the accession negotiations, Seychelles concluded 8 bilateral agreements on market access for goods (with the European Union, Switzerland, Canada, Japan, Mauritius, Oman, South Africa, and Thailand). It has undertaken tariff concessions and commitments that “bind” tariff rates for all products on average at 9.5%. For agricultural products, this average is 16.9%, while for non-agricultural products the average is 8.3%.

Upon accession, the Seychelles has also committed to join the Information Technology Agreement (ITA), the WTO plurilateral agreement providing for the complete elimination of import duties on certain IT products between signatories.

WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo said: “I welcome the hard work undertaken by WTO members and the Government of Seychelles to complete this accession process. It is particularly timely as the world is marking the International Year of Small Island Developing States. The WTO provides a vital platform for small economies like Seychelles to make their voice heard at the global level.”


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.


Seychelles’ Commitment to access WTO membership welcomed

Posted in Bilateral Treaties, Business and Economy, Diplomatic missions, International Organisations, International relations at 8:48 am by Robert Klien

The Seychelles has been praised for undertaking reforms of its legislative and trade regime aimed to achieve membership of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

On July 10, 2012, WTO member states at the 3rd Working Party on the Seychelles’ accession reviewed the state of play in the bilateral market access negotiations and examined legislative developments and its trade regime.

According to the Chief Negotiator for the Seychelles, Charles Morin, significant progress has been made to meet accession requirements. In April and May 2012, revised goods and services offers were presented. Despite the limited human and financial resources, the Seychelles has made remarkable progress. Also, he noted that the jurisdiction has recently established a mission in Geneva. It was emphasized that the Seychelles has a unique position as one of the smallest economies in the world and its economy is prone to external shocks.

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

The Chairperson of the Working Party, Hilda Ali Al-Hinai (from Oman), said that the examination of all aspects of the Seychelles’ economic and trade regime has been advanced at the meeting. She congratulated the Seychelles for successfully establishing a mission in Geneva as well as praised it for the quantity and quality of the documents it has submitted.

The Seychelles began its accession bid in 1995. It has already signed three bilateral market access agreements with Oman, Mauritius and Canada. In addition, the EU, South Africa, Thailand, and the US have registered progress in the bilateral negotiations with the Seychelles.


Seychelles signs TIEA with Guernsey

Posted in Bilateral Treaties, International relations, Seychelles government at 4:11 pm by Robert Klien

A bilateral Tax Information Exchange Agreement (TIEA) has been recently signed between the Seychelles and Guernsey.

The tax information agreement was signed by the two parties in London.

Guernsey Chief Minister Lyndon Trott said that the Global Forum values Guernsey’s leadership in promoting tax transparency with developing nations and noted that the jurisdiction has built a strong relationship with the Seychelles through its engagement with the Southern African Development Community. He commented that this tax information agreement is a further illustration of Guernsey’s evolving international identity worldwide.

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