India can learn a lot from Seychelles tourism experience

Posted in Diplomatic missions, International relations, Seychelles government at 2:34 pm by Robert Klien

A team comprising Indian media and tour operators will soon visit Seychelles to showcase the jurisdiction’s tourism development and experience to be aired in India. This was announced by Indian Minister for Tourism, Culture and Civil Aviation, Dr Mahesh Sharma.

Dr Sharma took part in celebrations to mark the 3rd Seychelles-India Day. He also was welcomed at State House to hold talks with Seychelles’ President James Michel.

President Michel said at the meeting: “The Seychelles-India Day is an excellent opportunity to celebrate the natural affinities and the long-standing relations and friendship between our two countries and peoples. It is a demonstration of our mutual and common determination to continue to work together for progress and development”.

Several ways that India and Seychelles can work together to promote tourism and cultural relations were discussed. It was noted that great progress had already been made in these 2 fields.

Speaking to the press after the meeting, President Michel and Dr Sharma said that they discussed many issues, including tourism, environment, culture and the forthcoming India-Africa Forum Summit.


Sri Lankan and Thai diplomats accredited in Seychelles

Posted in Diplomatic missions, International relations, Seychelles government at 2:30 pm by Robert Klien

Tikiri Herath Gunathilake is the new Sri Lankan resident high commissioner to Seychelles, while Prasittiporn Wetprasit is the new Thai ambassador. Both diplomats presented their letters of accreditation to President James Michel at State House on October 6. After thatm they also paid a courtesy call on Vice-President Danny Faure.

Dr Gunathilake is replacing Rajatha Piyatissa who was accredited the first resident high commissioner of Sri Lanka here on June 24, 2014 and left the jurisdiction in March 2015.

Mr Wetprasit replaces Ittiporn Boonpracong who had represented his country here from September 2012 until January 2015.

Dr Gunathilake said it is the “earnest hope of Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena to strengthen and maintain cultural, social and economic relations in an unprecedented manner and to expect every possible support from Seychelles.”

Mr Wetprasit highlighted and commended the remarkable cooperation that exists between Seychelles and Thailand in various fields namely environment, hospitality and tourism industry as well as fisheries, and also stressed on the fact that Thailand has a corner in the Botanical Gardens where visitors can see and appreciate different flora from the Asian country.

“I want to further strengthen technical cooperation in areas like botanical gardens, agriculture and hotel management,” Mr Wetprasit pointed out.


Seychelles-Nigeria Investment Forum Expected to Boost

Posted in Business and Economy, Diplomatic missions, International relations, Seychelles government at 2:12 pm by Robert Klien

Promoting cooperation between Seychelles and Nigeria and increasing trade and industry have been the main focus of diplomatic work of the outgoing Nigerian High Commissioner to Seychelles, Solomon Akintola Oyateru, during his term in office.

High Commissioner Oyateru made this statement and paid a visit to Seychelles President James Michel. He represented Nigeria for 3 years, while based in Nairobi, Kenya. According to him, an investment forum will be established with a view to allow Nigerian investors to explore the potential in Seychelles in areas such as tourism, the Blue Economy and others. The date for the event has not been set yet.

Discussions in the State House meeting focused on the existing bilateral cooperation between the two countries and areas for future collaboration.

Commenting on his mandate of 3 years, Oyateru said, “It has been very quite exciting and fruitful. I think I have been able to build on what the predecessor has left me and our engagements have become much active and deeper. My successor will be able to build on that. The level of interaction has actually improved.”


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 Brazil sign Bilateral Air Services Agreement

Posted in International relations, Tourism industry at 1:36 pm by Robert Klien

Seychelles and Brazil have signed a bilateral air services agreement (Basa).

The document was signed on behalf of Seychelles by Barry Faure, secretary of state in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Transport and the outgoing Brazilian ambassador to Seychelles Francisco Carlos Soares Luz.

The signing of the Basa finalised discussions that took place between the two jurisdictions and aviation authorities during the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) air services negotiations conference held in December 2013 in South Africa.

Barry Faure said, “The air services agreement which we have signed today will finalise this function, this modern framework which encompasses all the major requirements for commercial operations in this modern age of civil aviation, thus ensuring full compliance with international civil aviation’s safety and security rules and procedures”.

He said that the signing will act as a gateway for further development of the two countries’ bilateral relations.

The Brazilian ambassador expressed his hope that Brazil and Seychelles will sign other agreements of this kind to foster tourism.


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%.


WTO Accession Protocol ratified in Seychelles

Posted in Business and Economy, International Organisations, International relations at 2:56 pm by Robert Klien

After approval from the country’s National Assembly, Seychelles’ World Trade Organization (WTO) Accession Protocol was ratified by the jurisdiction’s President.

The protocol ratification took place on March 25, 2015.

After the signing, the President James Michel said that joining the WTO will ensure, “as a small island developing state reliant on open access to trade in goods and services, that the basic needs of our people are met, and that we continue to create opportunities for wealth creation and prosperity.” He added that he is “convinced that WTO accession opens up a new chapter for Seychelles’ development,” and that the country is looking forward to working with the WTO Secretariat in order to develop its private sector, especially small- and medium-sized enterprises. Michel noted that the country will continue to ensure that trade and development are linked, and, through more transparency in international trading rules, that long term investments are secure.

The WTO Director of the Accessions Division, Cheidu Osakwe, highlighted that “accession to the WTO is a commitment to trade integration, and to the core values of the WTO involving the market economy, transparency, good governance, and the rules of law.”

Seychelles originally applied for WTO membership in 1995 and the Working Party concluded its negotiations on October 17, 2014. WTO members adopted Seychelles’ WTO terms of entry at the General Council meeting on December 10, and Seychelles had until June 1 this year to ratify the deal.

As part of the accession negotiations, Seychelles concluded eight 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%.


Seychelles and India to cooperate in maritime security and anti-piracy

Posted in Business and Economy, Diplomatic missions, International relations at 5:36 am by Robert Klien

During his visit to Seychelles, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has begun discussions with Seychelles President James Michel for both countries to engage in maritime security, with a focus on greater cooperation with respect to anti-piracy measures.

Indian Ministry of External affairs official spokesperson said: “Prime Minister Modi begins his visit to the Indian Ocean island nations with discussions with the President of Seychelles. A substantive element of their discussions is ‘Blue Economy’. India and Seychelles are also working on maritime security, better cooperation in anti-piracy measures and are engaged in working towards renewable energy”. He added that India has a strong and historical connection with Seychelles and other Indian Ocean islands nations, and, in recent times, new elements have been added to these connections. He emphasized that the maritime neighbours need to meet, interact and cooperate.

Indian-Seychellois relations have been characterized by close cooperation and understanding. For example, an Indian naval ship, the INS Tarasa, was gifted to Seychelles in 2014 to augment surveillance and patrolling capacity of Seychelles waters. Several Indian ships have since made port calls in Victoria.

In 2009, on the request of Seychelles, India dispatched naval ships to patrol its exclusive economic zone and guard it against piracy. India has also helped Seychelles’ armed forces in capacity building.

During the Indian presidential visit to Seychelles in 2012, India announced USDS 50 million as Line of Credit and USD 25 million as grant to the Government of Seychelles. Indian assistance has also flowed since the 1980’s under ITEC programme in civilian defense and other fields.

It is worth remembering that indians are about 1/10 of Seychelles’ 91,000 population.


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.

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