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Seychelles Pushing For WTO Membership By Year-End

by Mike Godfrey, Lowtax.net, Washington
09 July, 2014

Pierre Laporte, the Seychelles's Minister for Finance, Trade, and Investment, said "significant progress" has been made in negotiations on the country's accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) since November 2013.

Members of the WTO's Working Party on the Accession of Seychelles concluded their latest meeting on July 3, 2014, with many delegations expressing their desire to successfully conclude the membership negotiations before the end of the year.

Laporte highlighted a number of important domestic economic policy and legislative reforms that Seychelles has undertaken to ensure its trade practices are consistent with WTO rules. These have included the enactment of outstanding legislation related to sanitary and phytosanitary measures, and the protection of copyright and industrial property.

Hilda Ali Al-Hinai (Oman), chairperson of the Accession Working Party, noted that Seychelles had now completed bilateral negotiations on market access with eight WTO members that requested talks (Canada, the European Union, Japan, Mauritius, Oman, South Africa, Switzerland, Thailand). Only one set of negotiations is ongoing and is said to be "on the threshold of conclusion."

Al-Hinai concluded by calling on members to submit drafting suggestions for the Working Party report by July 25 so that the Seychelles Government can provide expeditious replies and allow the WTO Secretariat to produce a final draft Working Party report by the end of July. She also called on Seychelles to update and submit a final version of its legislative action plan, and for Seychelles and members to conclude the bilateral negotiations as soon as possible.

Al-Hinai suggested holding the next Working Party meeting in the second half of September with the aim of concluding the accession negotiations by the end of 2014.

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