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Seychelles' WTO Accession In Final Stages

by Lorys Charalambous, Lowtax.net, Cyprus
21 November, 2013

Seychelles' Principal Secretary for Finance Steve Fanny has reaffirmed his country's commitment to comply with World Trade Organization (WTO) laws before its accession, in a working party meeting on November 15, 2013.

While WTO members praised Seychelles for its efforts to bring its trade regime in line with WTO rules through necessary reform, it was confirmed that further work remains. In return, however, Fanny told them that Seychelles committed to enact the outstanding laws to bring its trade regime in compliance with WTO rules before its accession.

Members raised additional questions on a number of areas: monetary and fiscal policy; investment policy; state-owned enterprises and privatization; tariff rate quotas and tariff exemptions; taxation; sanitary and phytosanitary measures; technical barriers to trade; export restrictions; quantitative restrictions and import licensing; industrial subsidies; trading rights and trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights.

Seychelles updated members on its legislative developments, contained in its revised Legislative Action Plan, since the last working party meeting on June 21. Fanny announced that all remaining laws would be enacted between now and March 2014.

On bilateral negotiations on market access for goods and services, Seychelles announced it had signed a bilateral agreement with the European Union on October 23 and with Thailand on November 14 this year. It has now concluded and signed a total of seven bilateral agreements.

It was confirmed that there was unanimous support by members to conclude the 18-year long accession process of Seychelles as soon as possible. The Working Party Chair Hilda Ali Al-Hinai welcomed the "positive, constructive and business-like atmosphere" and called for members to maintain similar working spirit in 2014 "to bring this accession home."

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