WTO: 2013 NEWS ITEMS

ACCESSIONS

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THIS NEWS STORY is designed to help the public understand developments in the WTO. While every effort has been made to ensure the contents are accurate, it does not prejudice member governments’ positions.

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The Working Party agreed to start considering Seychelles’ future commitments in a range of areas.

At the 4th meeting of the Working Party, the high-level delegation of the Republic of Seychelles was led by Minister Pierre Laporte, Ministry of Finance, Trade and Investment.

During the discussions, Members raised specific questions and requested further clarification in a number of areas: investment policy; SOEs and privatization; customs valuation; ODCs; TRQs and tariff exemptions; taxation; SPS; TBT; export restrictions; import licensing; industrial subsidies; trading rights; export subsidies/restrictions; PSI; Free Zones and Special Economic Areas; and IPRs. 

Members reminded Seychelles that all WTO-related legislation needed to be adopted prior to accession.  Minister Laporte underlined that the Government of Seychelles and Parliament had committed to fast-track the adoption process of any WTO‑relevant legislation, in line with Seychelles’ Legislative Action Plan, in order to ensure that all legislation would be adopted, upon accession. 

There was unanimous support by Members to conclude the 18-year long accession process of Seychelles as soon as possible. Several Members asked that flexibility be conceded to Seychelles to accelerate its accession process given the size of its economy.  As in all WTO accession processes, the accompanying message by Members was clear:  “substance drives the process.” 

Based on the guidance received from Members, Ms. Hilda Ali Al-Hinai (Oman), Chairwoman of the Working Party, mandated the WTO Secretariat to upgrade the documentation to a Draft Working Party Report, and to start incorporating draft specific commitments.  Members welcomed Seychelles’ commitment to bind its export subsidies at zero, upon accession. 

On bilateral negotiations on market access for goods and services, Seychelles announced it had signed a Bilateral Protocol with South Africa on 20 June.  Bilaterals concluded and signed now total five (Canada, Mauritius, Oman, Switzerland and South Africa).  The Working Party Chairwoman asked the Acceding Government and relevant Members to work towards concluding the remaining bilateral market access negotiations by the end of July in order to increase the probability of concluding Seychelles’ accession, as soon as possible, in the near future. 

The timing of the next Working Party meeting would be decided once the necessary inputs become available (replies to Members’ questions; draft/adopted legislation; an updated Legislative Action Plan).  Based on these updated inputs, the Secretariat would prepare a first version of the Draft Working Party Report, incorporating draft specific commitment paragraphs as forwarded by Members and Seychelles.

A Secretariat Accession-Technical Assistance and Capacity-Building Activity would take place in Seychelles at the end of July, led by the Working Party Chairwoman.    

Concluding the examination of Seychelles’ trade regime, Working Party Chairwoman, Ms Al-Hinai said:This has left us with work to do, but also provided momentum to move forward in Seychelles’ accession process.”

 

Background information

  • Last (3rd) Working Party meeting:  10 July 2012
  • Working Party Chairperson: Ms Hilda Ali Al-Hinai (Oman)
  • Application Received: 31 May 1995
  • Working Party established: 11 July 1995
  • Working Party Secretary: Ms Petra Beslać
  • Director of the Accessions Division: Mr Chiedu Osakwe

 Jargon buster 

• accession

• binding

• sanitary and phytosanitary measures (SPS)

• technical barriers to trade (TBT)

• working party (accession)

• working party report (accession)

> More jargon: glossary

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