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Seychelles Becomes 161st Member Of WTO

by Lorys Charalambous,, Cyprus

28 April 2015

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

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. Negotiations had lasted for 20 years.

Its membership was described by the territory's Minister of Finance, Trade and the Blue Economy as a "major step forward in the trade integration of Seychelles into the rules-based multilateral trading system and the global economy."

"Seychelles shall now have access to the markets of all 160 WTO members. WTO membership ensures that Seychelles will contribute to on-going multilateral negotiation processes to ensure that we can create more opportunities for wealth creation and prosperity while also defending the countries' approach to development."

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 percent. For agricultural products, this average is 16.9 percent, while for non-agricultural products the average is 8.3 percent.

TAGS: Finance | law | tariffs | World Trade Organisation (WTO) | agreements | trade | Seychelles | Economy

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