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Africa, Caribbean, Pacific | Geneva, 10 December 2014

European Commission welcomes Seychelles’ accession to the World Trade Organisation

The European Commission today welcomed the WTO General Council’s decision to approve the accession of the Republic of Seychelles to the organisation. Once the accession procedure is completed, the Seychelles will become the 161st member of the WTO.


'The EU has strongly supported the accession of the Seychelles and is very pleased to welcome our partner in the Africa-Caribbean-Pacific group as a new member of the WTO family,' said EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström. 'This accession and the queue of 22 countries that want to join continue to highlight the indispensable value of multilateralism.'

After 19 years of multilateral negotiations, the accession process was given a boost when on 23 October 2013 the EU and the Seychelles concluded their bilateral market access negotiations on the island state's WTO accession. Remaining bilateral negotiations with other trading partners and the multilateral work in a WTO working party subsequently speeded up. Today's approval by WTO Members, meeting at the General Council of the WTO in Geneva marked the latest step in the process.

Background

The Republic of Seychelles applied for WTO membership on 31 May 1995. A WTO working party on its accession was set up on 11 July 1995.

The Seychelles has committed itself to comply fully with WTO provisions without resorting to any transitional periods. The only exception regards the WTO Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade, which it will fully implement only as from December 2015. In line with the accession package, the Seychelles has undertaken a broad range of commitments to open up its trade regime and speed up its integration in the world trade system. Among other things, the Seychelles has committed itself to replace its current ban on imports of hides and fur skins, palm plants, second-hand vehicles, left-hand drive vehicles, automotive bodies and camouflage clothing with an authorisation system.

EU-Seychelles trade in facts and figures

The EU is the Seychelles' main trading partner, accounting for 66% of its exports and 33% of its imports. In 2013 the total value of EU goods exported to Seychelles was €316 million, while imports from the Seychelles amounted to €294 million. More than 90% of the Seychelles exports to the EU are fish and fishery products. The EU's main exports to the Seychelles are frozen fish, machinery, electrical equipment, ships and boats.

Trade in goods between the EU and the Seychelles is governed by the interim Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) signed in 2009 and provisionally applied since May 2012.
 

European Commission trade with Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA)