Seychelles starts first WTO policy review on trade and transparency issues
Brutus said that the review will help Seychelles facilitate and address trade in a better manner. (Gerard Larose)
Seychelles has started its first policy review with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to identify gaps in existing policies, which once addressed, are expected to improve transparency in the sector and attract more investors, according to officials.
The review will be done in a three-day working session in the island nation with representatives from WTO. The session will include presentations, questions and answers that will provide an update on the current status of the country's trade-related legislative, policy and institutional frameworks in the various sectors of the economy.
This update will be the cornerstone for completing the process of the trade policy review scheduled for December 5 and 7 in Geneva.
Veronique Brutus, the trade attaché at the Permanent Mission of Seychelles to the UN Office and other international organisations in Geneva, told reporters on Monday that the review will help Seychelles re-look at its trade policies.
"The review will help us identify the gaps that exist if there are any. From the review, we will be able to address these gaps and that will allow us to be more efficient in the way we implement our trade policies," said Brutus.
She added that the review will help Seychelles facilitate and address trade in a better manner, as well as better implement policies and work with business. In return, the review will provide investors with more confidence as the exercise is about transparency, said Brutus.
"The more we are transparent, the more investors will be interested to do business with Seychelles," she said.
Through a report that the archipelago in the western Indian Ocean is currently working on, Seychelles will be able to put forth concerns and difficulties it is facing. This will be relayed to WTO members during the review in December, allowing Seychelles to present how it has developed since its accession to the WTO seven years ago. Seychelles became the 161st member of WTO in April 2015.
Willy Alfaro, the director of the WTO Trade Policies Review Division, outlined that the review needs to be seen as a unique opportunity for the government to explain shortcomings to the members, given the geographical situation and some other limitations that the country may have.
"WTO members will be able to appreciate the situation and offer suggestions on how Seychelles can use the multilateral trading system of WTO to enhance its participation and to get more benefits from its membership. Over these two days, all 164 WTO members will be concentrating on the trade policies and practices of Seychelles," said Alfaro.