Seychelles' government approves negotiation points for 12th EU-Eastern Southern African States interim EPA
Fisheries is one of the sectors in Seychelles benefitting from the interim Economic Partnership Agreement. (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency)
Seychelles' Cabinet of Ministers has approved the country's position areas under negotiation for endorsement for the 12th European Union (EU) Eastern Southern African States Interim Economic Partnership Agreement Negotiations.
In a press conference on Thursday updating the media on the Cabinet's latest decisions, Vice President Ahmed Afif stated that the agreement covers different elements of economic corporation between the EU and Eastern Southern African States, including Seychelles.
"It covers the way these countries treat the subject of competition, and how a country allows such so there is no monopoly. It also touches on the policy that would be in place should a European country seek to bring its product to Seychelles," said Afif.
"The agreement covers areas of special protection for state-owned enterprises. It covers tax, how commerce is undertaken, processes used at customs, and rules of origin, among others. It looks at how we allow different services to exist in both areas. For example, in Seychelles, we can say that we will not allow foreigners to have small hotels - 25 rooms or less," he continued.
It was in 2007 that six Eastern and Southern African countries - Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles, Zambia, and Zimbabwe - concluded an interim Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the EU.
Seychelles signed the agreement in 2009 and it has been provisionally applied since May 14, 2012.
The EU website states that the EPA "includes a rendezvous clause for negotiating other trade-related areas such as rules and commitments on services and investment, sustainable development and competition - known as the 'deepening' process - and the five countries already applying the agreement have declared their readiness to move beyond trade in goods, towards a more comprehensive agreement."
Ten of the 13 thematic parts were discussed during the 11th round of discussions, which was held in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, in March 2023.
This included Technical Barriers to Trade, Rules of Origin, Trade in Services, Investment Liberalisation and Digital Trade, Intellectual Property Rights and Geographical Indications, Competition, Transparency in Public Procurement, Trade, and Sustainable Development, Agriculture, Fisheries as well as Dispute Settlement and Institutional Provisions.