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Remarks by President James Michel following signature of the ratification of the WTO Accession Protocol on behalf of the Republic of Seychelles

28.04.2015

Vice President, Mr. Chiedu Osakwe, Ms Hilda Al Hinai, ministers, ladies and gentlemen,

It is a proud moment for Seychelles to have taken this final step towards WTO accession. 

We are not joining WTO because we have to join. 

We are becoming a member because we know we can bring additional value to the organisation. 

But most importantly, we know we can bring additional value to the people of Seychelles. 

The economic reforms that I initiated in 2008, have sought to strengthen our resilience in the face of potential global shocks. Joining WTO ensures that we are not bystanders while global processes are shaped and directed by others. It ensures that we can create more opportunities for our people while also defending their right to development. 

As a Small Island Developing State- we are reliant on open access to trade in goods and services both to ensure that the basic needs of our people are met, and to ensure that we continue to create opportunities for wealth creation and prosperity. 

It is no secret that it is hard for small states to carve a niche for themselves in the global economy. But our achievements since 2008 show that we can mobilise the global economy to strengthen our position- to build our resilience- and create our own opportunities. 

As we join this world trading body, we look forward to working with the WTO Secretariat to further help us in building our capacity. 

We will work with you to complement our national efforts towards empowering our private sector, and in particular our Small and Medium Enterprises. 

Our future success economically depends on stability and our ability to innovate- to build on our strengths and reduce our weaknesses. 

Our call to develop our Blue Economy is one such initiative which aims to transform our situation from price takers in the global economy to shapers of new models of development. 

And to develop the Blue Economy we will need to leverage the research and technological support from across the globe. WTO is well placed to facilitate this access to the key drivers of our Blue Economy transformation. 

We would like to assure all our partners, as we enter WTO, that Seychelles does not believe in inertia. We are joining to help to continue to bring forward momentum. To ensure that we can continue to link trade and development in a meaningful way. That we can ensure through more transparency in international trading rules, that long term investments are secure.  

In conclusion I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to Ms. Hilda Al Hinai, the Chair of our Accession Working Party, as well as to the WTO Director General and the WTO secretariat represented here today by Director of accessions, Mr. Chiedu Osakwe. I would also like to thank the staff of all the relevant government ministries and departments in Seychelles that have spared no effort to help us reach accession under the able guidance of our Chief Negotiator, Mr. Charles Morin. I thank the Members of the National Assembly for their engagement in the process and their unanimous endorsement of our accession. And finally my appreciation to those who succeeded me in the Finance and Trade portfolio to ensure that we reached satisfactory conclusion, namely Vice President Danny Faure and former Minister Pierre Laporte who have prepared the way for our current minister, Jean-Paul Adam to ensure that we derive the benefits required post accession. 

I am convinced that WTO accession opens up a new chapter for Seychelles' development.

A new chapter whereby even though we know we are still vulnerable to external shocks- we have many more tools with which to cope with these shocks. That we have many more tools to build more opportunities that ensure that our economies are fundamentally sustainable. 

I thank you for your attention.

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