GENEVA (AFP) – The Seychelles on Friday sealed its entry to the World Trade Organization, the Geneva-based body whose 160 members set the rules of global commerce said Friday.
The Indian Ocean island, which has spent 18 years negotiating to join, is set to win formal approval in December from the WTO’s ruling body to become the organisation’s 161st member.
“I welcome the hard work undertaken by WTO members and the government of Seychelles to complete this accession process,” WTO chief Roberto Azevedo said. “The WTO provides a vital platform for small economies like Seychelles to make their voice heard at the global level.”
WTO entry negotiations can take several years because aspirants are required to strike deals with a range of individual economies already inside the organisation, before such accords are folded into one overarching entry package.
The WTO’s member economies craft trade rules among themselves in an attempt to ensure a level playing field and spur growth by opening markets and removing trade barriers, including subsidies, excessive taxes and regulations.