Seychelles will get 10 million euros from the European Union under a new contract to support the island nation’s implementation of the current Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).
The contract agreement was signed on Thursday, marking the launch of the long term technical assistance programme under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF).
The objectives of the agreement are to improve Seychelles’ capacity to manage and implement the current EPA. It also covers other trade and regional integration agreements, supports value chains upgrading in the manufacturing, agriculture and fisheries sectors and job creation through high-value addition.
Since ratifying the interim Economic Partnering Agreement (iEPA) in May 2010, Seychelles has met fully 42 percent, substantially 36 percent and partially 20 percent of the provisions and commitments made.
In his address, the finance minister, Maurice Loustau-Lalanne, said, “This indicates that the implementation of the provisions of the Agreement is well underway, however, there is more work to be done to fully implement the provisions of the Agreement, as well as ensuring that the country reaps the maximum benefit from it.”
He said that “with the launching of this contract and the intended support that we are expecting to benefit thereof, we aim to reach a minimum target of 78% full compliance by the year 2022.”
For his part, the EU ambassador to Seychelles, Vincent Degert, said that Seychelles’ strong commitment to the Economic Partnership Agreement is another major milestone in the trade development architecture.
“Seychelles is aware of the prospects that the EPA offers to pursue trade with the EU, via complete quota-free and duty-free access for all its products,” said Degert.
The EPA does not only eliminate tariff but also addresses barriers that impede the flow of goods and services. It encourages investment and enhances cooperation in the region.
Degert said that “consequently, the EPA should not be perceived only as a new generation, reciprocal trade agreement between Seychelles and the EU. It has a broader development-oriented objective assisting in inclusive growth, in job creation, in women empowerment, in poverty reduction and in sustainable development.”
The European Union is Seychelles’ first export market. Today more than 55 percent of Seychelles’ exports go to the European Union market. Exports consist principally of fish and fish products – estimated at 95.6 percent in 2018.
The European Union has a long-standing partnership of more than 40 years with Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean
Source: Seychelles News Agency