Minister Hassan leads Seychelles delegation at 12th WTO Ministerial Conference

June 14, 2022

The Minister for Finance, National Planning and Trade, Naadir Hassan, is currently in Geneva, Switzerland, attending the 12th World Trade Organisation (WTO), Ministerial Conference, (12th -15th June).

In a statement submitted to the WTO Secretariat, Minister Hassan, made an appeal for the continuous collaborative engagements, to ensure ‘the continued relevance of multilateralism.’

He said, the COVID 19 pandemic, has shown the relevance of multilateralism, where world trade has not been disrupted heavily.

“In those times where some of us may have been inclined to turn inwards, WTO rules ensured that disruptions in world trade were kept to the minimum”.

Minister Hassan also noted the discussions and proposals being put forward to reform WTO, nonetheless, he urged for favourable flexibility, when it comes to Small and Vulnerable Economies.

“Caution is recommended on any proposals, which could erode current flexibilities that are extended to lower income and developing countries, especially cognizant of Small and Vulnerable Economies (SVEs), such as Seychelles, which remains highly vulnerable to external shocks and possesses limited resource endowments to sustain those shocks and, continue building on resilience.”

Minister Hassan also urged all members of WTO to show solidarity to the waiver of the ‘Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS)’ which is an international treaty which regulates intellectual property rights. The ‘TRIPS Waiver’ was a necessity at the time of the pandemic, to enable access to COVID 19 vaccines.

During the last Ministerial Conference, held in 2017, there was an appeal for an outcome on Fisheries Subsidy. Minister Hassan, said, the commitment Seychelles made at the meeting, remains strong and he would like to see a ‘positive and implementable outcome on Fisheries Subsidies at the 12th conference.’

“I would like to re-emphasize the need for effective trade rules geared towards the unconditional elimination
of IUU fishing, and to have an appropriate disciplinary framework which addresses certain subsidies, contributing to overcapacity and overfishing. Being a Small Island Developing State, Seychelles is highly reliant on the fisheries industry. It is a crucial contributor to our socio-economic development and the future of, depend on it.”

On the side line of the WTO Ministerial Conference, Minister Hassan also met with the Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Rt. Patricia Scotland QC, for a bilateral meeting.

Discussions focused on:

  • an update by the SG on the Commonwealth Secretariat Trade programmes and plan
  • what technical aid, capacity building, research support, Seychelles needs for trade policy at national, regional and multilateral/WTO level and
  • expectations for and beyond, the 12th Ministerial Conference

Seychelles, being part of the African Caribbean Pacific (ACP), grouping, attended a meeting where members of the organisation, aligned their position, for the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference.

Minister Hassan is accompanied by Mr. Ricky Barbe, Director General for Trade, and Ms. Veronique Brutus, Trade Attaché, at the Permanent Mission of Seychelles in Geneva.

Seychelles became a member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in 2015.

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