Country Information - Seychelles
ECONOMIC BACKGROUNDSince independence in 1976, per capita output in this Indian Ocean archipelago has expanded to roughly seven times the old near-subsistence level. Growth has been led by the tourist sector, which employs about 30% of the labour force and provides more than 70% of hard currency earnings, and by tuna fishing. In recent years the government has encouraged foreign investment in order to upgrade hotels and other services. At the same time, the government has moved to reduce the dependence on tourism by promoting the development of farming, fishing, and small-scale manufacturing.
The vulnerability of the tourist sector was illustrated by the sharp drop in 1991-92 due largely to the Gulf war and once again following the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on the US. Other issues facing the government are the curbing of the budget deficit, including the containment of social welfare costs, and further privatisation of public enterprises. Growth slowed in 1998-2001, due to sluggish tourist and tuna sectors. Also, tight controls on exchange rates and the scarcity of foreign exchange have impaired short-term economic prospects. The black market value of the Seychelles rupee is half the official exchange rate; without a devaluation of the currency the tourist sector should remain sluggish as vacationers seek cheaper destinations such as Comoros, Mauritius, and Madagascar.
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BI-LATERAL TRADE OVERVIEWWhile trade between Seychelles and the United States remained fairly minor until 2000, there was a major surge in Seychelles' imports from the U.S. in 2001. This resulted in a trade deficit of over $ 150 million in 2001. Exports from the Seychelles also increased considerably in 2001. Provisional 2002 data suggests that the significant trade deficit of 2001 will be reversed in 2002, and may even result in a slight trade surplus.
The Seychelles' exports to the U.S. consist mostly of 'agricultural products', followed by 'electronic products'. These together accounted for over 80% of exports in 2001.However, by mid-2002 no exports from the Seychelles to the U.S. benefited from AGOA, as their nature fell outside the AGOA-eligible product categories.
Imports from the U.S., which had been relatively minor until 2001, were dominated by 'transportation equipment', accounting for most of Seychelles' imports from the U.S.
To date Seychelles has not qualified for the 'Wearing Apparel' provisions of AGOA, and due to its relatively high per capita GDP, is not deemed to be a 'Lesser Developed Country' for AGOA purposes. This status is only of consequence where countries have qualified for the apparel provisions, and would mean that the Seychelles is precluded from utilising third country textile inputs (i.e. from countries other than AGOA wearing apparel qualified countries).
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21 AGOA FORUM 2013: Ethiopia will host the 2013 US-Africa AGOA Forum. AGOA.info has been informed that the Forum will not take place as envisaged on 28 June - 1 July, but at a later date yet to be determined. The theme for this year’s Forum is “Trade and Technology for sustained change”“
21 December 2012: Guinea-Bissau and Mali lose AGOA eligibility
APRIL 2013: Monthly data has been updated to include February 2013 data, quarterly includes full year 2012 data.
New US strategy towards Africa: White House Factsheet on new strategy towards Africa, plus overview of past US engagement with Africa. Click here for the file and this link for a summary article.
02 August 2012: Bill to extend third country fabric provision passes Congress Download the House of Reps. Bill at this link
South Sudan declared AGOA-eligible on 26 March 2012. Earlier, Cote d'Ivoire, Niger and Gambia declared AGOA eligible on 25 October 2011. See news item, presidential declaration and trade overview at this link (S Sudan) and here (others).
US GSP extended and GSP benefits to be applied retrospectively for the year 2011 since expiry of previous GSP. See AGOA.info legal documents section at the following link.
AGOA at 10: Reflections on US-Africa trade with a focus on SACU: Tralac Working Paper that can be downloaded at this
December 2010: The Democratic Republic of Congo loses its AGOA eligibility status. See proclamation here (pdf download available at this link
ITC investigation of textiles and apparel: Further details at this link
AGOA IV – Changes to AGOA explained
For disaggregated trade data covering each AGOA country, follow the relevant link in the Country Sections (left column) or click here.
For detailed AGOA maps click here