Seychelles concludes 2nd Joint Committee Meeting with Philippines
The second Joint Committee Meeting Seychelles-Philippines was held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Manila on April 21 and co-chaired by Ambassador Maurice Loustau-Lalanne, Principal Secretary, and Ms. Laura Q. Del Rosario, Undersecretary, Department of Foreign Affairs, Republic of the Philippines, who had also co-chaired the 1st Joint Committee Meeting that took place in Victoria on October 22, 2013.
This working session was preceded by a courtesy call of the Seychellois delegation - also comprising of Seychelles' non resident Ambassador to the Philippines, Mr. Philippe Le Gall, Seychelles' Honorary Consul General to the Philippines, Mr. Joselito D. Campos, Ms Jutta Alexis, desk officer for the Philippines at MFA and Ms Murla Gabriel in charge of International Cooperation at the Seychelles Tourism Academy-STA - on Secretary of Foreign Affairs H.E. Jose Rene D. Almendras. Two agreements were also signed prior to the start of the JC Meeting: a Memorandum of Understanding ( MOU ) on the Establishment of Bilateral Consultations between the two Ministries of Foreign Affairs and a MOU on Educational Cooperation between the Lyceum of the Philippines University and Seychelles Tourism Academy.
One year before Seychelles and the Philippines celebrate 30 years of diplomatic relations this Joint Committee Meeting was both timely and useful as a unique opportunity for the two countries to exchange views at executive level on their bilateral links as well as on the regional and international challenges they are facing.
Seychellois and Filipino diplomats were able to assess what has been done since the first JCM and to establish priorities for the two years to come, Seychelles being expected to host the 3rd JCM in 2018.
The two sides agreed in particular to a road map taking advantage of the existing framework of cooperation, in particular the Economic and Technical Cooperation agreement signed in 2010 and making provision for specific action in fields such as SMEs, Standards, Investments, etc, without having necessarily to start the time-consuming negotiation of separate agreements.
Seychelles' and Philippines' delegations agreed to focus their efforts on cooperation in the fields of agriculture and fisheries ( including aquaculture ), tax information and the prevention of fiscal evasion, the signing of a bilateral air service agreement, the establishment of strong ties between the Chambers of Commerce and Industry in Victoria and Manila, as well as the signing of a labor agreement and more cultural cooperation through the Department of Cultural Diplomacy of the Filipino Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Finally both sides were of the view that this second Joint Commission Meeting would pave the way for mutually beneficial exchanges and activities making Seychelles a committed partner of the Philippines in the Indian Ocean as well as in Philippines' policy towards Africa, while also helping Seychelles to better benefit from the opportunities existing in the ASEAN market of 650 million consumers, a regional grouping in which the Philippines represent a key economy actor.
Following the Joint Commission Meeting, actively facilitated by Seychelles' Honorary Consul General, Mr. Joselito D. Campos, Ambassador Maurice Loustau-Lalanne gave an interview on Seychelles-Philippines relations of friendship and cooperation to “the Manila Bulletin” considered as being the leading Newspaper in the Philippines.