4. The Seychelles first would like to thank the Secretariat for the assistance provided in processing the notification IP/N/1/SYC/11 and IP/N/1/SYC/O/4. The Seychelles Fair Trading Act, 2022 (Act 12 of 2022), entered into force on 1 August 2022 and was notified to the WTO on 29 July 2022 under Article 63.2 of the TRIPS Agreement (other Laws and Regulations). A little background in the notifying text. The Government of Seychelles, through the Fair-Trading Commission, sought funding for a consultant to address the shortcomings of the previous Fair- Trading Acts, following which a report with feedbacks were provided, and the draft Fair-Trading Bill was prepared. 5. An Independent Fair-Trading Tribunal was set up as an effective redress mechanism for all consumer and competition cases and chaired by a chairperson who is a full-time magistrate. The investigative powers of the Commission have been enhanced to create a new level of enforcement. In that pursuit, this Act repeals the Fair-Trading Commission Act (Cap 267), the Fair Competition Act (Cap 266), and the Consumer Protection Act (Cap 257). 6. Seychelles does not foresee any substantial changes in the immediate future, as this new Act will give confidence to businesses through the provision of consistent application, enforcement, and adjudication of competition and consumer matters. 7. The main elements of the new Act: The Fair-Trading Commission is the central institutional organ for the effective administration of the Act. The Commission is tasked with several functions, including enforcing compliance with the Act; advising the Government on laws affecting fair trading, competition, and consumer protection, and making recommendations to the Government on the actual or likely anti-competitive effects or consumer protection issues that arise out of the implementation of the Act. 8. It establishes the Fair-Trading Tribunal to deal with appeals against the decisions of the Commission's complaints of alleged prohibited conduct, applications for breaches of undertakings, and applications for the authorisation or permission of proposed mergers recommended by the Commission. The introduction of the Fair-Trading Tribunal is not only commendable as a principle of best international practice but is also good for democracy and the rule of law. 9. In case of consumer protection and fair competition, the Act extensively makes provisions for the protection of consumer protection rights. Accordingly, it protects, amongst many others, the rights to fair, just, and reasonable terms and conditions, disclosure of information, fair and responsible marketing, fair and honest dealing, choice, safety, fair value, good quality, and safety for the performance of services and supply of goods. 10. Regarding fair competition, the Act makes provision for, among others, the abuse of a dominant position, restrictive horizontal and vertical practices, mergers, and factors to be considered for determining the aforementioned practices and market inquiries. 11. Offenses and penalties for contravening the provisions of the Act are also clearly specified in the Act. Finally, the Act mandates the minister responsible for trade in consultations with the Fair-Trading Commission to make regulations for all matters which are required or necessary to be provided for in giving effect to the provisions of the Act. 12. Briefly about the main features of the Act: a. it is tailor-made and recognises the particular circumstances of Seychelles; b. considers tried and tested mechanisms, draws on their successes, and learns from their failures; c. provides for the imposition of a fixed penalty in certain cases; d. strengthened and included additional enforcement provisions; e. increase in penalty quantum; f. introduction of a corporate immunity provision which is an effective tool to fight cartels; g. introduces more provisions into regulations for greater flexibility given the dynamics of competition and consumer laws; h. exclusion of financial consumer protection from the Bill; i. remitting the final decision on mergers in the financial sector to the Central Bank and other regulatory financial bodies; j. provides for a tribunal rather than a Board of Commissioners for an accessible, effective and efficient system of redress for consumers and businesses; k. Any decision or order of the Tribunal may be served, executed, and enforced in the same manner as a judgment or order of the Supreme Court under the Seychelles Code of Civil Procedure (Cap 213); l. provides a mechanism for continuity so that the current unheard cases before the Board of Commissioners can be heard; m. Introducing a cap of SCR 5 million on complaints for consumer protection; n. Time limitation on bringing complaints to the Commission reduced from three years to two years. 13. In term of next steps, in order to ensure the full functioning of the Fair-Trading Act 2022, new regulations are required under the new Act. These regulations are being drafted, and as such, we expect they will be available by the end of December 2022. 14. In order to ensure transparency, these regulations may be shared with WTO Members at the appropriate time.