Liberia: trade-support building and WTO accession

17 July 2012
ITC News

National Export Strategy and WTO accession top agenda on visit by Liberia’s Ministry of Trade to the International Trade Centre.

A delegation from Republic of Liberia on 17 July visited ITC for discussions on ongoing trade-support programmes and the possibility of ITC support in its WTO accession negotiations. The Liberian delegation was led by Deputy Minister for Commerce and Industry Mrs Aletha K. Browne-Cooper, who was accompanied by Mr Stephen Marvie Jr, Assistant Minister for Trade.

Mrs Browne-Cooper was updated on progress on ITC’s work on the Liberia National Export Strategy (LNES). This project covers some of Liberia’s most important export products — palm oil, rubber, fish and crustaceans, cocoa and coffee, rice, cassava — and aims to help Liberia in improve gender equality, bring environmental sustainability, improve regional integration, and contribute to Liberia’s poverty reduction strategy.

ITC’s aim is to finalize the LNES by October, after which the programme will be delivered within the One UN initiative, which aims to enhance the impact of UN efforts.

WTO accession

While limited progress has been made on Liberia’s WTO accession, it applied for membership in 2007, a first Working Party met on 11 July, after which many WTO members said that the new accession guidelines for least-developed countries (LDCs) would help facilitate Liberia’s membership negotiations.

Read WTO article: Members say new guidelines will facilitate Liberia’s accession to the WTO

Mrs Browne-Cooper was briefed on how ITC is assisting other countries making progress in their accession talks, which could also be beneficial for Liberia. Through the ‘Building Technical Capacity of WTO Acceding LDCs’, ITC helps governments in awareness-building related to legal, structural and business issues. ITC also assists acceding countries in promoting reform and boost competitiveness in the private sector, and advices on how to create and strengthen the between the government and the private sector, as well as with civil-society groups. The two sides agreed that this was path that should be explored further as soon possible.