Minister of Commerce, Axel M. Addy, has described the country’s economy as market-based despite the lack of competition among buyers, many of whom, he said, determine the price of any given commodity.
“Joining the WTO, my administration will not hesitate to open the market by providing the public with the requisite information, and will further expand the market with an expected increase in the number of businesses, with an eye on the observance of all set rules and regulations,” said Minister Addy.
Minister Addy made these statements to journalists recently upon his return from the 10th Ministerial Conference in Nairobi, Kenya, on the accession of Liberia to the World Trade Organization (WTO).
The Commerce minister said his focus is to support the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) sector of the country, which could trigger a complete reform of the economy.
“We need to look at innovation that will inspire and empower this generation, and we see SMEs as the best way to achieve this goal of inclusive growth. It’s about getting people to be entrepreneurs, to develop solutions that are creative and innovative. It’s getting the young people to see the value in engaging with the government constructively. I think this approach will help achieve inclusive growth,” he said.
He further said one of the key principles that he pushed forward is to ensure that Liberians have equitable access to all goods, which in turn would ensure inclusive growth. It means that the investment and the policy environment are directed at empowering Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), targeting female entrepreneurs and fostering an entrepreneurial culture that will lead to transformation.
He said Liberia’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) has created more opportunities for Liberians and encouraged more investors to come to the country and trade, following the completion of the accession package of the WTO, which was submitted on October 6, 2015.
According to him, the country’s accession to global trade opens additional corridors for Liberia to venture into other areas of commerce, rather than just focusing on the traditional trade of rubber and iron ore.
“Liberia’s economy is tied around two key commodities – rubber and iron ore – the prices of which have dropped by 50 percent, thereby reducing demands for the commodities,” he lamented.
He noted that part of the rules governing members of the WTO is the prohibition of importing goods labelled in foreign languages and the provision that calls for the application of acceptable standards among and between member countries.