After three days of dedicated work to identify Liberia’s Post Accession Plan to promote trade facilitation and others, Delegates of the World Trade Organization (WTO) have described the country as well positioned to champion trade activities.
Dr. Juneyoung Lee, Secretary of Liberia’s Working Party core representative of the WTO, shared her impression yesterday at the end of a three-day working session, which brought together representatives from the private sector, government and international community.
Dr. Lee said, “We must say that the delegate is very impressed; Liberian citizens have set a remarkable example that is now referred to as the Liberian model. Liberia has extremely performed over some other governments in terms of WTO accession.”
According to her, the commitment quality of Liberia’s accession is well secured in the Working Party’s Report (document that is a rule for the country to abide by), which is well appreciated in Geneva, Switzerland.
“Turning to the post accession stage, we are equally impressed by the level of preparation and vision that has been set by the Liberian Government so far, especially hearing that the government has established its steering committee on the post accession, which is headed by two leading government institutions, including Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOCI) and Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA),” Dr. Lee said.
As Head of the Delegates, she said, “I want to congratulate all the citizens of Liberia for putting in a lot of efforts under the leadership of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Minister Axel M. Addy, who is also Liberia’s chief negotiator of the WTO accession engagements, for playing such a cardinal role so far and also having good technicians.”
She said Liberia has the potential and people who can produce beautiful fabrics, and other products.
She, however, urged Liberians to have pride and the belief that such can be marketed when following international best practices and standards that they exhibited during the accession process.
Dr. Lee said she believes now that Liberia is well positioned to be a champion of international trade, considering how it established a speedy system to complete the WTO process.
She further indicated that the WTO has a unique way of making decisions among WTO members; emphasizing that Liberia as a small country will have a strong voice within any trade related decision under the WTO.
“This aspect needs to be well understood by the people of Liberia to have the citizens aware of the benefits of WTO,” she said.
Anna Varynik, Co-Secretary of Liberia’s Working Party, said the three-day workshop was meant to discuss Liberia’s benefits joining the WTO and also how Liberia can abide by those policies in order to maximize benefit, including international cooperation.
“This is now a great opportunity for business empowerment and investment across the country. Joining the WTO also gives Liberia the opportunity to explore multilateral investments because it will benefit from capacity building, technical assistance,” Ms. Varynik said.
Also speaking, Minister Axel M. Addy, who is also Liberia’s chief negotiator of the WTO accession engagements, said the conference is important as it allows stakeholders to get the full understanding of the implication of the commitment.
“There have been stakeholder meetings around the WTO’s accession process since 2007 and sometimes specific sector meetings. And the concerns about Liberia have been the size of the economy and business directed for Liberia, which have already been taken into consideration in Liberia’s package,” Minister Addy assured.
According to Minister Addy, there are horizontal packages that provide protection for citizens, investment, and domestic inventory among others, which he attributed to the delay in becoming member of the WTO.