Minister Diggs Outlines Liberia’s Post WTO Accession Progress

MINISTER DIGGS, DR. NGOZI AND ITC EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR PAMELA COKE-HAMILTON.

The Minister of Commerce and Industry, Mawine G. Diggs has addressed the World Trade Organization high-level panel chaired by Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (Director-General) and the 62nd assembly of Member States of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva respectively.


According to a release from the Ministry, Minister Diggs gave the State of Play and reflection on the five years of Liberia’s WTO membership including recent economic Developments and performance since the country’s accession as a member of the World Trade Organization and recommitted Liberia to the global effort for the protection and promotion of Intellectual Property.


Addressing the Launch Study of Liberia’s Five years of WTO membership, Minister Diggs disclosed that Liberia's path to WTO membership was not an easy road before becoming a model for others.


She, however, pointed out that bearing in mind the potential benefits of WTO membership, including increased investment inflows, the Government saw a huge potential to integrate the multilateral trade system, and to return Liberia to the position it once had as a country.


The Minister of Commerce further gave some practical actions being taken by the Republic of Liberia under the leadership of President George Manneh Weah.


According to her, the practical actions include: the single window endeavor at the Freeport of Monrovia undertaking large-scale accession commitments and implementing the WTO Post-Accession Implementation Plan aimed at continuing with the reforms and transformation in critical areas such as tariff regulation, trade facilitation, taxation, Technical Barriers to Trade and Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures, economic diversification and many others.

Minister Diggs reaffirmed Liberia’s commitment to the World Trade Organization and the multilateral trade system.


For her Part, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala congratulated Liberia for the milestone achievement and extended greetings to President George M. Weah and the government of Liberia for the ratification of the trade facilitation agreement (TFA).


Madam Okonjo-Iweale asserted that the Liberian model, which was first of its kind, is history and sets a ‘’new standard for LDC accession.


She however, re-affirmed WTO’s support to Liberia through all necessary assistance as much as possible.


Meanwhile, Madam Diggs at the WIPO Assembly said Liberia has made significant strides through the development of a balanced and effective structure that enables innovation and creativity for patents, copyrights, and trademarks where people earn recognition for what they invent or create.


She told the body that Liberia is a member and signatory of several international IP conventions which speaks to the country’s commitment to the protection of Intellectual property worldwide through a collective global effort.


On the margin of the multilateral engagements, the Minister held bilateral talks with Hungary’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Peter Sziijarto where discussion centered around enhancing cooperation through trade between the two countries in the areas of Information Technology, energy and water.


As head of the delegation, Minister Diggs is accompanied by Charge’ d’ Affaires (en pied), Liberia Permanent Mission to the United Nation Office and Multiple International Organizations, Mr. Paul W. Tate, P. Adelyn Cooper, Director- General Liberia Intellectual Property, Minister Counselor/Public Affairs to the European Union, Senve D. Tehmeh, Abraham Kamara, Second Secretary, Liberia Permanent Mission to Geneva and Madam Esther Tolbert Chief of Staff (Office of the Minister of the Commerce.