Regional Seminar on International Trade, Taxes and Policies Begins

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Participants at the WAIFEM training

A week-long regional seminar intended to provide participants with an understanding of pertinent issues relating to international trade, taxes and negotiations, as well as to build capacity for the formulation and implementation of good and effective external trade policies to yield maximum benefits, kicked off on Monday, August 7, at the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) conference hall.

The course, which is being organized by the West African Institute for Financial and Economic Management (WAIFEM), will expose participants to contemporary issues in trade policy analysis and provide a theoretically consistent and quantitative way to evaluate different economic policies.

In his welcoming address, the Director of Macroeconomic Management of WAIFEM, Chris Kedze, who served as proxy for Professor H. Ekpo, expressed his pleasure in welcoming all the participants on behalf of his management to the opening ceremony of the regional workshop. He also welcomed the facilitators from the Central Bank of Nigeria and other financial institution experts who are partnering with them for the first time.

Mr. Kedze also acknowledged the efforts of the CBL Governor, Milton A. Weeks, who is also serving as Chairman of the Board of Governors of WAIFEM, and his management team for the excellent logistical support provided for the smooth organization of the course. “We are really grateful of the continuous support of the CBL to the course of WAIFEM. Since inception, and as at the end of June 2017, we successfully executed 600 courses/workshops, and these have benefited 16,294 participants from the sub-region and beyond,” said Kedze.

Accordingly, the Director of Macroeconomic Management of WAIFEM said the course was designed to cover a number of key topics such as international trade theory; international trade policy; promoting a regional common market and investment climate in the international trade.

Others include fostering effective customs union and its challenges; ECOWAS and economic partnership agreements; EU EPAs: implications for economic and social development; international trade negotiations; international relations; regional integration and trade in WAMZ; modeling international trade; an overview of multilateral trading system; world trade organization (WTO); and regional trade agreement, among others.

He explains that at the end of the training, there will also be hands-on exercises on modeling international trade. Kedze said it is worth mentioning that WAIFEM collaborates with a number of reputable institutions to ensure high and international standards in its programs. These include among others International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, Commonwealth Secretariat, Debt Relief International, the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).

Governor Weeks in his keynote statement expressed gratitude to the WAIFEM director and staff for bringing such important training to Liberia. He said the issue of trade and its impact on economic development in the globalized world has remained controversial, especially within the context of developing countries, whose major resources are primary commodities. For the west African sub-region, there has been a renewed effort at scaling up the contribution to the economy of the sub-region, given the potential benefits of trade and ensuring political, social and economic integration.

“For these trade potential to be achieved, serious attention has being given to the challenges ranging from complex trade taxes, barriers to trade, inefficient transportation and communication system, hindrances at the borders of countries in the sub-region, currency and legal differences as well as language problems,” Weeks said.

These challenges, according to the CBL Governor, must be overcome if growth and international relations are to be fostered in the region. “It is my expectation that these issues will run through your decisions during this program and the CBL remained a strong supporter of WAIFEM and its capacity building efforts,” he said.

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