‘We Have Critical Role to Play in WTO’

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The Minister of Commerce and Industry, Axel Addy says that Liberians have a critical Liberia’s Post Accession Plan (PAP) of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Minister Addy made the statement on Tuesday, Feb. 23, at the opening of a two-day steering committee forum of the LPAP/WTO in Monrovia. He called on members of the steering committee to work tirelessly to achieve the desired benefits.

The two-day forum discussed the way forward for the members of the steering committee to adopt a policy that will benefit Liberia at the WTO.

“We need to have the necessary partnership to have this project done, because Liberia’s accession to the WTO has great impact which among others things will encourage the process of trade liberalisation through free trade, gradually reducing barriers to international trade,” he said.

Minister Addy said the LPAP will help to generate more revenues for the growth of the economy and after one year accession WTO will also finance government deliverables.

He said 33 percent of the country’s revenue comes from trade outside and, “based on this, we need to address the problem” and urged the committee members to ensure that they encourage information sharing particularly with the technicians and their respective deputy ministers, who formed part of LPAP’s technical working group.

Madam Elfrieda Tamba, Commissioner General of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA), who co-chairs LPAP, also called on members of the committee to work hard in the interest of the country.

“The role you play is very critical. It is important that we have all gathered at this post-accession plan, and we look forward to having a fruitful discussion,” she said.

Madam Tamba told members of the committee that they have an assigned time to meet their goal.

Jim Tornonlah, Chairman on the Senate Committee on Commerce, described trade as an essential element of the country. “We will do everything possible to support the LPAP/WTO bill that is before us,” he said.

Sen. Tornonlah admitted that he has started lobbying with other colleagues in the Senate to pass the WTO bill.

Montserrado County District #4 Representative, Henry Fahnbulleh, told the committee members that they need to work in the interest of Liberians.

“We will do our best to listen to you, thereafter, we will take it to plenary for discussion,” he added.

Earlier, Stephen Marvie, Assistant Minister for Trade Services, who presented LPAP package to the WTO, highlighted several topics, which focused on Economic Diversification/Agriculture, (ED/A) Trade Facilitation, (TF) Sanitary and Phytosanitary, (SPS) and Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT).

The meeting brought together an array of government officials, heads of ministries and agencies and private institutions as well as lawmakers from the 53rd National Legislature.

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