By Antoinette Sendolo
The Ministry of Commerce and Industry in collaboration with the Economic Community of West African State (ECWAS) yesterday hosted a one day awareness symposium on the Economic Partnership Agreement(EPA) in Monrovia.
The awareness symposium which was held under the theme: Raising Awareness for the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) in Liberia was intended to enlighten the minds of stakeholders and other Liberians on the purpose of the Economic Partnership Agreement.
The Economic Partnership Agreement between the European Union and West Africa aims at bringing Liberia closer to the global economy and fostering investment and trade across West Africa.
Speaking at the opening of the awareness symposium, the acting Minister of Commerce, Cyril A. Allen, noted that the Economic Partnership Agreement is essential because it will serve to support the regional integration process.
“As Liberia endorses trade, regional and global market integration, Liberians must give full consideration to the impact, benefits and challenges to local markets and national stakeholders,” Acting Minister Cyril A. Allen said.
Additionally, Minister Allen noted that Europe has been a traditional trading partner with countries in West Africa for centuries, and therefore, Liberia views the negotiations on the Economic Partnership Agreement as formalizing the already existing trade relations.
Minister Allen then extended the country’s gratitude to ECOWAS Commission for their continuous support in making the EPA awareness campaign and symposium a reality.
The key negotiators of the Economic Partnership Agreement are ECOWAS and UEMOE and they are mandated to negotiate a development oriented EPA.
Also speaking was ECOWAS special representative to Liberia, Amb. Tunde Ajisono. He also described the EPA as essential to Liberia and the European Union integration adding that the EPA will impact Liberia’s economy positively.
Amb. Ajisono asserted that the EPA will also make investment smooth in Liberia because it will attract investors from across the region.
He also disclosed that European Union has committed 6.5 billion to West Africa for infrastructure and other activities as part of the Economic Partnership Agreement Development Project which will help foster the implementation of the EPA.