WTO Delegation Arrives…As Liberia Gets Close To Accession

A high level delegation from the World Trade Organization (WTO) has arrived in the country and is expected to stay in the country from August 18-21, 2015.

The delegation from WTO on Liberia’s accession to the global trade body are expected to present and answer questions on Liberia’s WTO accession package, a Ministry of Commerce and Industry release said.

The delegation which include Mr. Joakim Reiter, Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and Chairman of the working Party on the Accession of Liberia, along with Dr. Chieidu Osakwe, Director of the Accession Division of the WTO are in Liberia to engage stakeholders on Liberia’s accession to the WTO.

The visit according to the Commerce and Industry Ministry is part of the standard protocol of accessions to the WTO for acceding countries that have reached a critical period in the process and are close to concluding their accession.

While in Monrovia, the delegation as guest of the country will be hosted by the Minister of Commerce and Industry and Chief Negotiator of Liberia’s Accession, Mr. Axel Addy.

The delegation during the visit will also meet with the executive and legislative branches of government and the private sector.

The Commerce and Industry Ministry said the delegation will present and answer questions on the draft accession package to the Cabinet and other members of the Government of Liberia including heads of state-owned enterprises.

On Friday, the team is expected to engage the private sector to review the business opportunities in Liberia’s Accession Package, in a public forum at Monrovia City Hall.

Liberia commenced its accession process in 2007 under the leadership of the then Commerce Minister Olubanke King Akerele and said process gathered momentum under the leadership of former Commerce Minister Miatta Beysolow.

The Government of Liberia (GOL) held its first Working Party meeting in 2012 and Liberia’s current Minister of Commerce and Industry working under Minister Beysolow inherited the portfolio and has since been facilitating the process and leading the negotiation as Chief Negotiator in consultation with all government and private sector stakeholders.

Under the Axel Addy leadership, negotiations in July in accordance with its roadmap to accede in December in Nairobi at the 10th Ministerial Conference (MC10) of the World Trade Organization. This will be the first time the WTO Ministerial conference will be held in sub-Sahara Africa.

Liberia will hold its final Working party in early October where the final Draft Accession Package will be presented to WTO for approval and referendum. The final formal decision shall be taken at the tenth WTO Ministerial Conference in Nairobi, Kenya.

Liberia’s accession has been supported by the Swedish National Board of Trade (SIDA/NBT), the International Trade Center (ITC), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) the Advisory Center on WTO Law (ACWL) the World Bank, Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) and the Geneva –based Law Firm of King and Salding; reports Timothy T. Seaklon