A fourteen (14) year war ravaged Liberia has embarked on series of programs to strengthen her economy and put the nation in a better position to economically compete with other countries. Aligning the country with the World Trade Organization (WTO) is one of the many programs initiated to ensure sustained economic growth and development.
The Ministry of Commerce and Industry is spearheading the Government of Liberia’s goal to become a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Liberia is currently an “Observer” and seeks to become a full WTO Member. The Government of Liberia made its initial application to accede to the WTO in June 2007.
Liberia submitted its comprehensive Memorandum on Foreign Trade Regime in April 2011, and subsequently in June 2012. The Ministry of Commerce and Industry works in collaboration with representatives from a number of line ministries and agencies who have a stake in the process, including but not limited to the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the National Investment Commission. In addition, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry has consulted the Liberian private sector in the process.
An operational organizational structure for WTO accession has been established, consisting of three tiers: the WTO Steering Committee, the WTO Negotiating Team, and the WTO Working Group. Each tier is composed of inter-ministerial representatives.
Liberia’s Accessions to the WTO is expected to impact the agriculture sector in the following ways:
- Improved market access
- Help solve problems of unemployment
- Ensure food security
- Help modernize sales of agriculture commodities
- Assist domestic growth
- Provide technical and financial assistance to improve agricultural productivity
- Encourage increased agricultural production among others.
Lamie A. Sallay
Graduate Student – Liberia