Nairobi, 17 December 2015/ ACP: The Republic of Liberia will now be able to become a full-fledged member of the World Trade Organisation, after its membership deal was approved at the 10th WTO Ministerial Conference in Nairobi, Kenya on Wednesday, 16 December. The deal will enable the country to take better advantage of free trade opportunities in the multilateral trading system.
As a Least Developed Country, Liberia will also be able to benefit from special provisions within the WTO agreements, such as duty free quota free access for its products into a number of members’ markets. The country will have continued access to the Enhanced Integrated Framework, a multi-donor programme which helps LDCs play a more active role in the global trading system, as a way to promote economic growth and sustainable development.
The Secretary General of the ACP Group of States H.E. Dr. Patrick Gomes congratulated Liberia as the newest member of the WTO, saying:
“This is a commendable achievement for Liberia following a lengthy accession process, which indicates the country’s commitment to domestic reforms, while highlighting the impressive progress made despite various challenges it has faced. I join ACP Ministers of Trade in applauding this milestone and look forward to supporting Liberia in its efforts towards poverty eradication and sustainable inclusive economic development.”
In this regard, he recalled the recent signing of the Intra-ACP Strategy with the European Commission, which sets an allocation under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) for the period up to 2020 for strengthening health systems in ACP countries, including those worst-hit by the ebola crisis.
At the ceremony approving Liberia’s accession, in the presence of Kenya’s President H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta, Liberia’s President H.E Ellen Johnson Sirleaf acknowledged the collective efforts made by partners to ensure the successful accession of Liberia. She stated:
“Liberia’s accession to the WTO marks another turning point in our history, particularly in our journey of economic transformation for inclusive growth. Our transformation can neither be done alone, nor in isolation, but by forging partnerships… We fully subscribe to the African common position on strengthening the rules-based multilateral trading system to create the Africa that we want.”
The Protocol of Accession was officially signed by WTO Director General Roberto Azevêdo and President Sirleaf at the end of the ceremony. Following ratification of its membership, Liberia would become the 35th LDC and 62nd ACP member country to accede to the WTO.
(Photo: President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf / Government of Liberia)