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Commerce reveals US$40m

-pending ratification of trade agreement

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The Ministry of Commerce here says government is poised to gain about US$40 million from the World Bank following the ratification of a Trade Facilitation Agreement recently submitted by President George Manneh Weah.

“We’ll get that ratification because there’s a huge gain when that ratification is made. You’re talking about something close to $40 million that will be coming to the country when that ratification is made,” Commerce Minister Prof. Wilson Tarpeh told a press conference Saturday, 10 August in Monrovia.

Minister Tarpeh disclosed that the US$40 Million will come from the World Bank and the international community.He explains that the ratification of an agreement called the Trade Facilitation Agreement requires the member country of the World Trade Organization (WTO) to meet certain commitments of WTO.

He recalls that Liberia ascended to the World Trade Organization in 2016, giving the country the capacity to increase its involvement in trading activities with the rest of the world.

However, he notes that part of the post ascension to WTO activities that Liberia should have done is the ratification of the Trade Facilitation Agreement which President Weah recently submitted to the Legislature for approval.Minister Tarpeh stresses that the president and the government are keen about the Trade Facilitation Agreement, and describes the expected US$40m from the international community as a substantial amount of assistance to Liberia.

The Commerce Minister reveals that beside the amount, there will be a lot of facilities and capacity building facilities available to Liberia which government is happy about.Prof. Tarpeh expresses confidence that the government will meet up with the ratification deadline for the Trade Facilitation Agreement, noting that the reasons for the delay in submitting the document to the Legislature was due to the preconditions that had to be cleared.

He notes that the government has a deadline of 19 August 2019 for the ratification.Additionally, Prof. Tarpeh reveals that government has also submitted to the Legislature a bill for the establishment of the National Standard Authority which when passed, will bring Liberia to a minimum standard.

He explains that standard means that when importation is being done, the importer must make sure that the import meets minimum standards based on measurement in order to determine the quality of the import.

In further stressing the significance of establishing the National Standard Authority, Minister Tarpeh explains that in order to trade and get investments from people, the operating environment must be predictable and ensure that there is certainty as to what the rules are.
He also adds that the environment must be stable and void of confusion because instability makes long term planning difficult for corporate investors.

Meanwhile, Minister Tarpeh announces that businesses here are cooperating with government on its demand for the acceptance of both Liberian Dollars and United States Dollars for trade.He however encourages the public to report any incident of non-compliance by any entity that restricts its financial transaction to one currency.By Winston W. Parley

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