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Liberia and China discuss Maritime Transport agreement renewal

The Governments of Liberia (GOL) and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) have agreed to begin technical discussions aimed at renewing the Agreement on Maritime Transport. The existing agreement, signed on 8th September 2018, is set to expire next year, 2024.

China’s maritime transport constitutes over 25 percent of Liberia’s total maritime registry. The world’s second largest registry with over 71 years’ experience, Liberia has earned international respect for its dedication to flagging the world’s safest and most secured vessels.

According to a dispatch from the Liberian Embassy near Beijing, China, the Commissioner-General of the Liberia Maritime Authority (LiMA), Mr. Lenn Eugene Nagbe, and the Director-General, Department of Water Transport at the PRC’s Ministry of Transport, Li Tianbi, reached the agreement during a meeting held at the Ministry of Transport in Beijing, China recently.

The meeting centered on the existing agreement between Liberia and China and ways to improve it so that cooperation between the two countries can be further solidified.

Other members of the Liberian delegation included Deputy Minister for Legal Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Cllr. Deway Gray; Deputy Commissioner for Maritime Operations, LiMA, Cllr Margaret Ansumana; and Liberia’s Ambassador to China, H.E. Dudley McKinley Thomas.

Making remarks during the meeting, Mr. Li stressed that both countries are two important maritime nations; and as such, there is the need continue to cooperate so that it’s a “win-win” situation for both countries.

Liberia is a big player in the maritime business, while China is a big player in global trade. This agreement serves not only to strengthen bilateral ties but to also bring economic benefits to both Liberia and China.

China’s Director General Department of Water Transport, further indicated that with the agreement that still has a year to its expiration, it’s important to begin the review process immediately.

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In response, LiMA Commissioner-General Nagbe indicated that the cooperation agreement has brought enormous benefits to the two countries since it came into effect a few years ago and called for its renewal at its expiration.

He noted that his visit to China is to initiate the review process of this agreement and hopes to improve on the implementation using lessons learnt. “Wherever there is a need for improvement, fine-tuning, and tweaking, they must be highlighted, discussed and resolved in the interest of both parties,” he said.

Commissioner-General Nagbe hoped that both sides discuss other areas of interest including seafarers education and training, and broader maritime administration. He highlighted the need for regular meetings, direct communication, training, student exchange and sharing best practices that could further enhance this agreement and make it more beneficial to both countries.

Technical teams were set up headed by LiMA’s Deputy Commissioner for Maritime Operations, Cllr. Margaret Ansumana, while the Director of Water Transport at the Chinese Transport Ministry Madam Gao Haiyun leads the Chinese side. The designated technical teams have been mandated to commence its work immediately and conclude before the expiration of the existing agreement. 

Meanwhile, in another development, the Liberian delegation paid a courtesy call on PRC’s Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Deng Li, at his Ministry of Foreign Affairs office in China.

The two sides discussed cooperation in the areas of maritime transport and bilateral concerns.

Earlier, the GOL delegation held several meetings with the China Shipowners Association in Shanghai.

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