President George Manneh Weah has issued an Executive Order banning the export of unprocessed natural rubber from Liberia until otherwise advised.
Dated 23 November 2023, the Executive Order said unprocessed natural rubber shall be defined as the raw material tapped from rubber trees, not having gone through any processing to change its physical or chemical composition.
The instrument also refers to unprocessed natural rubber as natural latex, coagulum, cup lump, tree lace, bark scrap, ground scrap, and any other form of unprocessed natural rubber (including concentrated latex and dry rubber produced or derived from the latex produced by rubber trees.
Through the Executive Order, President Weah orders the Ministries of Commerce and Finance or any other government agency not to issue or authorize the issuance of any export permit for unprocessed natural rubber from Liberia.
Within 30 days of the issuance of the Executive Order, President Weah has directed that the Ministries of Commerce and Agriculture shall make a special effort to provide access to domestic markets for Liberian rubber farmers in remote areas who rely primarily on cross-border trade in unprocessed natural rubber.
Mr. Weah has also ordered Customs Officers and law enforcement authorities at points of entry and exit to stop and prohibit the exportation of all consignments of unprocessed natural rubber from Liberia.
The Executive Order detailed that transporting or moving unprocessed natural rubber outside of rubber plantations between the hours of 8:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. shall be prohibited.
“Individuals found transporting or moving unprocessed natural rubber during those hours shall be stopped by plant protection force or law enforcement authorities,” the instrument said.
It noted that any persons found to violate the Executive Order shall be prosecuted by the Ministry of Justice.
The Executive Order stated that Liberia’s rubber industry has been, and continues to be depleted by illicit tapping, which is observed to be increasing.
In addition to having massive economic consequences on employment and government revenue, the Executive Order said the theft situation has a major security implications throughout the country.
To deal with the depreciating situation in the Liberian rubber industry, the Executive Order disclosed that the government believes that further strategy is necessary.
It stated that proper policies should be developed, and an appropriate institutional and regulatory framework established to curb retrogression, sustain the development of the industry, and stimulate growth.