Liberia: President Weah Submits Bills to Legislature

His Excellency Dr. George Manneh Weah has submitted to the National Legislature two instruments for consideration: to enact a Bill establishing the Liberia Standards Authority and to ratify The World Trade Organization Trade Facilitation Agreement.

In a letter to House Speaker Dr. Bhofal Chambers, President Weah said Liberia, as an ECOWAS state, does not have National Standards Body, which makes it impossible for the country to become a member of the International Standards Setting Bodies such as the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

"As a member of ISO, a country stands to benefit from access to international standards and relevant trading programs," the President informed the Legislature.

He also said in the letter that the establishment of a National Standard Body, which is a World Trade Organization (WTO) ascension obligation, will position Liberia to satisfy relevant provisions of WTO Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) and Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Agreements.

President Weah also indicates that the National Standards body will be able to eliminate barriers to trade and at the same time help institute measures to protect human, animal and plant health or life in Liberia.

"Mr. Speaker, adoption and promotion on the use of standards by the Liberia Standards Authority, when established, is expected to assist and encourage industries to implement standards with the objective of increasing productivity, improving quality and enhancing competitiveness," President Weah noted.

As for the ratification of the World Trade Organization Trade Facilitation Agreement, President Weah asserted it would significantly reduce bureaucratic delays and red tape which pose burden for moving goods across borders for traders and enhance the simplification, modernization and harmonization of export and import processes for the Liberian business community.

He recalled that Liberia, on July 15, 2016, officially became the 163rd member of the WTO whose Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) came into force on February 22, 2017, following the ratification by two-thirds of the WTO membership. He said Liberia was encouraged to join other developing countries, including ECOWAS and AU member States to ratify the Agreement.

"It is the first multilateral trade agreement since the establishment of the WTO in 1995, and its implementation is binding on all WTO members," President Weah noted. "However, WTO recognizes that all of its members do not have the capacity to implement all of the TFA measures; hence it has the Special Different Treatment for Least Developed Countries such as Liberia."

The President is of the hope that the two legal instruments, if approved, will provide substantial leverage for improved business environment.

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