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Today’s Top Headlines

Liberia Joins The World Trade Organization

by Lorys Charalambous,, Cyprus

15 July 2016

Liberia joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) as its 163rd member on July 14, 2016, after nearly 10 years of negotiating its accession terms with WTO members.

The African country is the eighth least-developed country (LDC) to accede to the WTO through negotiations.

Liberia's Minister for Commerce and Industry, Axel Addy, handed to the WTO the instrument of acceptance of Liberia's Protocol of Accession on June 14, 2016, thereby activating the 30-day countdown to the country's membership. Its Accession Package was approved by members of the accession Working Party on October 6, 2015, and by Ministers at the Nairobi Ministerial Conference on December 16, 2015.

As part of the accession negotiations, Liberia concluded six bilateral market access agreements on goods and three bilateral market access agreements on services. On goods, Liberia has undertaken tariff concessions and commitments that bind tariff rates for all products on average at 26.7 percent. For agricultural products, this average is 23.8 percent, while for non-agricultural products the average is 27.2 percent.

Liberia also committed to bind tariff lines on products included in the Information Technology Agreement (ITA) at their currently applied rates, with a view to joining the ITA at a future date.

All Liberia's laws, regulations, and other measures relating to internal taxes and charges levied on imports will be in conformity with its WTO obligations. Exceptionally, the excise tax on mineral and aerated water will be brought into compliance with Liberia's WTO commitments by August 1, 2017.

Additionally, the surtax applied to imports of wheat flour will be eliminated by July 1, 2019.

Seven African countries are still negotiating their WTO accession, out of nineteen governments.

TAGS: compliance | tax | Liberia | export duty | law | tariffs | World Trade Organisation (WTO) | agreements | import duty | regulation | services | Africa

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