Timeline

Timeline of Liberia’s Accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO)

 

Liberia submitted its application (memorandum of Foreign Trade Regime-MFTR) in 2007 under the leadership of H.E. Olubanke King Akerele, then Minister of Commerce and Industry. After seven years of work with technicians across several ministries and agencies and several studies and stakeholder egagements, in May of 2014, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf in a letter to the Director General of the WTO, Roberto Azevedo, expressed Liberia need of assistance to fast track its accession's process in time for MC10.  Madam President also appointed the Minister of Commerce as the Chief Negotiator. The additional technical work commenced with the support of SIDA/NBT, ITC, UNTAD, ACWL, Worl Bank, EIF, and King and Spalding Law Firm. Subsequently, Liberia's WTO Market Access Package tabling its offers was submitted in October of 2014.

 

The table below gives a step-by-step summary of all the activities leading up to the Final Working Party Meeting scheduled to take place  on October 2015.

 

Steps Taken

Completion Date

Membership application

13 June 2007

Working Party established

18 December 2007

Liberian Mission in Geneva established

18 May 2010

Memorandum on Foreign Trade Regime (MFTR) submitted

20 April 2011

US questions on MFTR received

24 May 2011

EU questions on MFTR received

27 July 2011

Chairman appointed (H.E. Ambassador Joakim Reiter of Sweden)

1 May 2012

Liberia’s answers to the US and EU questions submitted to WTO

16 May 2012

Additional accession documentation submitted (ACC/4, ACC/8, ACC/9) to WTO

16 May 2012

Liberia’s first Working Party Meeting (WPM) held at the WTO in Geneva

11 July 2012

Second round of questions from WTO members received in follow up to WPM

3 September 2012

 

After the First Working Party Meeting, the following activities occured in support of Liberia's WTO accession efforts.

 

Activity Date
Training on the market access offers by the Swedish National Board of Trade 5-9 Nov 2012
WTO Unit established within Ministry of Commerce and Industry 21 November 2012
WTO capacity building workshops for the public and private sectors and joint stakeholder conference, hosted by the International Trade Center (ITC) 11-13 December 2012
Initial Services Offer mission by the Swedish National Board of Trade to work with the Services Team on the preparation of the offer 11 February to 8 March 2013
Official launch of the “Swedish National Board of Trade (NBT) Support to Liberia's WTO Accession,” a 5-year  technical assistance project 23 April 2013
WTO trade in services workshops focusing on Telecommunications and Tourism, hosted by the International Trade Center (ITC) 4-7 June 2013
Long-term advisors from the Swedish National Board of Trade arrive in Liberia and join the WTO Unit 1 July 2013
The Ministry of Commerce & Industry and the Swedish National Board of Trade held a workshop on SPS Agreement 8-10 October 2013
The Ministry of Commerce & Industry and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) held a workshop on WTO accession process, trade policy instrument available in GATT and the WTO agreements (goods offer preparation) 30th October - 1st November 2013
The Ministry of Commerce & Industry and the Swedish National Board of Trade held a workshop on TBT Agreement 3 - 6 December 2013
The Swedish National Board of Trade goods expert arrived in Liberia and worked with the goods team at Finance ministry to draft Liberia’s initial goods offer 18 - 21 March 2014
The Ministry of Commerce & Industry and the international Trade Centre held a capacity building workshop on trade in services (construction, distribution, educational and professional) for scheduling Liberia’s commitment to the WTO 24 - 26 March 2014
The Ministry of Commerce & Industry and the International Trade Centre held a public-private dialogue on Liberia’s WTO accession. 27 - 28 March 2014
Goods Mission with ITC Goods expert in Geneva May 20-23, 2014
Stockholm Missions on Goods and Services

Goods Offer; July 28-August 1

Services offer: 4-8 August
Stakeholder Consultative meeting held to solicit comments and suggestions on the offers October 15, 2014

Technical Working Session held to incorporate comments and suggestions from stakeholders on the Offers and completion of the following documentations in preparation of the Second Working Party:

1.      Market access Offers (Goods and Services Offers)

2.      Legislative Action Plan (LAP)

3.      Import Licensing Questionnaire-from the WTO Secretariat

4.      Second round of questions-from members of the WTO

TBT and SPS Action Plan
October 24, 2014
Transmittal of the complete package from the Secretariat to members of the WTO. The package includes LAP, Goods and Services Offers and Responses to the Second Round of Questions. November 11, 2014
12 Draft Laws / Acts were circulated 17 June 2014, and 28 November 2014

Circulation  of Legislative Action Plan and

Answers to Members' Questions
28 November 2014
Preparation of Liberia’s Negotiation Team January-June 2015
Liberia’s Chief Negotiator’s Third pulse check mission in Geneva 26 January 2015
Liberia’ Bilateral Negotiations January-end February 2015
Presentation of the WTO Accession to the Cabinet at the Juliluah, Bomi County Cabinet Retreat 20 January 2015
Third Pulse Check Mission at the WTO with a team from MoCI, MFDP/LRA and MOA 26-30 January 2015
Fourth Pulse Check Mission at the WTO with team from MoCI, MFDP/LRA and MOA 23 February, 6 March 2015
GoL-US Bilateral Meeting and second Party Meeting 24 April-12 May 2015
Signing of Bilateral with the EU and the US and Third Working Party Meeting 22-27 July 2015
Technical Verifiaction Meeting 28 July 2015
High Level WTO Team Visit (Chair and Director's Visit) 25-28 August 2015
Fourth and Final Working Party Meeting - Conclusion of Liberia's accession negotiation and adoption of the Draft Accession Package, ad referendum 8 October 2015
Trade Ministers at Ministerial 10 (MC10) Conference in Nairobi shall consider Accession Package for formal approval. President invited to sign Liberia's Accession Protocol with WTO Director General 15-18 December 2015
Liberia acceded to the World Trade Organization at the Tenth Nairobi Ministerial in Nairobi, Kenya 16 December 2015
Launh a 2-year WTO Post Accession Plan for Liberia. The Plan focuses on trade facilitation, customs reforms, economic diversification, Sanitary and Phytosanitary measures, and technical barriers to trade 16 December 2015
MoCI and IFC conducted a needs assessment on the Trade Facilitation Agreement 2-4 March 2016
NBT held the Stockholm Trade Policy course on the Multilateral Trading System for stakeholders from MAC and the private sector 11-14 April 2016
MoCI and NBT organized two TBT workshops for MACs in Monrovia, Liberia May 2016
Liberia submitted the matrix of notification to the WTO Secretariat 23-24 May 2016
UNCTAD held a trade facilitation mission to support the National Trade Facilitation Committee (NTFC) 23-24 May 2016
Four core staff from MoA participated in a train-the trainers workshop at the NBT in Stockholm June 2016
The 53rd National Legislature of Liberia ratified the WTO Accession Protocol 14 June 2016
Liberia made the Deposit of Instrument of Acceptance at the WTO 14 June 2016
IFC held a workshop on the national Single Window 15-16 June 2016
WTO Post Accession Workshop organized by the WTO Secretariat 27-29 June 2016
UNCTAD organized an Empowerment Workshop for Trade Facilitation to support the NTFC 26-27 September 2016
MoCI-NBT Project Planning and Steering Group meetings 10-14 October 2016
MoCI-ECOWAS-GIZ orgainzed a trade policy advocacy workshop for trade conmmunity 25-26 October 2016