Open and integrated trade could very will be a great help to capacity building. The story of the three day workshop below…
ECOWAS To Design Liberia Trade Policy
Saturday, 6th September 2008
D. Webster Cassell
…Ends Three-Days Institutional Capacity Workshop
Liberia has been earmarked amongst other African countries to benefit a lot from ECOWAStrade negotiation capacity, which will afford the country the opportunity to arrive at basic strategies on how to interact with international investors.
With this chance on hand, the Economic Community of West African States, (ECOWAS) has consented with its objectives to design a comprehensive trade policy and decision making mechanism for Liberia. Speaking to a cross-session of journalists, the Project Coordinator of the ECOWAS Trade Negotiation Capacity Building Project, Dr. Douglas Zormelo articulated that their collective objective in Liberia is to design a trade policy as they formulate mechanism that will be inclusive and participatory.
According to Dr. Zormole the three-day institutional capacity building workshop would serve as a bench_mark as the structure would provide the policy space for dialogue amongst various stakeholders and also provide the opportunity for follow-up actions.
Dr. Zormole further explained that this is intended to ensure that the impact of policy implementation becomes the desired outcome and that it provides the relevant feedback for remedial actions where necessary.
He noted that the information gathered from the three days event would be used to initiate work on the formulation of trade policy strategy framework that will serve as a basis for a comprehensive trade policy for the country.
“We hope that the structure that will be proposed will get the necessary legal support to enable it to perform its work effectively.
Again, we are ‘counting on’ the Ministry of Commerce to spearhead the process for obtaining the necessary legal support for the committee,” ECOWAS official added.
He however revealed that once a committee is setup to implement the policy, they would proceed to implement its mandate of the ECOWAS Trade Development and of other trade ministries in the region. In that way, he said, information will flow between countries of the region on issues such as market opportunities.
In a further explanation, he confirmed that such opportunity would deepen regional integration and the development of the region.
Dr. Zormelo also said that prior to the request to design the country trade policy, an ECOWAS delegation had already accessed the country in terms of trade policy decision-making in the country.
He said the team also looked at the trade policy of the country, the level of participation by stakeholders in trade policy decision making, the inclusiveness of the process, the content of the country’s trade policy in relation to the development and poverty reduction strategy and the existing structures for policy decision making.
Meanwhile, the ECOWAS official said that there should be training on how to make trade policy options of our trading partners and also how to shape our trade policy to take advantage of opportunities in the international trade system.
For his part, Deputy Commerce Minister for Administration, Mr. Andrews Allakamenin said ECOWAS has been a catalyst in promoting the development of West African Countries including Liberia but not limited to trade, industry, customs, and fair tariff.
Several government officials, civil service organizations and other main line government entities attended the workshop.
The three days educative workshop, which came to an end thursday have been praised by many of its participants. During the period, Liberians were provided basic knowledge on the need to establish a comprehensive and international standard trade policy that would improve the country investment climate.
With the given challenges in the trade industry, Liberia stands to benefit enormously from the setting up of a committee on National trade negotiation that is expected to be funded by ECOWAS with the aim of negotiating trade related issues for the country.
Accordingly, the committee and the trade policy would be an added advantage to the strengthening of the country own trade related relation that is expected to attract investors.
The Inquirer Newspaper