Client: USAID and the Government of Liberia
Year Completed: 2011-2013
The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) recently funded a threshold program to support Liberia’s ongoing reform efforts to qualify for an MCC Compact. Under this program, IBI and Deloitte Consulting are working with Government of Liberia counterparts to improve Liberia’s trade policy and practices, including its engagement in regional and global bodies such as the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the Economic Organization of West African States (ECOWAS).
Liberia has the 12th highest weighted average tariff weight in the world and the second highest in West Africa. In addition to high duties on imported goods, numerous non-tariff barriers exist in the form of import bans and restrictions, inadequate trade capacity and infrastructure, cumbersome licensing procedures, minimal enforcement of intellectual property rights, and corruption. The Liberian government has recognized the resultant high cost of barriers to trade, which hurts Liberia’s competitiveness, drives out the poorest from the market, and discourages returning Liberian entrepreneurs.
With a team of long and short-term international and Liberian technical advisors, IBI and Deloitte are working with Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Ministry of Finance, Customs, and private sector counterparts to support tariff harmonization and remove unnecessary non-tariff measures, strengthen trade policy institutions and improve their policies, modernize customs practices, and strengthen protection of intellectual property rights. Through proactive communications and outreach campaigns, the program also aims at raising awareness of tariff harmonization and other trade reforms among Liberia’s businesses and consumers.
The program will support Liberia’s negotiations for accession to the WTO and its implementation of the Common External Tariff for complete integration into the ECOWAS Free Trade Area. It will also modernize trade administration through streamlining customs processes, strengthening the standards bureau, educating customs officials and businesses on export and import requirements in line with WTO and ECOWAS standards, and building a robust copyright and industrial property office within Customs and the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.