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United States and Liberia Review Progress in Deepening, Expanding Trade and Investment Relationship

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. and Liberian officials met this week in Washington to review progress in deepening their partnership on trade and investment under the United States-Liberia Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA). This was the third meeting of the United States-Liberia TIFA Council, which provides a high-level forum for advancing cooperation on bilateral trade and investment issues.

Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis and Liberian Minister of Commerce & Industry, Miata Beysolow, co-chaired the day-long meeting on Wednesday, August 17, which examined the two governments’ work together on a number of trade-related issues, including: implementation of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), trade capacity building, export diversification, trade and investment promotion, infrastructure issues, and Liberia’s accession into the World Trade Organization (WTO). Minister Beysolow was accompanied by a high level delegation of Liberian Government officials, including Minister of Agriculture, Florence Chenoweth; Minister of Post and Telecommunications, Frederick Norkeh; Minister of Transport, Willard Russell; Chairman of the National Investment Commission, Natty B. Davis; Deputy Minister of Finance for Revenue, Elfrieda Tamba; Deputy Minister for Economic Affairs and Policy, Sebastian Muah; and Assistant Minister of Commerce and Industry, Aletha Brown.

“Since the TIFA was signed in 2007, the United States and Liberia have made huge strides in strengthening our engagement on bilateral trade and investment,” said Ambassador Marantis, “and we have seen increased trade in both directions as a result. Liberia offers enormous potential and opportunity for trade and investment. We plan to use the U.S.-Liberia TIFA Council to develop specific initiatives to expand economic opportunities for workers, farmers, businesses, and consumers in both countries.”

Following government-to-government consultations under the TIFA, meetings were held with the U.S. business community at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Corporate Council on Africa. During these meetings Liberian officials outlined the many policy, legal, and regulatory steps that have been taken to encourage investment in Liberia and U.S. businesses had the opportunity to discuss their interests and questions about doing business in Liberia.

In 2010, the U.S. and Liberia’s total two-way goods trade was $370 million. U.S. goods exports to Liberia totaled $190 million in 2010, up 102 percent from the previous year. Top U.S. exports were medical instruments, vehicles, cereals, and iron and steel products. U.S. goods imports from Liberia totaled $180 million in 2010, up 124 percent from the previous year. Top imports from Liberia last year were rubber, oil, and precious stones (diamonds).

BACKGROUND

The U.S.-Liberia Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA), signed in February 2007, established a formal, high-level dialogue to address bilateral trade and investment issues and to enhance economic engagement between the United States and Liberia. The previous TIFA Council meeting was held in Monrovia, Liberia in March 2009.