WASHINGTON DC - U.S. Trade Representative Susan C. Schwab and the Liberian Minister of Commerce, Industry, & Trade Olubanke King-Akerele signed a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) yesterday that will provide a forum to address trade issues and will help build trade and investment relations between the United States and Liberia.
“Increased trade and investment will be critical to Liberia’s reconstruction and economic development as the country emerges from years of war and civil strife,” said Ambassador Schwab. “Liberian President Johnson-Sirleaf has worked hard to reinvigorate and strengthen Liberia’s trade ties and economic partnership with the United States, and through the TIFA we can build upon this important work.”
Under the TIFA, a Council on Trade and Investment will be formed to address a wide range of trade and investment issues that include, but are not limited to implementation of the African Growth and Opportunity Act, trade capacity building, intellectual property, labor, and environmental issues. The Council will also help to increase commercial and investment opportunities by identifying and working to remove impediments to trade and investment flows between the United States and Liberia.
Liberia held historic national elections in October 2005, after 14 years of civil war. The elections resulted in the inauguration of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf in January 2006. President Johnson-Sirleaf’s administration has embarked upon an ambitious program of reform and reconstruction with the support of the international donor community, including the United States. Since January 2006, Liberia has made significant progress in implementing reforms and encouraging economic development.
On December 29, 2006, President Bush designated Liberia as eligible for trade benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act. Total trade between the United States and Liberia was valued at $207.7 million in 2006, an increase of 30 percent over the prior year. U.S. exports totaled $67.8 million in 2006; U.S. imports from Liberia amounted to $139.8 million in that same year.