Commerce and Industry Minister Mawine G. Diggs while addressing the World Trade Organization (WTO) high-level panel recently recommitted Liberia to the global effort for the protection and promotion of Intellectual Property.
At the panel discussion chaired by the Director-General, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and the 62nd assemblies of Member States of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva, Minister Diggs reflected on the five years of recent economic developments and performance of Liberia since its accession as a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Speaking at the WIPO Assembly, Madam Diggs said Liberia has made significant strides through the development of a balanced and effective structure that enables innovation and creativity for patents, copyrights, and trademarks where people earn recognition for what they invent or create.
She told the body that Liberia is a member and signatory of several international IP Conventions which speak to the country’s commitment to the protection of Intellectual Property worldwide through a collective global effort.
On the margin of the multilateral engagements, the Minister held bilateral talks with Hungary’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Peter Sziijarto where discussion centered on enhancing cooperation through trade between the two countries in the areas of Information Technology, energy and water.
Also addressing the launch study of Liberia’s five years of WTO membership, Minister Diggs disclosed that Liberia’s path to the WTO membership was not an easy road before becoming a model for others.
She pointed out that bearing in mind the potential benefits of WTO’s membership, including increased investment inflows, the Liberian government saw a huge potential to integrate the multilateral trade system and to return Liberia to the position it once had as a country.
The Minister of Commerce further gave some practical actions undertaken by Liberia under the leadership of George Manneh Weah to include the single window endeavor at the Freeport of Monrovia.
Other practical efforts according to Madam Diggs, was the undertaking of large-scale accession commitments and implementing the WTO Post-Accession Implementation Plan aimed at continuing with the reforms and transformation in critical areas such as tariff regulation, trade facilitation, taxation, Technical Barriers to Trade and Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures, economic diversification among others.
She then reaffirmed Liberia’s commitment to the World Trade Organization and the multilateral trade system.
Dr. Okonjo-Iweala congratulated Liberia for the milestone achievement and extended greetings to President Weah and the government of Liberia for the ratification of the trade facilitation agreement (TFA).
Madam Okonjo-Iweale asserted that the Liberian model which was the first of its kind is history and sets a new standard for LDC accession thereby re-affirming WTO’s support to Liberia through all necessary assistances as much as possible.