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Liberia Trade Policy and Customs Project

2011-2013 || Millennium Challenge Corporation

Abstract

The Liberia Trade Policy and Customs (LTPC) Project is an engagement funded by the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) in support of Liberia’s MCC Threshold Country Program (TCP). Working with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Government of Liberia (GoL), Deloitte is providing technical assistance aimed at improving Liberia’s trade and customs laws and policies.

The Challenge

The Republic of Liberia, a democratic nation located on the Western Coast of Africa, was devastated by a 14-year civil war that ended in 2003, with a peace agreement signed in 2005. There has been strong annual gross domestic product (GDP) growth since then, but infrastructure remains woefully insufficient and lingering economic, political, and social effects of the civil conflict continue to plague the nation.  Economic growth and health and education systems outside the capital city of Monrovia have seen static progress.  Liberia’s per capita GDP is only $190. In addition, Liberia has troubling nutritional health issues, a lack of reliable roads or electricity supply, and food security problems for much of the population.

In an effort to improve the Liberian economy and stimulate domestic private sector development, the Government of Liberia is making efforts to reform its trade regime (e.g. customs reform and trade liberalization) and improve the business environment. Liberia ranked 112th out of 183 in the 2010 Doing Business report on the “Ease of Trading Across Borders” indicator.  

How We Helped

Within the Liberia Trade Policy and Customs (LTPC) Project, Deloitte is aiding the Government of Liberia, more specifically, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and the Ministry of Finance, through addressing four main initiatives:

  • Supporting tariff harmonization and reducing unnecessary non-tariff measures: The Project is focused upon simplifying, harmonizing, and guiding tariff policy as well as launching a non-tariff barrier reduction initiative, called the “National Trade Facilitation Forum.”
  • Strengthening trade policy institutions and improving their policies: The Deloitte team is aiding the Government of Liberia in preparing for World Trade Organization (WTO) accession.
  • Modernizing customs practice: The new Customs Code has been created and reviewed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Deloitte is now implementing and redefining the regulations.
  • Strengthening protection of intellectual property rights: The Project is focused on assisting with the drafting of the Intellectual Property Act of 2012; reviewing Liberia’s intellectual property (IP) regime vis-à-vis WTO requirements; training Government of Liberia staff (including MoCI, Industrial Property Office, Copyright Office, Bureau of Customs and Excise) on IP issues; outreach to the universities; and sensitizing Liberian judges on IP enforcement.
  • Providing Human and Institutional Capacity Development (HICD) assistance to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOCI) and the Bureau of Customs and Excise (BCE) with developing and institutionalizing a formal approach to training and capacity building across trade policy, customs administration, and intellectual property rights (IPR) functions.

These activities are designed to engender a business enabling environment—allowing Liberia’s government to improve their trade capacity and infrastructure.  

Solution

We are assisting the Government of Liberia in improving their business enabling environment by improving Liberia’s trade capacity and infrastructure.  Tariff harmonization and reducing non-tariff barriers helps the country to reduce the cost of cross-border trade, reduce risk of rent-seeking and fraud and increase awareness of these reforms. It improves Liberia’s competitiveness, supports the poorest in competing on the market, and encourages returning Liberian entrepreneurs. The project supports development of the legal and regulatory framework and broad and contemporary trade & industrial policies essential to the efficient and equitable functioning of a free market economy.  On Intellectual Property Rights, we provide guidance to the Government of Liberia in upgrading its IPR protection framework and adopting the Intellectual Property Development Plan (IPDP), which offers a real opportunity to make a significant impact on the economy and health of the Liberian population.  Human and institutional capacity building activities strengthen select GoL organizations responsible for trade environment and enable them take full ownership over further improvements and reforms.

Together, these activities help the Government of Liberia in opening up their borders and encouraging both domestic and international investments, creating the framework for an efficient functioning free market economy in Liberia’s pursuit of economic recovery and growth.

As used in this document, “Deloitte” means Deloitte Consulting LLP, which provides strategy, operations, technology, and human capital consulting services, Deloitte Financial Advisory Services LLP, which provides financial advisory services, and Deloitte & Touche LLP which provides governance and risk oversight and reporting advisory services. These entities are separate subsidiaries of Deloitte LLP. Please see www.deloitte.com/us/about for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries. Certain services may not be available to attest clients under the rules and regulations of public accounting.

 

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