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Foreign Trade Law

The Foreign Trade Law was approved on the 14th of June 2016. The law was enacted as part of the Legislative Action Plan (LAP) resulting from the WTO accession and contains many of the obligations that Liberia has to fulfil as a member of the WTO. The law fortifies Liberia’s commitment to encourage free, open and fair trade with other nations.

Right to Import and Export         

The law lays down a general right to import and export goods and services to and from Liberia (section 4). The right is applicable to domestic and foreign persons alike and imposes a general obligation on the government and judiciary to interpret and administer the Laws of Liberia in the least trade restrictive way possible.

Similarly, any measure imposed by the Government of Liberia that restricts foreign trade needs to fulfil three conditions (section 5):

  • It must be specifically authorized by the Foreign Trade Law,
  • It must be necessary to achieve a particular purpose prescribed by the Foreign Trade Law and
  • It must be limited to the minimum extent necessary to achieve the purpose.

Fees and Charges

In the same vein, any Fees or Charges imposed in respect of imports and exports of goods and services shall be limited to the approximate cost for the services rendered. Fees and Charges are not to represent an indirect protection of domestic goods or services or a taxation of imports or exports or services levied for the purpose of obtaining revenue for fiscal purposes.

Most Favoured Nation Treatment, Market Access and National Treatment

The Foreign Trade Law also contains provisions with regards National Treatment and Most Favoured Nation (MFN) Treatment (section 13-14), in line with Liberia’s commitments in international agreements.

As a member of the WTO, Liberia is obliged to accord MFN treatment to service providers from other member states. This means that Liberia must accord service suppliers from WTO countries treatment no less favourable than it accords to like suppliers from other countries. The exceptions to this rule can be found in this document.

Laws and Regulations

The Foreign Trade Law is available here.

 

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