Commerce Minister, Axel Addy
Commerce Minister Wants Liberia, Japan Up Businesses Ties
By Prince Nagbe
MONROVIA, July 5 (LINA) - Commerce Minister Axel Addy is calling on the business communities of Liberia and Japan to form stronger and responsible partnerships to exploit the huge investment opportunities in Liberia.
According to Minister Addy, Liberia’s natural resources provide huge investment opportunities for responsible partnerships that are committed to the development agenda of the West African nation.
He said Liberia’s Agenda for Transformation (AFT) has led to a direct foreign investment of about US$16 billion over the last 10 years.
He made the statement at the opening session of the first Japan-Liberia Business and Investment Dialogue held in the C. Cecil Dennis Auditorium at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday in Monrovia.
The Commerce Ministry boss further disclosed that Liberia has a long history of agriculture production from traditional tree crops such as rubber and oil palm that has dominated the export sector.
He added that Liberia has new emerging opportunities in other sectors such as rice, cassava and fisheries, areas in which Japanese businesses have particular expertise.
Addy added: “We have developed a practical and robust national export strategy to provide the roadmap for investment opportunities as a way of developing these sectors.”
He said the Government of Liberia welcomes such investment collaborations and strongly encourages partnership with the domestic private sector; noting that such investment collaborations will not only create jobs, but also create opportunities for smaller support companies to service the investor demands.
He said Liberia also holds a unique position, given its proximity to Europe and the United States markets, making the ports of Liberia an under-used resource.
Addy, who also highlighted Liberia’s trade and business registration process, told delegates at the Dialogue that Liberia is among the world’s easiest business registration countries; noting, “Liberia ranks 31st in the world and third in Africa.”
He told the Japanese business delegation that Liberia has an open trade with very low tariff at an average of 6.8 percent with no tariff on export, and is working to establish a strong regional market.
He thanked the Japanese Government for the long-standing relationship through the Japanese Food Aid and the nine project grant monetization program as well as the Kumatsu Heavy Industry Training program, which promote food security and job creation by establishing new skills and livelihoods for Liberians, especially those in the rural areas.