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EU Official Wants Liberia Add Value To Exports
By Prince S. Nagbe
MONROVIA, April 5 (LINA) – The Head of Section for Cooperation and Resilience at the European Union (EU) Liberia Office, Alberto Menghini, has stressed the need for the Liberia to put in place a system to add value to the products the country exports.
“Liberia’s economy depends on natural resources, especially timber, to create jobs for its citizens and as such, the best way to achieve that is to ensure that the timbers are certified legally.
Speaking to a team of journalists on the Liberia-EU Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) in Buchanan, Grand Bassa on Tuesday, Menghini said the Agreement is not being imposed on Liberia, noting that it is instead an idea intended to put systems into place in order to add value to Liberia’s forestry sector.
The VPA is a legally binding trade agreement signed between the Liberian Government and the EU to ensure that all timbers and timber products destined for EU markets from Liberia comply with the laws of those countries.
“The price for legal timber on the world market is much better than that of illegal timber and as such the VPA seeks to ensure that Liberia’s natural resources yield their just monetary value for the betterment of the country and its economy,” the EU official stressed.
He said though the system is not perfect, the EU values the progress of the agreement so far, noting, “There has been turbulent situation in the forestry sector of Liberia in the past, but since the signing of the VPA, the EU is assured that there have been some positive changes.”
Liberia and EU ratified the VPA in 2012 and 2013 respectively and are now implementing the commitments they made in it.
This means that once Liberia implements the “Timber Legality Assurance
System” and all the other commitments satisfactorily, it will be allowed to export only verified legal timber products to EU markets.