Monrovia – The Liberia Chamber of Commerce and the Ezzat N. Eid Foundation in an effort to support local Liberian business, on August 27 held an evening-long fundraising event for 23 Liberian owned businesses in Monrovia.
Duped the “Liberian Chamber of Commerce and Ezzat N. Eid Foundation-made in Liberia Products Pitch Contest and Fundraising event” it brought together dozens of Liberian and foreign business executives to witness the occasion and throw in their financial support to enable local entrepreneurs take part in the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Expo and Trade Fair in the United States.
The AGOA Expo Trade Fair is expected to take place in New York from September 25 to the 30th, 2018 under the theme: “Celebrating U.S. – Africa Cooperation through African Growth & Opportunity Act.”
Twenty-three Liberian owned businesses participated in the exhibition- showcasing their homemade products at the amazement of onlookers including business executives who expressed delight as they toured locally made products including food items and clothes that were on display.
Out of the 23 companies, 12 were selected for sponsorship to travel to New York as Liberia’s representatives to the AGOA Expo Trade Fair.
In a brief remark, the President of the Liberia Chamber of Commerce (LCC), J. Wendell Addy noted that the organization was established by an Act of the Legislature in 1951 with the mandate to build the capacity of the private sector by promoting commerce, industry, trade and agriculture.
He said the membership of the organization comprises of top companies, business association, and association in Liberia which he said include all NGOs, commerce and concessions.
Mr. Addy also informed the gathering that the Chamber is opened to doing business with all registered businesses and business associations.
He further stated that over the past two decades which covered the civil upheaval in the country, the LCC continues to experience numerous challenges and constraints including funding.
He said against this backdrop, the business community has come to showcase the “Made in Liberia Products”, adding, “We believe that this is a unique initiative that all Liberians, the Government of Liberian and our international partners and other stakeholders of our economy must embrace.”
According to the LCC, the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) is a piece of legislature that was approved by the United States Congress in May 2000 to assist the economies of Sub-Saharan Africa and to improved economic relations between the United States and the region.
AGOA builds on existing US trade programs by expanding benefits (duty free) previously available only under the country’s Generalized System of Preferences (GPS) program, adding that duty-free access to US market under the combined AGOA/GSP program stands at approximately 6,500 product tariff lines, including the tariff lines that were added by the AGOA legislation.
The AGOA products include items such as apparel and footwear, wine, certain motor vehicle components and a variety of agriculture products, chemicals, steel and many others.
According to the LCC, Liberia was declared eligible on December 29, 2006 and after completing its initial 15-year period of validity, the AGOA legislation was extended on June 29, 2015 by further 10 years.
Meanwhile, some of the Liberian businesses that were promised sponsorship by individuals attending the event include J-Palm, Zoequoi, St. Paul Rum, Bravo Sister Enterprise, the Liberia Business Incubator and New Marketing Vision.