The Governments of Liberia and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) have renewed an Agreement on Maritime Transport.
According to a dispatch from the Liberian Embassy near Beijing, the Commissioner of the Liberia Maritime Authority (LiMA), Dr. James F. Kollie, signed on behalf of the Liberian Government while the Minister of Transport, Mr. Li Xiaopeng signed on behalf of the People’s Republic of China. The ceremony took place in the Ministry of Transport’s conference room in Bejing.
Making remarks on behalf of the Liberian delegation, Dr. Kollie said the signing of the new agreement marked an historic day in Liberia – China relations as it signifies the strong ties that exist between the two countries.
“Liberia is a big player in the maritime business, while China is a big player in global trade,” he pointed out; adding that the agreement serves not only to strengthen bilateral ties but to also bring economic benefits to both Liberia and China.
Dr. Kollie noted that with the renewal of the agreement, the LiMA hopes to improve on the implementation using lessons learnt.
He hoped that both parties will continue to explore other opportunities to strengthen the agreement. “I hope that both sides will benefit in the spirit of ‘win-win cooperation’,” he emphasized.
The Commissioner of the LiMA expressed the hope that both parties would further discuss other areas of interest including seafarers’ education and training and broader maritime administration, among other issues.
He believes that regular meetings, direct communication, training, student exchange and sharing best practices will go a long way in helping this agreement become more beneficial.
In response, the PRC’s Minister of Transport, Mr. Li Xiaopeng, welcomed the Liberian delegation to his ministry and noted that the visit demonstrates great importance to the bilateral relations and friendly cooperation between the two countries particularly in the transport and maritime sectors.
“It is my firm belief that with the strong leadership of State leaders of both countries and the joint efforts made by the two sides, cooperation in the transport and maritime sectors will be further strengthened in the coming years,” Mr. Li indicated.
He said, both China and Liberia have coordinated and collaborated under the framework of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and share common stance on key issues including safeguarding maritime navigation safety, prevention of maritime pollution from ships, among others.
The Chinese Transport Minister stressed that the world is undergoing profound changes and transformation especially the trend towards economic globalization, information technology application and cultural diversity which has accelerated the transformation of global maritime governance. “This,” he said, “provides valuable opportunities and tough challenges to sustainable development of the maritime sector.”
Mr. Li said his ministry stands ready to work with his Liberian counterparts to further the collaboration and coordination on the key issues of IMO such as maritime safety and greenhouse gas emission reduction in order to make joint efforts towards global maritime governance as well as promote a sustainable global shipping industry.
He noted that he is convinced that under the framework of this new agreement, authorities of both countries will coordinate and collaborate to bring tangible benefits to the peoples of both countries.
In a related development, Liberia’s Minister of Transport, Mr. Samuel Wlue, used the opportunity in his remarks to make a personal appeal to the Chinese Minister of Transport for needed assistance in the transport sector.
Minister Wlue indicated the challenges Liberia faces in the transport sector and used the opportunity to make a personal appeal to Mr. Li for more buses for public transport, water taxis/boats for transport along the country’s rivers and waterways as well as training opportunities.
In response, the Chinese Transport Minister, Mr. Li, designated the Deputy Director-General for International Cooperation, Mr. Zhang Xiaojie to follow-up with Minister Wlue on his request.
Liberia was represented at the signing ceremony by Foreign Minister, Mr. Gbehzohngar Findley; Transport Minister, Mr. Samuel Wlue; Commissioner of the LiMA, Dr. James F. Kollie; Liberia’s Ambassador to China, Mr. D. McKinley Thomas; Deputy Minister for Economic Affairs, Ministry of Justice, Ms. Kou Dorliae, Esq.; Senior Deputy Commissioner, Liberia Maritime Authority, Cllr. Margaret C. Ansumana; Principal Director, Administration and Legal, LiMA, Mr. Nya S. Gbaintor, Esq. and Minister Counselor at the Liberian Embassy in Beijing, Mr. J. Wesley Washington.
The People’s Republic of China was represented by the Minister of Transport, Mr. Li Xiaopeng; Vice Minister of Transport, Mr. He Jianzhong; Director-General Department of Water Transport, Mr. Li Tianbi; Deputy Director-General, Department of International Cooperation, Mr. Zhang Xiaojie; and Deputy Director-General, Maritime Safety Administration, Mr. Li Shixin.