Trade Policy

Background

Trade is critical to the development of the Sierra Leone economy. It plays a crucial role in reducing poverty as it directly affects the poor’s levels of income and employment, and the prices they face as both consumers and producers. Trade can also affect poverty indirectly by stimulating economic growth and its linkage effects and dynamic processes, and through the impact on government revenues and expenditures that affect the poor. Recognizing this, the Government of Sierra Leone has made promotion of trade a core aspect of its Vision and its poverty reduction strategy. Therefore, several initiatives and activities launched to implement the Vision and the poverty reduction strategy also have aspects that enhance the gains from trade. The Trade Policy has also been formulated in the context of implementing the PRSP and it provides a framework for enhancing the benefits and gains from domestic and international trade. In this regard, it also culls together the trade aspects of related initiatives, policies and strategies for harmonization and coherence.

Rationale

The rationale for the Trade Policy is to provide a harmonized and coherent reference for trade development in Sierra Leone.

The Vision

The Vision for the Trade Policy is a competitive Sierra Leone economy that is integrated regionally and globally.

Overall Goals and Core Objectives

The overall policy goal is to promote a robust and competitive private sector and support growing production and service sectors to trade, at national and international levels, and contribute ultimately to wealth and employment generation. Therefore, the core objectives of the policy are to:

  • Build capacity for participation in regional and global trade negotiations
  • Develop a transparent mechanism for trade
  • Provide infrastructure for trade
  • Ensure a trade-supporting labor market
  • Promote competition
  • Protect consumers
  • Generate resources for Government
  • Encourage the inflow of aid, private investment capital, and migrant remittences

Guiding and Operating Principles:

The Trade Policy is based on the following principles:

  • Development orientation — programs and activities undertaken should have an impact on sustainable socio-economic development
  • Development of the Private Sector as the engine of growth: the policy will support activities and programs that develop, facilitate or promote the Private Sector as the engine of growth, with Government providing a trade-enabling environment
  • Market Integration: programs and activities which directly integrate markets should be undertaken to facilitate free movement of labour, capital as well as goods and services
  • Policy coherence – care is taken to ensure policy coherence, synergies and complementarities in the country’s development programs
  • Balancing internal needs and external obligations: policy ensures an appropriate balance between the country’s internal needs and its external (bilateral, regional, and multilateral) obligations

Thematic Areas and Instruments

The Trade Policy will be formulated in the following thematic areas:

  • Multilateral, Regional and Bilateral Trade
  • Creating a fair and transparent Import-Export regime;
  • Facilitating trade;
  • Enhancing Production Capacity for Domestic and Export Markets;
  • Domestic Trade and Distribution;
  • Consumer Protection and Fair Trade;
  • Protection of Intellectual Property Rights

Each thematic area has components that present specific policies. To ensure clarity, the presentation of these policies comprises:

  • the policy context – the importance of the policy target
  • policy objective – the objective being pursued
  • policy prescriptions – what will be done