China and Liberia have agreed a deal to increase trade between the two countries, according to a statement from the world’s largest maritime administration the Liberian Registry.
The agreement renews the previous China-Liberia agreement, which was due to expire in 2019, for another five years.
The new deal, according to Liberia’s Maritime Commissioner James Kollie, “takes relations between the two countries to a new level.”
It also means that Liberian-flag vessels will get a preferential rate for tonnage dues when visiting any Chinese port.
According to the statement, it also gives Liberia a clear advantage over other flag states, such as the Marshall Islands, which do not have diplomatic relations with China.
Read more about China's maritime strategy by reading a Port Technology technical paper
In signing the agreement, Liberia has moved closer to aligning itself with China’s Belt & Road Initiative (BRI), Beijing’s USD $900 billion infrastructure project to improve world trade from Asia and Africa to Europe.
On September 6, PTI reported that China had announced an extra $60 billion in investment in Africa, which is concentrated on improving the continent’s transport logistics.
The statement from the Liberian Registry said: “Signing this agreement were China’s Minister of Transport Li Xiaopeng and Liberian Maritime Authority Commissioner James F Kollie.
“Minister Li noted how the agreement had injected new vitality into the friendly bilateral relations established between the PRC and Liberia over recent years.
“He said that renewal of the agreement will further strengthen co-operation in the shipping, maritime, port and transport infrastructure sectors, as well in the training and education of seafarers.”