WASHINGTON (Feb. 10)—Bridgestone/Firestone's natural rubber plantation in Liberia is a "working" concern that produces and ships rubber without harassment of any kind, according to C. Gyude Bryant, chairman of the Transitional Government of Liberia.
Bryant took over as head of state when President Charles Taylor stepped down amid U.S. and international pressure to do so. BFS' current concession agreement with Liberia has been in place since 1976; the tire maker sought modifications in 1999 under Taylor, but those were never enacted. Bryant said he would review the agreement with BFS as soon as he returned to Liberia. Firestone Polymers President John Schremp has met already with Bryant, and "they had a good, friendly discussion," a BFS spokesman said.