Nigeria is now the 14th largest goods trading partner of the United States with $42.2 billion in two-way goods trade last year, THISDAY can report. This comes as the country’s Trade Representative, Ambassador Ron Kirk, during a meeting with Minister of Commerce, Chief
Achike Udenwa, stated that Nigeria had taken tremendous steps to improve its business and trade environment in the last year.Information made available by Kirk showed that the current figure of the two-way trade represents an 18 per cent increase from the year 2007.
Exports from that country to Nigeria totaled $4.1 billion in 2008, up 47 per cent from the previous year. Goods exported include vehicles, machinery and wheat. US imports from Nigeria stood at $38.1 billion in 2007, a 16 per cent increase from 2007.Goods imported from Nigeria include petroleum, cocoa, rubber and organic chemicals.
It was also gathered that non-oil Africa Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) imports from Nigeria rose to $307 million last year and those items include ginger, wood products, leather items, vegetables and cassava.The Nigerian government removed import bans on several products of interest to the US including wheat flour, corn, vegetable oil and other products.In addition, tariffs on other products were reduced, streamlining the system by placing all import tariffs into five broad categories.
With all its agricultural potentials, Nigeria remains highly dependent on the importation of goods from across the world. Poor infrastructure had placed limitations on its trade with other countries.Experts say an increase in trade volume is critical to the country’s survival in an increasingly globalised world.During the sixth meeting of the US/Nigeria Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) Council in Washington, D.C., attended by Udenwa, Kirk stated that the new development afforded both countries an opportunity to collaborate on a range of issues.
“Nigeria has made significant strides in the past year in improving the environment for business and trade,” observed the trade representative.“The US/Nigeria Trade and Investment Framework Agreement is part of a comprehensive US effort to support the Nigerian government’s efforts to advance trade and economic development,” he added.During the meeting held at the USTR office, officials of both countries agreed to collaborate in the implementation of AGOA, intellectual property rights, improving bilateral investment opportunities and co-operation within the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
Kirk disclosed that the US government intends to use the US/Nigeria TIFA Council to develop specific initiatives that will expand economic opportunities for farmers, workers, businesses and consumers in the two countries. TIFA was signed in 2000 to enable a regular high-level dialogue that would enhance economic ties, multilateral and bilateral trade and investment issues.