By Ikenna Uwadileke
The United Kingdom and Nigeria said the trade volume between the two countries stood at 5.5 billion pounds.
This is contained in a statement issued in Abuja.
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it was jointly signed by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, and Uk Trade Envoy to Nigeria, Helen Grant at the 8th ministerial meeting of the United Kingdom-Nigeria Economic Development Forum (EDF)
According to the statement, the total trade in goods and services (exports plus imports) between the UK and Nigeria currently stands at 5.5 billion pounds.
“Of this 5.5 billion pounds, total UK exports to Nigeria amounted to 3.3 billion pounds in the four quarters of 2022, while total UK imports from Nigeria amounted to 2.2 billion pounds in the four quarters of Q2 2022,’’ it said.
The statement said that UK and Nigeria reaffirmed their commitment to deepen the trade relationship between both countries.
“It was a confirmation of their shared interest in pursuing an enhanced trade and investment partnership for increased engagement.
“UK and Nigeria agreed that the enhanced trade and investment partnership will offer an alternative high-profile mechanism to progress bilateral economic issues of mutual strategic importance.
“Under this, both sides will continue to work together to resolve market access issues and enhance economic cooperation,’’ the statement said.
It quoted the UK International Trade Secretary, Kemi Badenoch as saying “Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy and I’m delighted to see our trade and investment links grow, already worth £5.5 billion.
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“The successes of the EDF over the last four years have helped address crucial market access barriers and boosted our exchanges in key sectors such as legal and financial Services.
“I welcome the shared interest in exploring an enhanced trade and investment partnership between our nations that will open up new opportunities for UK and Nigerian business, create jobs, and future-proof our economies against a changing world”.
Similarly, Uk Trade Envoy to Nigeria, Helen Grant said “the UK and Nigeria go far when we go together.
“We are supporting Nigeria on the path to becoming a higher-growth, more inclusive, and more sustainable economy as we move toward the 2023 elections.
“This is part of a wider push by the UK to drive a free trade, pro-growth agenda across the globe, using trade to drive prosperity and help eradicate poverty.
“A potential enhanced trade and investment partnership would include a series of commitments to tackle non-tariff market access barriers to deliver tangible results for businesses in both the UK and Nigeria,’’ she said.
Badenoch said that the UK recently inaugurated the Developing Countries Trading Scheme (DCTS) with enhanced preferences for Nigeria-UK Trade and Investment.
According to her, the new scheme which will come into effect in early 2023, will cut tariffs on hundreds of everyday products from developing countries.
“This will be welcome news to Nigerian exporters. It will equally extend tariff cuts to hundreds of more products exported from Nigeria and other developing countries, going further than the EU’s Generalised Scheme of Preferences.
“This is on top of the thousands of products, which Nigeria can already export to the UK duty-free,’’ she said.
On his part, Adebayo said that it was important that what comes out of the working group builds upon its principles and strengthens its outcomes.
“I know that both Nigeria and the United Kingdom have exchanged policy papers detailing how they wish to proceed, and I look forward to feedback as both papers are reviewed.
“I have always held the strong conviction that there is no crisis without an accompanying opportunity and solution.
“Increased collaboration with Nigeria and other developing markets is needed to mitigate against both current and potential future supply-chain challenges.
“To this end, the introduction of the Developing Countries Trading Scheme (DCTS) is warmly welcomed.
“The reduction in tariffs on hundreds of everyday products should be a win for both Nigerian exporters and UK consumers who are able to access our products at a lower price,’’ he said.
The minister said that in 2021, UK exports to Nigeria were 1.64 billion dollars and Nigerian exports to the UK were 1.12 billion dollars.
“Not too far apart. As we move into 2023, it will be good to see the DCTS grow these numbers,’’ he said.
Adebayo said that increasing bilateral trade was key for both nations and the agreement must strategically promote its increase.
“We must continue to work together to resolve market access issues and enhance economic cooperation.
“The Ministry is committed to developing, implementing, and reviewing policies that encourage both foreign and local investment and industrialization.
“Since the last EDF we have progressed significantly with the development of our investment policy and the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) has almost finalized the investment roadmap.
“These initiatives help provide organizations with the confidence to continue making long-term, sustainable investments in Nigeria,’’ he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the EDF was inaugurated by the former Prime Minister, Theresa May, and President Muhammadu Buhari in August. 2018 and held bi-annually.
It is serving as a platform to address market access barriers, respond to opportunities and challenges of doing business, and boost bilateral trade and investment in the two countries.
The forum is playing a crucial role in strengthening the UK-Nigeria trading relationship.
This has enabled both countries to unlock finance, facilitate better regulatory link-ups, support British and Nigerian businesses and engage on important global issues.