TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

Nigeria Yet to Tap Agoa Benefits

Monday, 02 May 2005

Source: Daily Trust (Abuja)

Nigeria has not cashed in on favourable export of products to the United States under the Africa Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) a US embassy senior economic officer, Lawrence Walker said.

In a weekly briefing initiated by the US embassy, Mr. Walker said that Nigeria can be comparably competitive in exporting non-oil products like apparel-clothing and textile products- and agricultural products.

Nigeria was issued export clearance of fabric and textile products in July 2004 which is to expire in 2007.

Mr. Walker said that with the opportunity, Nigeria can export fabric and textile from anywhere but added that with the ban of textile inputs by the Nigerian government, it has been difficult for Nigerian entrepreneurs to take advantage of AGOA because most of the textile inputs are not readily sourced in the country.

He attributed the dearth of Nigerian exports to the US to a difficult operation environment, adding that lack of infrastructure and high cost structure are factors impeding Nigerian entrepreneurs.

He assured that the US market still remains open and called on the private sector to seize the opportunity to get added value on exports leaving the shores.

The information officer of the US embassy, Dr. Rudolph Steward added that foreign aid is merely a palliative to trade, saying that AGOA was the only time the US used market as a stimulant to growth and making it possible for smaller countries to have access to US market.

Meanwhile, according to a report by the US embassy, Nigeria is highest exporting country to the US with 45.3 percent, with South Africa next with 12.6 percent of US imports. These imports, although, are predominantly oil products which accounts for 72.8 percent of a US purchases in sub-Saharan Africa.

The African Growth and Opportunity Act was signed into law by former US president, Bill Clinton, in May 2000.

The act seeks to promote increased trade and investment between US and sub-Saharan African countries by providing liberal access to the US market and promoting economic development of African countries.