TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

Poor export standard impedes gains of AGOA

Monday, 09 February 2009

Source: Leadership (Nigeria)

The inability of Nigerian products to meet the global market basic export standard has hindered the country from tapping the benefits that are supposed to accrue to it from the African Growth and Opportunity Act(AGOA), United States Of America Ambassador to Nigeria,Hon. Robin Sanders stated at the weekend.

The Ambassador who paid a courtesy visit to the Minister of Commerce and Industry, Chief Achike Udenwa, in his office, in Abuja, also noted that Nigeria's over dependence on the oil sector has made her pay less attention to the non-oil sectors of the economy.

Explaining further, he stated: "We have several AGOA workshops for Nigerian farmers” but Nigerian products fail to meet some fundamental standards to access the oppportunity" According to Sanders, the United States of America and Nigeria are working closely, particularly, in the non-oil sector, with a view to facilitating growth and developing trade in the country.

She observed that the US global food security programme had earmarked the sum of $25million, spanning a 5-year period to facilitate capacity development in agriculture sector and trade development, hinting that US investors are looking forward to bilateral investment treaty that could guarantee their investments in Nigeria.

The US envoy also pointed out that in spite of long standing relationship between the two countries, America was yet to sign the bilateral investment treaty with Nigeria.In his response, the commerce and industry minister stressed the need to strengthen trade and economic co-operation between the U.S and Nigeria to attract Direct Foreign Investment(DFI) into the country.

While appealing to the U.S government to reactivate all machinery necessary to facilitate the interest of American investors in Nigeria, the minister noted that there are many American investors, especially, in the nation's non-oil sectors assuring such investors of government's current efforts of making the environment very attractive, in order to encourage them to invest in Nigeria and also take advantage of the existing large market in the country.

He however admitted that Nigeria has the problem of ensuring that its locally made goods meet up with international standards in terms of quality, stressing: "That is what we are trying to do now through the Standards Organisation of Nigeria(SON). To establish actual standards required and get our exporters to meet up with these standards, packaging and quality to the world standards".