TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

USAID supports centre to boost Nigeria, US trade

Monday, 18 April 2016 Published: | Susan Serekara-Nwikhana

Source: The Tide News Online (Nigeria)

The United States Agency for International Development’s West Africa Trade and Investment Hub (Trade Hub) has trained coordinators from seven West African countries to assist businesses with the processes and documentation required for exporting to the United States under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

The two-day training, which was conducted between April 12 and 13, 2016, saw coordinators from AGOA Trade Resource Centres (ATRCs) in Nigeria as well as Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, and Senegal convene to learn new skills on how to deliver services in trade intelligence, export development, business promotion and trade facilitation to existing and potential exporters.

A statement issued by the United States Embassy in Nigeria, and made available to The Tide by email, explained that the participants also learnt from best practices across the region, and shared experiences in supporting exporters.

Hosted within local institutions, the statement indicated that the ATRCs have assisted over 2,700 businesses seeking to export to the United States under AGOA, which waives duties and quotas on thousands of goods made in eligible sub-Saharan African countries.

nigeria tradehub launch 640px

USAID/Nigeria Director, Michael T. Harvey, said that since 2005, the agency has provided grants to build the sustainability of the ATRC network and the host institutions that provide trade-related services to private sector companies.

He noted that the grants cover training and the costs of building a database of exporters, further enabling ATRCs to develop exporters’ capacity, market linkages, and sector-specific strategies to boost trade.

The Tide learnt that USAID supports greater use of AGOA’s tariff advantages across West Africa.

According to the statement, “Each ATRC is expected to undertake activities that enhance the export potential of companies seeking to take advantage of AGOA.

“These activities include: developing and providing trade intelligence services through trade and business associations or directly to individual businesses; promoting trade and export development advisory services by providing hands-on assistance directly to companies to help them understand market requirements and regulations, packaging/labeling, costing, and finance; providing business promotion services with trade show/fair participation and facilitation of regional and international business linkages; and providing customs documentation assistance to businesses.

“This support is building a solid and sustainable network of local institutions that can tailor services to the private sector to enhance their capacity to trade regionally and export to international markets,” it added.

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