BusinessDay

FG, UK signs MOU to enhance trade, investment relations

…as UK sets to effect developing countries trading scheme early 2023

The federal ministry of industry, trade and investment has signed a memorandum of understanding with the United Kingdom to enhance trade and invest relations.

This MOU was signed under the UK-Nigeria Economics Development Forum (EDF) which was launched by Theresa May, former UK Prime Minister, and President Muhammed Buhari in August 2018.

The EDF held bi-annually has served as a platform to address market access barriers, respond to opportunities and challenges of doing business while boosting bilateral trade and investment in both countries.

Since 2018, the EDF has played a crucial role in strengthening the UK-Nigeria trading relationship and through this forum, both countries have been able to unlock finance, facilitate better regulatory link-ups, support British and Nigerian businesses and engage on important global issues.

With the EDF memorandum, 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 which both sides will continue to work together to resolve market access issues and enhance economic cooperation.

Adeniyi Adebayo, Minister for Industry, Trade and Investment, said the Increased collaboration with Nigeria and other developing markets is needed to mitigate current and potential future supply-chain challenges, hence the introduction of the Developing Countries Trading Scheme (DCTS) is warmly welcomed.

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He noted that In 2021, UK exports to Nigeria were said to be $1.64 Billion and Nigerian exports to the UK was $1.12 Billion, hence by 2023 it will be good to see the DCTS grow these numbers.

“Increasing bilateral trade is key for both nations and the agreement we are forging must strategically promote its increase, We must continue to work together to resolve market access issues and enhance economic cooperation,” he said.

He added that the reduction in tariffs on products should be a win for both Nigerian exporters and UK consumers who are able to access these products at a lower price.

He also said that 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) have almost finalized the investment roadmap; these initiatives help provide organisations with the confidence to continue making long-term, sustainable investments in Nigeria,” he said.

Helen Grant, UK Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Nigeria, said this action 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.

“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 towards the 2023 elections,” she said.

She added that a potential enhanced 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.

Furthermore she spoke about the UK’s recently launched Developing Countries Trading Scheme (DCTS) with enhanced preferences for Nigeria-UK Trade and Investment will be effected early 2023.

“The scheme will cut tariffs on many daily products from developing countries and will equally extend tariff cuts to many more products exported from Nigeria and other developing countries going further than the EU’s Generalised Scheme of Preferences.” She said.

Kemi Badenoch, Secretary of State for International Trade, UK welcomed the shared interest in exploring an enhanced trade and investment partnership between both countries which will open up new opportunities for UK and Nigerian business, create jobs and future-proof the economies against a changing world.

“Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy and I’m delighted see our trade and investment links grow, already worth £5.5 billion; the EDF over the last four years has helped address crucial market access barriers and boosted our exchanges in key sectors such as Legal and Financial Services,” she said.