• Monday, May 27, 2024
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Nigeria, China partner to bridge $18bn trade gap, enhance agricultural exports

Nigeria, China partner to bridge $18bn trade gap, enhance agricultural exports

In a bid to address the significant trade deficit between Nigeria and China, standing at $18 billion as of the end of 2023, both nations have embarked on a collaborative effort aimed at boosting agricultural exports from Nigeria to China.

Nonye Ayeni, Executive Director of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) has disclosed this on Monday in Abuja during a collaborative meeting between the Council and the Department of Commerce of Hunan province, China

According to her, the meeting was an important avenue to improve bilateral trade relations between Nigeria and China as Nigeria is the third largest trade partner to China and second largest importer of Chinese products.

Ayeni added that in recent reports, total trade between the two countries amounted to $22.81 billion, with Nigeria importing approximately $20.4 billion worth of goods from China, while its exports to China only reached around $2 billion.

“Accordingly, Total trade between Nigeria and China stands at $22.81 as at the end of 2023. Import from China is around $20.4 and export to Nigeria is just about $2billion. Therefore, the trade deficit is about $18 billion dollars and we believe if we collaborate, we will close that deficit so we can bring in our agricultural products into China.”

She said this substantial trade imbalance has prompted officials from both nations to strategize on how to close the gap and foster more balanced trade relations.

“Given the existing trade relationship, we are here to discuss other things that will help us scale up. Hunan province is special to us because that is where we have our export trade house.”

Speaking on collaboration, the NEPC boss highlighted the potential for significant improvement, noting that Nigeria boasts over 1,000 products in abundant supply and the focus of the collaboration will be on identifying and promoting the top 20 products with high demand in global markets, particularly those where China stands as a key destination.

“We have over 1,000 products in large quantities, and we expect that the collaboration will help us improve. The NEPC is focused on a 12-18 month target, focusing on the top 20 products based on global demand in the markets in which China is a top destination,” she explained.

She said the initiative aims not only to reduce the trade deficit but also to capitalize on China’s appetite for agricultural products and Nigeria, with its diverse agricultural landscape, sees an opportunity to expand its export market and capitalize on China’s growing demand for agricultural imports.

Ayeni highlighted some of the challenges Nigerian Exporters encounter which she seeks quick resolution from the Commerce Province

“We have over 1,000 exportable products and just very few products are on the Chinese protocol list so we are asking for an additional list including Hibiscus, Soya beans and other products, therefore we want the list to be expanded.

She also urged the delegates from China to look at the high tariff on Nigerian products so importers can be able to compete on the global market. “Import duty they charge Nigerians is higher than other countries.” she said

“Similarly, exporters have complained that not all Chinese banks accept letters of credit from Nigerian banks which is a huge challenge and we will want that addressed so that it will scale up bilateral trade between Nigeria and China,”

The ED also proposed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the NEPC and China government so Nigeria can have a large scale production base and the ability to move those products to China.

Key stakeholders from both countries have expressed optimism regarding the potential outcomes of the collaboration, emphasizing the mutual benefits it could bring to both economies.