Nigeria-China Trade Volume Rises to USD 23.5bn

Lagos, Nigeria (Capita Markets in Africa):- Nigeria’s bilateral trade with the Peoples’ Republic of China has risen to about USD 23.5bn from a mere USD 3.4bn in 2009, according to the Nigeria-China Business Council (NCBC) and reported by ThisDay Live Nigeria.

The NCBC told reporters that over the years, it has managed to help nurture bilateral trade relations between Nigeria and China and in the process grow trade between the countries more than five-fold. It however noted its concerns with the long-standing vocal disapproval of substandard products, often associated with Chinese manufacturers and imported into Nigeria, saying that it plans to reverse this development with proactive measures.

The National Coordinator of NCBC, Chief Matthew Uwaekwe, stated further that with such complaints and the rise in trade volumes, the council had initiated a campaign to ask Nigerian investors and their Chinese counterparts to seek in-country of products they hitherto import from China instead of going off to China to mass-produce such products and thereafter import them into Nigeria.

Uwaekwe spoke shortly after the Chairman of NCBC, Chief Jacob Wood disclosed that the council would continue to work with Nigeria and the new government of President Muhammadu Buhari to help upgrade Nigeria’s infrastructure and socio-economic fortunes. He noted that the council has also made some inroads into in-country manufacturing of electricity metres for Nigeria’s power sector, adding that the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has given its assurance that it would help protect this initiative with tariffs & regulations.

“Before we set up in 2009, trade volumes between Nigerian and China were about USD 2.7bn in favour of China and USD 700m in favour of Nigeria but we looked at it and decided to address this imbalance in trade relations between both countries. “Today, we are talking about trade volumes between both countries growing to USD 13bn for China and USD 10.5bn for Nigeria. These trades on the part of Nigeria have seen us export to China products such as cocoa and cotton wool,” Uwaekwe said. He further stated: “In terms of the level of in-country employment, we now have about 6,000 Nigerians working for various Chinese companies in the country.”

On checking substandard Chinese products in the country, Uwaekwe said: “We are now talking to partners to bring home their expertise and manufacture for us made-in Nigeria products, fit for global consumption and also for our environment.” “With such efforts, we want to see them investing into the manufacturing of goods that fit our environment and not what we see today,” he added. He also said on the discussion with the NERC to encourage in-country electric meter manufacturing that; “The NERC gave us the assurance that they can only give people license to import if what they are importing cannot be found in Nigeria and that is another way of saying, we are not going to give you license to import if we have given license to people to manufacture this product in Nigeria. If NERC will maintain this, it will encourage people to go into the manufacturing of metres in-country, instead of importing just like Skyrun does at the Calabar Free Trade Zone.”

The growth in trade between Nigeria and China has been phenomenal over the past six years and given the economic potential in Nigeria, further growth can be attained. Import substitution which the NCBC has been promoting is also a good way to encourage FDI from China by offering manufacturers incentives for them to set up plants in the country. This will ultimately reduce demand for foreign currency and also encourage employment and additional economic expansion in Nigeria as well as provide Chinese companies with new manufacturing bases that they can use to export to the West African region and beyond, making it a win-win situation.

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