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The government of Nigeria has raised some trade concerns with the government of the Republic of China over accusations related to the importation of “substandard products” into Africa and Nigeria in particular, as opposed to what is exported to developed countries.
The Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment (FMITI), Evelyn Ngige, raised this concern at the China (Changsha)-Nigeria Investment, Economic and Trade Promotion Conference in Abuja, the Nigerian capital, recently.
The Permanent Secretary, represented by the Ministry’s Trade Director, Suleiman Audu, stated that the conference was in preparation for the China-Africa Economic and Trade Exhibition (CAETE), which he noted would be held in Changsha, Hunan, China. in the coming months.
Raising concerns over China’s trade relationship and visa relationship with Africa, the Nigerian government official has accused China of producing substandard products for Africa and issuing short visa offers to Nigerians, which stakeholders believe are urgent factors hindering the two countries’ trade relations should be addressed.
The official expressed displeasure with the Asian giant over what he described as “wrong” trade policies that could “hinder” bilateral trade.
The permanent secretary stated that in certain situations preferences are given to developed countries according to the specifications.
He said from experience, “products going to developed markets compared to those going to Africa, including Nigeria,” noted that “trade is a trade and there shouldn’t be that kind of territorial differentiation.”
“What we consume affects our health and, to that extent, we must maintain normal standards regardless of the export countries,” said the official.
The Permanent Secretary also noted that in line with the strategic relations between Nigeria and China, “we can also explore more favorable types of trade and preferential treatment in areas of legitimate trade concerns.”
Launching an export trading house
Meanwhile, in order to promote stronger relations and business relations with China, the Nigerian Government Export Promotion Council of Nigeria (NEPC) said it has launched Export Trading House in China.
This was confirmed by Permanent Secretary Ngige, who also stressed that the upcoming China-Africa Economic and Trade Exhibition (CAETE) is essential for Africa and Asia to strengthen partnerships and deepen economic relations, stating that “economic and commercial alliances are strategic for long-term prosperity”.
He said: “The choice of China was deliberate as China is one of the world’s major strategic trading partners. Through the Export Trading House, the export volume and the feasibility of seeing Nigerian products and market share with countries will be enhanced.”
Solving logistics problems
According to the Permanent Secretary, in order to eliminate the logistical challenges faced by exporters, NEPC, “in collaboration with relevant stakeholders, has launched the Inland Warehouse Initiative, which is a one-stop facility or terminal for the storage of products, packaging and brands. preparation for final transport to the ports”.
Also speaking at the event, Kang Zhenlin, Vice Mayor of Changsha Municipal People’s Government and Chairman of Changsha Federation of Industry and Commerce, said Nigeria is one of Hunan Province’s top three African trading partners.
He said that in 2022, the trade volume between Hunan and Nigeria was 1.086 billion dollars, a year-on-year growth of 66.12 percent.
Zhenlin pointed out that the China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo “is important for strengthening economic and trade cooperation between China and African countries, and is an important platform for China and Africa to comprehensively deepen cooperation.”
Meanwhile, the ministry said, export trade houses have been launched in Egypt, Kenya and Togo.
In an interview with PREMIUM TIMES reporter on the sidelines of the event, the Chairman of Arewa Consultative Forum, Kano Chapter, Faruk Umar, stated that China needs to improve the ease of doing business with Nigerians, especially in the area of visa issuance.
He said: “In order to improve the trade relationship, visa is very important. Many countries are increasing the number of annual visas they give to Nigerians. When you have to apply for a visa every year, you are advised to travel to that country.”
Umar called on the “Chinese government to give Nigerians 10-year or at least five-year visas” to deepen the trade relationship.
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