Nigeria and the Kingdom of Netherlands are in talks over establishing a Joint Bi-National Commission to boost existing trade and investment ties between both countries.
This latest action is coming on the heels of President Bola Tinubu open invitation to countries that may be interested in doing business with Nigeria.
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Adamu Lamuwa, made the interest known on Wednesday while welcoming a delegation from Netherlands which was in Abuja for the Nigeria- Netherlands Economic Consultation meeting that aims at strengthening bilateral ties in various sectors of the economy.
Lamuwa, who was represented by the Director Economic, Trade and Investment Department in the Ministry, Bolaji Akinremi, at the meeting said the Joint Commission has become necessary following the remarkable economic cooperation between both countries.
He said that the volume of trade between both countries is very significant as several Dutch Companies have their operational base in Nigeria.
According to him, some of the Dutch Companies include; the Royal Dutch Shell Petroleum, Friesland Campina, Heineken, Pladis, DAF Trucks, P Phillips, TNT, KLM, Royal Haskoning, Primstar, VliscO, Unilever, Fugro, VanVliet, APM Terrmincl and Bosman van Zaal.
Lamuwa said: “iIn spite of our longstanding bilateral relations with the Netherlands there is no Joint/Bi-National Commission Agreement between the two countries. Negotiation for the establishment of a Joint Commission has been inconclusive since 1987.
“Against this background, the Government of Nigeria would like to reopen the negotiation for the establishment of a Joint/Bi-National Commission Agreement, as this would further consolidate and boost the relations between the two countries.”
He added that the Nigeria- Netherlands Economic Consultation is a demonstration of the commitment of the Governments of Nigeria and the Kingdom of the Netherlands in fostering the bilateral relations between the two friendly countries.
He said: “The present administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has set a vision of building a thriving and sustainable economy that will generate wealth, create employment, boost Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) and diversify the Nigerian economy. In this regard, the Government of Nigeria is open to exploring other areas of economic cooperation with the Kingdom of the Netherlands.”
He further added that Nigeria is willing to explore areas of economic cooperation with the Netherlands in agricultural value chain, secular economy, renewable energy, waterways management and water security, oil and gas, special economic zones.
The Vice-Minister for Foreign Trade of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, who led the Dutch Delegation to meeting, Ms. Hanneke Schuiling, in her remark, said the consultation was apt as it opens opportunity to modernize the Bilateral Investment Treaty between both countries, adding that a reformed treaty will help to further strengthen investment relations.
“Our economies are strongly connected through a multitude of trade and investment relations. These relations are strong and often go back many years. Several Dutch companies are a household name in Nigeria and are a source of employment and income together with their Nigerian partners. The strength of our economic relations is also clear when we look at our trade statistics; the Netherlands continues to be one of Nigeria’s five most important trading partners.”
She added that both countries see a high potential in four areas in particular: –agriculture, IT, healthcare and renewable energy, stressing that the Dutch private sector can add value for the mutual benefit of Nigeria and the Netherlands.
She said: “I am pleased that we are now starting the renegotiation of the existing bilateral investment treaty as a means to further strengthen mutual economic interest and opportunities. As you may be aware, the current treaty was signed in 1992. Since then, both countries have experienced significant changes in their approach to international investments which can be adopted into a new treaty.
“It is important to modernize our treaty to reflect these changes. A modernized treaty can also foster stronger economic relations between our two nations.”
The Consultation meeting had many Federal Government Agencies and Parastatals in attendance. They Include: the National Office For Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP), The National Agency For Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI), Raw Materials Research and Development Council, Nigerian Data Protection Bureau (NDPB) among others.
Michael Olugbode in Abuja