The United Kingdom (UK) International Trade Secretary, Kemi Badenoch has revealed that the trade volume between Nigeria and UK hit £5.5 billion at the end of fourth quarter of 2022.
Badenoch disclosed this on Monday in Abuja, at the 8th Economic Development Forum (EDF), where she also reaffirmed the UK’s commitment to strengthen and deepen its relationship with Nigeria.
The EDF was launched by the former Prime Minister, Theresa May and President Muhammed Buhari in August 2018 and holds bi-annually; serving as a platform to address market access barriers, respond to opportunities and challenges of doing business and boost bilateral trade and investment in our two 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.
In a statement issued Monday by the British embassy, the agreement in the EDF Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) came to a close yesterday, stressing that the UK and Nigeria agreed that the Enhanced Trade and Investment Partnership would offer an alternative high-profile mechanism to progress bilateral economic issues of mutual strategic importance, under which both sides would continue to work together to resolve market access issues and enhance economic cooperation.
Badenoch said: “Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy and I’m delighted to see our trade and investment links grow, already worth £5.5 billion.
“The total trade in goods and services (exports plus imports) between the UK and Nigeria currently stands at £5.5billion. Of this £5.5 billion: total UK exports to Nigeria amounted to £3.3 billion in the four quarters to the end of Q2 2022; while total UK imports from Nigeria amounted to £2.2 billion in the four quarters to the end of Q2 2022.
“The successes of 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.
“I welcome the shared interest in exploring an Enhanced Trade and Investment Partnership between our nations that will open up new opportunities for UK and Nigerian business, create jobs and future-proof our economies against a changing world.”
Also, UK Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Nigeria, Helen Grant, said the UK was supporting Nigeria on the path to becoming a higher-growth, more inclusive and more sustainable economy as the 2023 elections approaches.
Grant added: “This 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. A potential Enhanced Trade and Investment 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.”
On his part, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Adeniyi Adebayo said the EDF was a fantastic forum, saying it was important that what comes out of the working group builds upon its principles and strengthens its outcomes.
He said he was aware that both Nigeria and the United Kingdom have exchanged policy papers detailing how they wish to proceed, adding that he looked forward to feedback as both papers are reviewed.
Adedayo stressed that increased collaboration with Nigeria and other developing markets was needed to mitigate against both current and potential future supply-chain challenges.
To this end, the minister noted that the introduction of the Developing Countries Trading Scheme (DCTS) was warmly welcomed.
Adedayo added: “The reduction in tariffs on hundreds of everyday products should be a win for both Nigerian exporters and UK consumers who are able to access our products at a lower price.
“In 2021, UK exports to Nigeria were said to be $1.64 Billion and Nigerian exports to the UK $1.12 Billion. Not too far apart. As we move into 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.”
Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja and Oluchi Chibuzor in Lagos