Business: Nigeria unveils protectionist measures ahead of AfCFTA ratification

Business: Nigeria unveils protectionist measures ahead of AfCFTA ratification

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Preparatory to the ratification of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), the Nigerian Office for Trade Negotiations (NOTN), has announced that an anti-dumping rule has been negotiated, as part of protectionist measures to avert dumping of goods in the country.

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The Director General, NOTN, Ambassador Chiedu Osakwe, said his office has also gone ahead to negotiate counter failing duties, global safeguard agreements on the annex of rules of origin that would assist regulators and negotiators mitigate trade risks.

The Director General, at a stakeholders sensitization and consultation on the agreement establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), said: “The African continental free trade area would establish a single market for trading goods and services although there are risks that would be attempted to tranship or dump in the African market, not limited to Nigeria alone.

“But let me state here that all markets carry risks, but what we have done is that we have negotiated certain rules and trade remedy for anti-dumping and counter failing duties, global safeguards agreements on the annex of rules of origin that will assist the regulatory agencies and negotiators to mitigate these risks.”

According to him, Nigeria has everything to gain and very little to lose if it gets its implementation and coordination mechanisms right.In his words: “One of the messages we got from all the six geo political zones is that we must put on a better and proper implementation hat and that the regulatory agencies in charge of goods and services, standards for export and imports would have to step up their game.”

He pointed out that Africa is the next major market opportunity in the global economy, stressing that according to reports, the agreement establishing the African continental free trade area will generate a GDP value for Africa of well over $25 trillion by 2050.He added, “Part of the challenge or opportunity of the agreement establishing the African free trade area is that the risk of dumping is an acknowledgement actually by the global economy that the next trading frontier is in Africa, many other regions of the world are stuck with low growth, but where growth is happening is actually in the African continent and Nigeria stands as a good example”.

He stated that the agreement establishing the African continental free trade area will cover a market of 1.5 billion Africans in 2018, saying that going forward in 2050, it would cover four billion Africans which represents 36 per cent of the global population

Earlier, the president, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Babatunde Ruwase, said AfCFTA offers a potential of being the largest free trade area in the world and would create a single continental market for goods and services as well ease free movement of people in the continent.

He said Nigeria has a lot to gain, but stressed that the decay in the nation’s infrastructure has made Nigeria uncompetitive.“I see no reason why we should be scared of signing the agreement, all we need to do is get our acts right. It is therefore critical to deepen consultations in order to carry the private sector along,” he said.

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