The UK government on Wednesday said it had cut tariffs and extended duty-free trade in goods exported from Nigeria.
Mr. Ben Llewellyn-Jones, Deputy British High Commissioner to Nigeria said this at the launch of the Developing Countries Trading Scheme (DCTS) which took place at Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos.
Llewellyn-Jones said the scheme would help to boost Nigeria’s non-oil exports in line with the Federal Government’s wider trade policy objectives and take off in April 2023.
He noted that the scheme would reduce import costs by over £750 million per year, thereby reducing prices, and increasing the choice of UK consumers and businesses as well.
“The Uk Government has reduced the tariffs of 90 percent of goods that Nigeria would export to our country and has also provided a preferential trading scheme for a range of other exports that the country might have.
“ We have reached out to small and large businesses in different parts of the country and this is intended to help exporters and other people in the trading business to make the United Kingdom an export destination.
“This would also serve as an opportunity to grow the non-oil and gas sector in Nigeria and create jobs in the country, and most importantly, we are reaching out to people at the grassroots level so they can know what we are doing.
“The DCTS is much more generous and simpler than the existing Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP),” he said.
Llewellyn-Jones revealed that the trade volume between both countries for the year 2022 was 2.2 billion pounds, noting that the oil and gas sector accounted for the majority of the trade.
He stressed the importance of expanding the market and diversifying into other sectors including exportation.
“We have to change focus to the non-oil sector but this takes time, but we are working with experts from Nigeria Export Promotion Council and the Federal Government to grow the economy through expanding its export.
“The key challenge for exporters is finding key partners in the UK to sell their products but we are working on ensuring that we link exporters with potential buyers so as to ensure there is enough demand and supply,” he said.
Mr. Simon Calvert, Senior Commercial Agriculture Adviser, Foreign Commonwealth, and Development Office (FCDO) noted that Nigeria does not require international conventions to enjoy the benefits under the DCTS.
He added that the Uk government would help exporters to access finances through its financial institutions.
He noted that by making the rules of origin more generous, neighboring countries can easily make use of components from Nigeria in their Duty-Free Exports to the UK.
“Cutting tariffs for Nigeria would ensure that 3000 new products are duty-free for the first time as the average existing tariff on these goods is seven percent, meaning these changes make Nigerian exports more competitive in the UK.
“Many tariff reductions are on value-added goods such as processed sesame oil, cotton clothing, and cocoa butter and paste and complement existing duty-free trade on raw products.
“ We have made it simpler for Nigeria to get and retain these enhanced tariffs by removing the need for Nigeria to ratify and implement certain international conventions,” he said.
Damola Oladosu, an official with Boston Consulting Group, said that opportunities in the exporting market remained underutilized.
She said that the country could grow its exports to the UK by increasing production of certain products like cocoa, cotton, fertilizer, and cashew amongst others.