For Nigeria to boost the level of trade with other countries, the federal government must take advantage of the areas where the country has the highest competitive advantage, Nigeria’s Ambassador to the World Trade Organisation, Dr Adamu Abdulhamid has said.
Abdulhamid said this in an exclusive interview with THE COMMERCE AFRICA in Abuja.
Between January and September last year, Nigeria’s total foreign trade stood at N35.09tn, comprising N22tn imports and N13.1tn exports, leading to N8.9tn trade deficit.
Nigeria’s share of global trade is estimated at 0.33 per cent, which according to experts is very low compared to the country’s huge potentials.
The WTO Envoy said that Nigerians don’t have to insist to be in every business for exports, adding that for a business to grow, there must be plan for a good strategy, acquire information and data, find good market, and a good product that can be sold anywhere in the world.
He stated that all the impediments that may affect exports especially those that have to do with Sanitary and Phyto -sanitary issues and the Technical and Non-Technical Barriers to Trade must be taken into consideration by any potential exporter.
According to him, there must be need to ensure that the export products have all necessary standards requirements to every target market.
He said, “In the first place, for a country to boost trade, it has to look at areas they have comparative advantage.
“As you are aware, each country in the world has its own requirements on standards. However, the minimum standard is the international standards. So, for you to do that, you need to get those specifications to make sure your products tally with their own required standards for you to have access to their markets.
“Some of the Nigerian Products in some cases have been facing market access challenges due to non-compliance to standards requirements in products by some exporters of such products.
“That is why some of our trading with the trading partners have been facing some challenges. These contributed to the issue of the limitation of Nigeria’s 0.33 per cent share of the Global Trade.
“We therefore, have to do more. More in the sense of trying to acquire all these capacities, try to comply with all the requirements so that, there could be a lot of exports order of Nigerian products from other countries.”
To improve the level of trade, he said there are many initiatives going on to improve partnership between members of the Organized Private Sector of Nigeria and other countries.
These, he noted, are being done through International Trade Fairs and Exhibitions as well as organisation of Trade Missions.
He added, “The private sector must always take advantage of such trade promotional programmes to enhance their trading activities.
“I assure you, when you are able to organize yourself and conduct your business in the right channel your volume of trade will increase.
“It is equally important to note that the call for boosting of trade does not expect a country to concentrate only on its domestic requirements or market rather it always target the volume of production and exports.
“It is when your export increases that it will be rated as high. But, if the exports are low, the signal may mean the country will be rated as import dependent and the product produced in the importing market could be viewed as less qualitative and this must be an impediment to the country in terms of trade.”