From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, has said that Nigeria was committed to the World Trade Organization and the Multilateral Trading Systems.
The minister stated this during the opening ceremony of the National Workshop on Implementing the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement.
He noted that the implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement was critical to enhancing global trade.
Aganga, who was represented by the Director of Trade in the Ministry, Mr. Felix Askipta, said, “The main purpose of the workshop is to enhance participants understanding of the Trade Facilitation Agreement and its implication as well as determine Nigeria’s target categorization of the remaining TFA commitments on B and C and enhance participants awareness on the key success factor for setting up and strengthening of a National Trade Facilitation Committee.
The Minister said that WTO members have failed to meet the proposed deadline of 31 July 2014 to conclude the Protocol Agreement on amendment of the WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation. According to him “this was the first test of WTO members’ commitment to implementing the outcomes of the Bali WTO Ministerial Conference.”
He said TFA contained provisions that would enable faster and more efficient customs procedures through effective cooperation between customs and other appropriate authorities on trade facilitation and customs compliance issues.
The minister stressed that international trade was critical to the economic development of any nation adding that it would enable a country to expand its market and generate much foreign exchange.
The minister said, “Nigeria has provided detailed information on technical assistance requirement and a valuable basis for the eventual implementation of the result of the WTO negotiations . The outcome of the workshop would assist Nigeria to negotiate more effectively on Technical Assistance and Special and Differential Treatment (TA and SDT), as well as on trade facilitation measures that should be included in the final results of the negotiations.”
Speaking during the event, the Associate Economic Affairs Officer, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, Julian-Fraga Camos, said that the International Trade Centre was the technical agency of UNCTAD and WTO, adding that their special mandate was to work with the government and private sector, especially the Small and Medium Enterprises, to improve export, import.