According to Mary Beth Leonard, the US Ambassador to Nigeria, Nigeria would continue to be eligible for preferential trade access to the US market under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).
During a visit to Nigeria’s Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Adeniyi Adebayo, Leonard stated that the country has become qualified after a review of the AGOA standards set by the US Congress.
According to her, the establishment of a market-based economy, rule of law, political pluralism, right to due process, fair trial, equal protection under the law, removal of barriers to US trade and investment, poverty-reduction policies, a system to combat corruption and bribery, and protection of internationally recognized workers’ rights are among the criteria for eligibility.
The AGOA criteria also requires the benefiting country to adhere to international human rights standards.
During the AGOA eligibility review, the US government commended Nigeria’s success in diversifying and strengthening the market-based economy, poverty reduction, power sector reforms, boosting electricity pricing, and implementing the Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan, according to Leonard (NESP).
The US Ambassador, on the other hand, emphasized her government’s worry over US enterprises’ access to currency, particularly their ability to repatriate revenue and meet loan obligations on time, as well as child labor and respect for the rule of law.
In his response, the minister expressed his delight with the US government report, which allowed Nigeria to maintain preferential trade access to the US market. He added that the report was proof of the country’s success in repositioning its economy for greater performance.
He said that the Federal Government has established the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) to strengthen the business environment, with the vice president as chairman and himself as Vice-chairman.
He told me that the administration will continue to do all possible to strengthen bilateral trade relations.
He committed to communicate the US government’s concerns to impacted government entities, some of which were not under his Ministry’s authority.