The UK government announced on Monday that it has reduced tariffs and extended duty-free trade in Nigerian goods. Mr Ben Llewellyn-Jones, Deputy British High Commissioner to Nigeria, stated this at the opening of the Developing Countries Trading Scheme (DCTS) on Victoria Island in Lagos.
Llewellyn-Jones stated that the plan, which will begin in April 2023, will assist to promote Nigeria’s non-oil exports in accordance with the Federal Government’s broader trade policy goals.
He stated that the initiative will decrease import costs by more than £750 million per year, lowering prices and expanding choice for UK consumers and companies.
“The Uk Government has reduced the tariffs of 90 per cent 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 claimed that the trade volume between the two nations was 2.2 billion pounds in 2022, with the oil and gas industry accounting for the majority of the commerce.
He emphasized the significance of extending the market and diversifying into other industries, including exports.
“We have to change focus to 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 of 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.
According to Mr Simon Calvert, Senior Commercial Agriculture Adviser, Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), Nigeria does not need international treaties to profit from the DCTS.
He also stated that the UK government will assist exporters in obtaining financing through its banking institutions.
He emphasized that by loosening the rules of origin, neighboring nations may readily employ Nigerian components 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 per cent, 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.