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FG seeks improved UK trade relationship to boost Nigerian SMEs ― Awolowo

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THE Federal Government has developed an initiative seeking to improve the trade relationship between Nigeria and the United Kingdom (UK) in a bid to improve the export capacity of the country’s Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) by removing all the barriers that have hindered the export of Nigerian products to the UK.

Speaking in Abuja on Thursday while receiving a delegation from the Department of International Development (DFID), the Executive Director of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Segun Awolowo said the initiative would enhance Nigeria’s trade profile.

According to him: “Effort to improve the country’s trade under the Trade, Investment and Export (TIE) initiative of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment (FMITI) may soon pay-off as plans are in progress for a strategic framework engagement that would help improve trade between Nigeria and the United Kingdom.”

In a statement made available to the media by the Head of Corporate Communications of the Council, Joe Itah, the framework engagement with the UK under the TIE platform would provide a veritable avenue to address some of the issues that continue to hinder trade between both countries.

“Some of these issues range from quality and standards, hygiene for processed food, tariff and non-tariff barriers, development of infrastructure for certification of products for export.”

Awolowo explained that such forum if set-up in the similarity of the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) would provide a veritable platform for all stakeholders to share ideas and proffer solutions to the myriad of problems inhibiting growth in the sector and therefore help enhance trade between both countries.

Responding, the leader of the delegation and Head, Economic Development, Richard Ough said there is need for the Council to document some of the success stories recorded by Nigerian entrepreneurs exporting to the UK, adding that the DFID would be willing to provide support in the area of building capacity for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) as well as human capital development.

Also contributing, Ilaria Chessa, Trade Policy Adviser, said there is a need for Nigerian entrepreneurs to maximize the benefits of existing trade preferences in order to help them export to the UK and improve the bilateral trade relations between both countries.

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