FG commends Nigeria trade negotiator over change in ECOWAS rules of origin

The Federal Government has commended the Nigerian Acting Chief Trade Negotiator and Director General, Office of Trade Negotiation, Victor Liman, for lobbying the Economic Community for West African States (ECOWAS) to change its position on rules of origin on goods from Special Economic Zone as well as the Free Zones Enterprises (AFZE) across the country.

The Enterprises, located in over 40 special economic zones in Nigeria, described the Trade negotiator as a smart trade diplomat who has rescued Nigeria from likely huge loss of multi billion naira investment, stressing that a distortion in foreign direct investment of goods from SEZs had earlier been banned from enjoying AFCTA preferential treatment.

The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Niyi Adebayo. gave the commendation, yesterday, on behalf of the FG in Abuja.

In a statement, Head of media in the Office of the Trade Negotiation, James Akanya, revealed that the negotiator had led Nigeria to reject ECOWAS position on rules of origin as it affects goods produced within special economic zones, even as he worked on the regional body to review her position on the issue.

The statement reads in parts: ‘’ECOWAS under its trade liberalisation scheme had excluded goods from free zones from rule of origin application, a situation that threatens Nigeria’s interest as a country with the highest number of special economic zones in West African.

“The commission’s position if maintained will imply that goods from free zones will not enjoy preferential treatments and other privileges conferred on goods recognised as originating from AFCTA member nations under the rule of origin.”

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