The United State government is planning to establish the West African Trade Hub (WATH) in Lagos and Abuja, Nigeria to support the bilateral trade between Nigeria and the US.
Grace Adeyemo, Director, Nigeria-American Chamber of Commerce (NACC), said this at a conference for Prosper Africa, an initiative of the US government targeted at “creating an enabling environment for foreign and direct investment in African countries’’.
Adeyemo expressed optimism about the economic prospects of the President Donald Trump-backed trade initiative, which, according to her, prompted the decision to move the trade hub into Nigeria.
She, however, noted that Nigerian entrepreneurs who seek access to opportunities that would accrue from the initiative through the hub would need to meet the regulatory standards required to break into the US/global market.
According to her, the NACC would also offer advice to prospective exporters who would like to take advantage of the tariff-free market on the US-Nigeria bilateral trade agreement.
“US representatives have told us that the West African Trade hub would now move into Nigeria to be situated in Abuja and Lagos.
“It will be launched anytime soon. It has always been in Ghana. US government is willing to support a partnership between US investors and Africa.
Nigeria can key into it but we need to get it right first. We need to try to grow our businesses and add value to them.”
WATH is a one-stop shop organization backed and funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to increase the value and volume of West Africa’s exports by addressing challenges in intra-regional and export-oriented products.
Apart from synergizing with local regulatory agencies and policymakers to influence the business environment and attract investors, it is also targeted at promoting the two-way trade between Africa and the US under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).
AGOA is a US policy that accords duty-free treatments to virtually all products that are exported to the US by beneficiary sub-Sahara African countries. Acclaimed as the cornerstone of US trade policy with Africa, it is aimed at facilitating the export of over 6,000 goods with no tariff.
Prosper Africa, a trade initiative launched by the Trump’s administration, is one aimed at synchronizing the efforts of the US government agencies to facilitate more deals between the US and African businesses and address trade/investment barriers.