Nigeria cannot be forced into EU trade deal – Minister

The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Okechukwu Enelamah has said that the Federal Government would not allow itself to be stampeded into signing the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the European Union (EU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

Enelamah, who disclosed this through his Trade Adviser and Chief Negotiator, Ambassador Chiedu Osakwe, during a chat with newsmen in Abuja on Wednesday, said Nigeria was never in haste to sign an agreement that is capable of having a strong effect on the President Muhammadu Buhari’s quest to reposition the Nigerian economy.

His words: “Nigeria position is that it (EPA) is under review by the government at the highest possible level, it is a subject of analysis and it is also a subject of consultation with all the stakeholders.

“Nigeria has neither signed nor rectified the ECOWAS-EU Economic Partnership Agreement. It is subjecting it to thorough process of review and undertaking diagnostic analysis to estimate the potential welfare gains and losses on EPA.

“Nigeria will neither rushed nor be stampeded into any agreement that is not consistent with Nigeria own priorities, and conception of rapidly changing global economy and the domestic structural policy reform to effect the Nigeria economy to be more productive and more competitive.”

While restating the position of the present administration to also negotiate Continental Free Trade Areas (CFTA) agreement in a way that the nation’s economy is well protected from dumping and unwholesome international trade activities, the minister said the Nigeria’ economy has continued to receive interest from foreign investors as result of the determination of the present administration to stamp out corruption from the country.

He said the trade policy of the country would be subjected to review under the World Trade Organisation (WTO) platform in June 2017 to reflect the present reality.

Speaking further, Enelamah said the EU through United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) has made available funds to provide technical supports for producers in the country so that their products would be up to the required standard in Europe and other parts of the country.

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