FEC approves creation of trade negotiation office

The Federal Executive Council on Wednesday approved a memo for the establishment of Nigerian office for trade negotiations.

The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enalemah, later told State House reporters that the office would help the government to coordinate trade negotiations and achieve coherence in policies.

He said: “Trade is something that is quite pervasive. We get involved in a lot of negotiations and a lot of MOUs assigned on trade. What we found was this was happening in various ministries agencies and department with insufficient coordination and therefore consequently, it had unintended consequences and cost for us.

“There are a number of examples of these things that have happened so the cabinet decided that it is wise to establish a coordinating central office for trade negotiations. The Nigerians office for trade negotiations which will be headed by a chief negotiator of ambassadorial rank that will then work with both the economic management team and the cabinet.

“As part of an offensive strategy of being proactive in engaging some of the discussions, we are having on the continental free trade area agreement that we are negotiating or other free trade agreement that we have entered into with strategic partners all over
the world.

“Then, finally, it will also help us in the implementation of our economic recovery and growth plan because clearly there is an intention to engage and work with other countries in that process.

“We also want to make sure that we have trade remedies against dumping, substandard goods and all the other things which is something that is allowed the world over. This office will also take responsibility to make sure that we achieve all these objectives.

“The focal ministry in terms of the ministry that is championing it is the Ministry of trade and investment but all the approval will pass through the EMT which will also provide oversight. There will be an inter-ministerial body that will provide the focal point but the EMT will play a role of oversight” DAILYTUST.M

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