Nigeria’s export to the United States under the African Growth and Opportunity Act policy in 2019 recorded $3.13bn. According to the latest AGOA trade statistics, export to the US under the policy fell by 28 per cent from $4.36bn in 2018 to $3.13bn in 2019. The AGOA, a United States’ trade policy, enacted in 2000, is legislation that facilitates trade between exporters from sub-Saharan Africa and the US duty-free. The data indicated that oil export under the policy continued to take the centre stage, accounting for 99.7 per cent of the AGOA exports to the United States in 2019.
According to the statistics, oil and gas products valued at $3.12bn were exported to the US under the policy in 2019. In addition, Nigeria energy export to the United States under the policy boosted trade balance between the two countries, creating a trade surplus of $1.88bn in 2019. In the same year, exporters of chemical products, agro-products, mineral and metal enjoyed the duty-free trade deal. Chemical products valued at $116,000 were exported to the US, agricultural products worth $2.99m, forest products valued at $10,000 as well as mineral and metal worth $3.19m were exported under AGOA.
Textile and apparel export was worth $3,000; footwear valued at $2,000 was exported and machinery valued at $8,000 was exported in 2019. Overall, the total non-oil export under AGOA in Nigeria was $6.33m in 2019, indicating 38 per cent increase from $4.58m recorded in 2018. Nigeria led other countries that benefited from the tariff-free export opportunity last year in the Economic Community of West African States region. After much clamour from the beneficiary countries, the export opportunity, after completing its initial 15-year validity period, was extended in 2015 by another 10 years.
This means that Nigeria and 37 other countries, which met the eligibility criteria, will benefit from the tariff-free opportunity till 2025. Only sub-Saharan African countries are considered for eligibility, and with AGOA beneficiary status having been awarded to approximately 38 countries. For easy export to the US, exporters of food products had last year called on the Federal Government to assist in providing an enabling environment under AGOA.
The exporters spoke at a stakeholders’ roundtable meeting held at the Nigerian Export Promotion Council, Apapa, Lagos. The meeting organised by the AGOA Trade Resource Centre featured food and drug administration-certified and licensed exporters during which participants exchanged ideas on best practices in the food export sector. The Regional Coordinator of the NEPC (South-West), Mr Babatunde Faleke, noted there had not been appreciable exportation of Nigerian foods to the US under AGOA despite the certification of exporters.
“In the past, export of food, particularly shrimps to the US, was high; now there is a ban on export of Nigerian fish to the US until the needful is done by the appropriate authority. Hence, the need to re-strategise,” Faleke was quoted as saying. He also informed of the important role of the Nigerian American-Air-Sea Cargo, owner of shoptomydoor, in products shipment and sales in the US, and the need for exporters to network with the company.