Nigeria-UK trade worth £7bn, says British envoy

Nigeria-UK trade worth £7bn, says British envoy

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Richard Montgomery, the British high commissioner to Nigeria, says trade relations between Nigeria and the United Kingdom (UK) are about £7 billion.

Montgomery spoke in an interview with NAN in Abuja on Sunday.

He said Nigeria and the UK signed a new agreement on enhanced trade and investment partnership, as well as agreed to work in the agriculture, creative, legal, financial services, and education sectors.

“Trading by both countries is relatively balanced because the UK exports about £4 billion worth of goods and services to Nigeria while Nigeria exports to the UK about £3 billion worth of goods,” he said.

“We need to do more because if you look at last year’s figure compared to the penultimate, there was not much of an increase in trade volume. It was an increase of about two per cent. So trade in the last few years has changed.

“And the aim of our enhanced Trade and Investment Partnership is to boost trade and investment between both countries and also to raise these numbers.

“Nigeria can benefit and take advantage of a new post-Brexit trading agreement that the UK has put in place that is called the Developing Countries Trading Scheme (DCTS).”
According to the British envoy, DCTS is among the world’s most generous schemes since it removes tariffs on thousands of products worldwide to make free trade easier.

Montgomery said having visited several regions in Nigeria, the UK realised the country has at least 3,000 tariff-free products that it could export.

He said the enhanced partnership signed between the two countries in February is aimed at attracting more investment to the agricultural sector, adding that Nigeria could boost trade with the UK by exporting more of the sector’s products.

“In agricultural exports, Nigeria can export cashew, cotton, or cocoa from the middle belt,” he said.

“There are lots of commercial farmers involved in vegetables, which can be processed, and there is also timber.

“And we think that there’s a big potential for commercial agriculture in the future in Nigeria. You have the land you have the people.

“The new trading scheme should be an opportunity for Nigeria. We can do more in financial and legal services.”

He said new technologies are entering the financial services sector which will greatly improve the sector.


Montgomery said two challenges of doing business in the UK that foreigners need to take cognisance of are lack of understanding on how to do business and also the standards (non-tariff barriers to trade).

“When you go onto the internet and search for UK Department for Business and Trade, you will access the growth gateway page where you will get information on trade,  depending on what sector you are in. There’s even a page for Nigeria,” he said.

“In the area of standards, if you want to sell some products in the UK, there are safety standards you have to meet, and you will have a certification. Nigeria has its own certification.

“And Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) is working with UK standards organisation to reconcile standards or enable them to certify for the UK market to help ease trade.”

Montgomery said he is optimistic the UK would do more trade in Nigeria due to the bold reforms implemented by the Nigerian government.

He applauded the country for removal of the “crippling fuel subsidy,” the tackling of oil theft, getting oil revenues, and also the foreign exchange reforms.

“You all know that the foreign exchange system in the past chased away investors because it is difficult to get your exchange done and you do not know whether you will be able to move money across borders,” he said.

However, Montgomery said the new exchange rates policy under the present government and the leadership of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is attracting investors.

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