Washington — Nigeria and the United States have completed their seventh meeting under a U.S.-Nigeria agreement to advance economic opportunities and strengthen trade relations between the two countries.
The meeting of the U.S.-Nigeria Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) Council concluded December 3 in the Nigerian capital of Abuja, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) said in a news release the same day.
Discussions focused on several common objectives, including market access, cooperation in the World Trade Organization (WTO), issues affecting the commercial environment, local content restrictions, implementation of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), intellectual property rights, and improving the investment climate between the United States and Nigeria. Discussions were led for the United States by Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for African Affairs Florizelle B. Liser and for Nigeria by Nigerian Minister of Trade and Investment Olusegun Olutoyin Aganga.
"The [Obama] administration is using its TIFAs with sub-Saharan African countries to encourage new trade and investment by implementing country- and region-specific strategies that promote two-way trade and investment," Liser told members of Congress in April.
"The administration seeks to create new trade opportunities, expand markets for U.S. goods and services in sub-Saharan Africa and facilitate efforts to bolster African economic development through increased bilateral, regional and global trade," she said.
Nigeria is one of the most important countries in sub-Saharan Africa and has significant strategic importance for the United States, the USTR said. As the largest market in West Africa, Nigeria plays a central role in the regional economy, and policies implemented in Nigeria have an effect that reverberates throughout the region.
Total U.S.-Nigerian trade was valued at $38.5 billion in 2011, up nearly 12 percent from 2010, largely because of higher oil export volumes and prices, according to the USTR. U.S. imports from Nigeria were valued at $33.7 billion in 2011 and consisted almost entirely of crude oil. U.S. non-oil imports from Nigeria consisted primarily of agricultural products, such as cocoa, tobacco, rubber, feeds and grains, and nuts. U.S. exports to Nigeria were valued at $4.8 billion in 2011, an 18.4 percent increase from 2010. Nigeria is the world's largest importer of U.S. wheat, with purchases valued at $1.2 billion in 2011. Other major U.S. exports to Nigeria include transportation vehicles and processed petroleum products, such as gasoline and kerosene.
The United States and Nigeria have worked cooperatively over the years to make significant strides toward improving the environment for business and trade, the USTR said. The U.S.-Nigeria TIFA is part of a comprehensive U.S. effort to support the Nigerian government's work to advance trade and economic development. The U.S.-Nigeria TIFA Council is working to develop specific initiatives to expand economic opportunities for workers, farmers, businesses and consumers in both countries.
The United States-Nigeria TIFA was signed in 2000. It provides a mechanism for regular, high-level dialogue on enhancing U.S.-Nigeria economic ties and improving coordination on multilateral and bilateral trade and investment issues.
The U.S.-Nigeria TIFA (PDF, 107KB) is available on the USTR website.