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Nigeria Office for Trade Negotiations unveils steps to foster exports in face of AfCFTA take-off

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By Audrey Lotechukwu

MON 18 JAN, 2021-theGBJournal- The Nigeria Office for Trade Negotiations (NOTN) has outlined requisite steps for Nigerian exporters gearing to begin exporting to other African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) countries as member states kick-start trading activities.

NOTN the institutional framework and foundation for Nigeria’s trade policy infrastructure, leads, manages and co-ordinates all trade negations for Nigeria.

According to NOTN, exporters or agent must secure all necessary licences, permits, certificates and necessary documents from relevant agencies like NEPC, SON, NAFDAC, NAQS and others and ensure that the product qualifies for export under AfCFTA.

Next step is to create a bill of entry, attach all relevant permits from government agencies and secure reservation with shipping or airline company and apply for Nigeria Customs Service, AfCFTA Certificate of Origin after paying a fee.

NOTN said, the Nigeria Customs Service is the issuer of the certificate, ‘’however, NACCIMA must vet the application.’’

Other accompanying documents required for shipment under AfCFTA trading activities include certificate of origin, Nigeria Customs Bill of Entry, Bill of Lading, Commercial Invoice, Packing list, and Certificate of analysis.

The Trade Negotiation Office also listed Supplier/Producer’s declaration form, Origin of Declaration form, and Certificate of Origin as the compulsory trading documents.

President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday, 7th July, 2019, at the 12th Extraordinary Summit of African Union (AU) Heads of State and Government, in Niamey, Niger Republic, signed the agreement establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), involving 54 countries.

The AfCFTA aims to create a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of people and investments.

The Agreement covers Protocol on Trade in Goods and Services, Rules and Procedure on Settlement of Disputes, Investment, Competition Policy, and Intellectual Property Rights.

 In addition, it seeks to expand intra-Africa trade which currently stands at low 16%, in contrast to other regions and continents. In the EU, intra-regional trade is 65-70%, and in APEC (Asia-Pacific) 70%. UNECA has estimated that the AfCFTA can boost intra-African trade to 60% by 2022.

Recall that the Agreement establishing the AfCFTA was signed at the 10th Extraordinary Summit of the AU Assembly on 21st March, 2018 in Kigali, Rwanda.

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