WTO to Grant Nigeria Relief from Dumping

February 22, 2016Nigeriaby EW News Desk Team

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Nigerian industry has suffered for many years thanks to the influx of less expensive items from abroad. This has effectively killed a number of local industries in the African nation; however, due to recently secured measures from the World Trade Organization (WTO), several of these dead industries may be resurrected once more.

The practice of flooding a foreign market with products and goods at prices below what local competition can provide in an effort to destroy that nation's domestic production is called "dumping." In many ways, dumping is simply a means of gaming free markets, exploiting an advantage the local producers cannot match. However, the WTO was formed in large part to prevent this very practice. Thus, the Nigerian government has turned to the WTO to bring its flagging economy back to life.

Minister of Industry, Trade, and Investment (MITI), Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah, revealed that the Nigerian government has been in ongoing talks with local industry leaders in an effort to revitalize these sectors. Key to this plan: gaining WTO support for discouraging dumping.

Dr. Enelamah said of the efforts, “One of my first official outings as minister was to represent Nigeria at the World Trade Organisation Ministerial Conference in Nairobi, Kenya; and discuss Nigeria’s place in the global multilateral trading system.

One of the areas we addressed [was] dumping and I am happy that we got some relief, anti-dumping relief that we are going to use to promote local industries. Also, on one of our recent trips to the United Arab Emirates, I was privileged to sign, on behalf of Nigeria, an important bilateral agreement on Trade Promotion and Protection.” 

If these efforts are successful, they should help to stem the influx of finished goods flooding the Nigerian markets from Europe and Asian countries. Because Nigeria is still attempting to industrialize, it has not yet been able to produce many finished goods at the same low prices that are possible in European and Asian countries.

According to a story in Vanguard, the Nigerian government has destroyed several tons of substandard products dumped into the market by foreign manufacturers over the last few years. Popular dumped items include cables, wires, tires, canned tomato paste, textile materials, and a wide array of other household items and consumables. 

“We are in the era of globalisation as people like to call it, and what it means is that people are constantly trying to sell their goods, so we have a particular responsibility to ourselves to make sure that the goods that are coming here do not result in dumping. We are competing with the treasuries of the developed world where they are, in effect, subsidising goods that are coming into countries in the developing world and hampering industrialisation," said Minister Enelamah.

"Nigeria is a large country with a population of 170 million people and counting ... We, Nigerians, have to be prepared to make some trade-offs and the most obvious one that will have the greatest impact is to consume what we produce – Made-in-Nigeria and that includes me. If we are willing to pay the price of consuming what we are producing it will get better with time, like it happened in other countries like Germany, Japan, and others. They all went through the same cycle and I am fully persuaded we will get the benefits in time."

If Nigeria is able to obtain relief through the WTO and reliably produce goods that meet consumer demand, the Nigerian people may be able to jump start growth of their own economy. Of course, that growth will not be overnight and, ironically, may rely on foreign investments.

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