The European Union (EU) is to provide financial trade-related development assistance for Nigeria’s growth and development, through a trade grant of about €6.5 billion (about N1.6 trillion) for every four years, till 2035.
The EU Ambassador and Head of EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Mr. Michel Arrion, who disclosed this during a media luncheon to announce the 4th EU-Nigeria business forum, explained that the move was to demonstrate the union’s strong belief and confidence in the Nigerian market.
According to him, EU will be making strong commitments in terms of financial development assistance, and that its member states have all agreed to provide a minimum of €6.5 billion trade development assistance every four years till 2035.
Arrion assured that the EU will not invade the West African market with products that could compete with domestic products which Nigeria and other countries in the region would be producing; pointing out that the EU has removed all its export subsidies to the West African market.
On the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), he said the EPA establishes a partnership based on common objectives and asymmetrical obligations in West Africa’s favour, stressing that all West African exports are granted immediate duty-free access to the EU.
“In turn, West Africa will gradually reduce duties on 75 per cent of EU imports over a long transition period of 20 years. There are many safeguards to support domestic production, infant industry and food security and the EU will not use subsidies on agriculture exports to West Africa,” he said.
He stated that the EPA will remove all EU tariffs on Nigerian exports, adding that Nigeria currently does not benefit from the agreement.
He noted that the volume of trade between Nigeria and EU stood at €36.4 in 2013, accounting for 29.6 per cent of Nigeria’s total trade the same year.
Meanwhile, the fourth EU-Nigeria business forum will be taking place in Lagos on November 5, 2015.