Trade remedies to protect Nigerian producers from unfair and injurious trade practices from foreign companies that harm domestic industries are key factors for the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
This was disclosed by Tola Onayemi, Head, Trade Remedies Unit National office for Trade Negotiations on Thursday at the AfCFTA Sensitization Seminar organized by the National Action Committee of the implementation of the agreement.
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Mr. Onayemi said Trade remedies would protect the market from getting flooded by subsidized goods of foreign companies which would be sold below competitive prices for Nigerian producers. “Trade remedies is not protectionism, it’s protection against unfair trade practices,” he said.
He added that the remedies are policy tools used by governments to take remedial action against unfair trade practices by companies and countries which cause injury to domestic industries, after a rules-based investigation.
Onayemi cited WTO and AfCFTA Trade laws which make provisions for trade remedies in trade agreements. He cited Article 17,18,19 and 20 AfCFTA Protocol on Trade in Goods and Annex 9 of the AfCFTA Protocol on Trade in Goods and the CFTA Guidelines implementation of Trade Remedies in accordance with the relevant WTO agreement. He said the AfCFTA and WTO laws protect against Anti-dumping, which are only applied after a careful analysis has been taken by the host nation.
Before an application of a trade remedy policy tool can be investigated, there must be an existing legislation/regulation and an Investigating authority recognized by international organizations as the body responsible to investigate and recommend appropriate remedies for each unfair practice. If the investigation has been carried out, and there is proof of government subsidies on the product entering the host market, the difference in price is added at the border, before the goods enter the market.
He added that the key features of any Trade Remedy Mechanism include:
- Technical and Investigation based
- Independent of any Policy-making Arm
- Full Notification and Disclosures ( to WTO/AfCFTA, all Importers, Exporters, Home Countries of investigated importer).
On Nigeria’s Trade Remedy implementation policies, Onayemi mentioned a 3-month On-The-Job-Training for Country Trade Remedy experts held from April-June 2018, the Set-up and meetings of EMT committee on Trade Remedies in 2018, also in 2018 Approval of Nigerian Trade Remedies Infrastructure by EMT and Basic technology frameworks for Trade Remedies Investigation in December 2019.
Outstanding tasks include the Signing and Publication of Legal Framework of Nigerian trade remedies and the Deployment and launch of Trade Remedies Electronic Platform with integration by the Nigerian Customs, NBS and Finance.