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Cablegate: Nigeria: Secretary Evans Letter to President

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS ABUJA 001918

SIPDIS


STATE FOR AF/W, EB/CBA AND EB/OIA
COMMERCE ALSO FOR ADVOCACY CENTER


E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ETRD ECON EINV NI
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: SECRETARY EVANS LETTER TO PRESIDENT
OBASANJO SUPPORTING PROCTER & GAMBLE


REF: (A) USDOC 4307 (B) WALLACE-KAPLAN EMAILS 7/17-
7/18/01


1. Action request, para 4.


2. Department of Commerce requested Post input on the
efficacy of sending a Secretarial letter on behalf of Proctor
& Gamble (P&G) to President Obasanjo. The Mission believes
P&G's interests would be best served by approaching Chief
Kolawole Babalola Jamodu, Minister of Industries, who remains
the primary force behind GON reticence to meet all of P&G's
requests. President Obasanjo on several occasions has
expressed displeasure with being drawn into commercial issues
and has made it clear that, in this case, he will act upon
the recommendation of his Minister.


3. Moreover, any message delivered to the GON should explain
how P&G's investment in Nigeria will assist the country to
revitalize its manufacturing sector. Nigeria seeks more
foreign investment, but not at the cost of its existing,
rather limited manufacturing base. Unfortunately, P&G's
domestic competition can readily portray a tariff reduction
on European-manufactured Ariel detergent as an attack on
domestic Umo-brand detergent production. P&G's Nigerian
partner reportedly concurs in our view that a letter from
Secretary Evans to President Obasanjo would not be helpful.

SIPDIS


4. Mission therefore recommends that Secretary Evans send a
letter instead to his counterpart Minister Jamodu and that
the letter to President Obasanjo not be delivered. Mission
offers a proposed text in para 5, which might serve as the
basis for a final letter by the Secretary. Please advise.


5. Begin Text of Letter:


Dear Mr. Minister:


I wish to bring to your direct attention an important
opportunity for Nigeria to raise its profile with potential
investors in the manufacturing sector. As you are aware, the
U.S. firm Procter & Gamble is currently discussing with the
Nigerian Government a proposal to upgrade its production
facilities in Ibadan that would generate substantial
employment in your country. To make that investment
financially viable, Procter & Gamble seeks duty reductions on
certain equipment and raw materials for its proposed
manufacturing plant, and on one finished product, Ariel
detergent.


In the past, Nigerian-made products could be found abundantly
throughout West and Central Africa. Proctor & Gamble's
proposal offers an opportunity towards restoration of
Nigeria's regional manufacturing dominance. The
liberalization sought would contribute both to creating a
more competitive marketplace in Nigeria and to expanding
Nigeria's exports to other countries.


Mr. Minister, as you have pointed out many times, attracting
non-oil investment is vitally important to create meaningful
employment and diversify the Nigerian economy. I understand
your government has already agreed to some of Procter &
Gamble,s duty reduction proposals. We would strongly urge
Nigeria to look favorably on the remaining requests. These
changes would benefit ordinary Nigerian citizens by providing
and expanding the market for high-quality,
competitively-priced products. They would also send a
strong, positive signal to investors that the moment has
arrived to invest in Nigerian manufacturing. A robust and
growing manufacturing sector will position Nigeria to take
fullest advantage of trade liberalization and of specific
trade preferences for developing countries, such as the
African Growth and Opportunity Act.


In closing, I again urge you to look favorably on Procter &
Gamble,s requests. This win-win situation would constitute
a valuable vote of confidence in Nigeria and would be
interpreted positively by the international business
community.


Sincerely yours,
Donald L. Evans


End text of letter
Jeter

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