Cablegate: Nigeria: Contributions for Trade Agreement

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

291231Z Mar 04



E.O. 12958: N/A


(B) LAGOS 309

1. (U) In response to questions raised in the above-
referenced email, Post is pleased to provide the
following information:

2. (U) Designated Abuja and Lagos EconOffs have primary
responsibility for trade agreement monitoring and
compliance. The Mission's commercial counselor and
agricultural attach are closely involved, especially
in Mission-sponsored public awareness campaigns. With
State support, the agricultural attach generally takes
the lead on issues affecting trade in agricultural

3. (U) The Mission's Trade Compliance Committee
coordinates inter-agency trade agreement monitoring and
compliance efforts. The committee meets quarterly to
review GON trade policies and recommend action to
policymakers in various Washington offices. The
committee comprises the deputy chief of Mission, the
economic counselor, Abuja and Lagos EconOffs for trade,
the commercial counselor, the agricultural attach, and
USAID representatives.

4. (U) State recently took the lead in coordinating the
Mission's response to the GON's January 2004
announcement of bans on more than 40 products. The
Lagos EconOff for trade collected data on the list of
banned items, narrowed it to those of particular
interest to U.S. businesses and economic sectors, and
coordinated the first quarter's Trade Compliance
Committee meeting, the findings of which were
transmitted on February 10 (ref B). The Departments of
State, Commerce, and Agriculture, through their
respective officials at Post, have jointly planned an
awareness campaign to educate the Nigerian public about
the disadvantages of bans and have recommended that the
USG focus on specific issues in high-level meetings
with the GON later this year. In general, State leads
the Mission's efforts to respond appropriately to the
GON's increasingly protectionist trade policies.

5. (U) Comment: Nigeria's trade policies tend to change
suddenly and arbitrarily. Decisions regarding tariffs
and import bans are made at several levels of
government, including the presidency. A lack of timely
published official rulings makes monitoring difficult,
and enforcement of official policy is rarely
consistent. State EconOffs in Abuja and Lagos track
Nigeria's ever-changing trade policy landscape by using
contacts in a variety of govenment and private sector
offices to obtain information quickly, put it in a
business context, and forward it to interested parties.
While the Departments of Commerce and Agriculture have
great expertise in their fields, State EconOffs
understand the broad implications of trade policy
decisions and provide the USG with in-depth
understanding of trends. No other agency on the ground
can provide that service. End comment.


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