The United States of America Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard, at the weekend, disclosed that Nigeria would continue to be eligible for preferential trade access to the US market under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

A statement by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment said that Leonard, on a visit to the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, had said Nigeria became eligible after a review of the criteria set by the US Congress under AGOA.

According to her, the criteria for eligibility among others included the establishment of a market-based economy, rule of law, political pluralism, right to due process, fair trial, equal protection under the law, elimination of barriers to US trade and investment, economic policies to reduce poverty, a system to combat corruption and bribery, and protection of internationally recognised workers’ rights, the statement disclosed.

AGOA criteria also required the benefitting country to respect internationally-recognised human rights.

Leonard noted that during the AGOA eligibility review, the US government noted the progress Nigeria had made to diversify and strengthen the market-based economy, poverty reduction, reforms in the power sector, raising electricity tariffs and implementing the Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan.

The US ambassador, however, expressed her government concern on the availability and accessibility of US firms to forex, particularly their ability to repatriate revenue and fulfill loan obligations in timely manner, child labour and respect for the rule of law, the statement further said.

Source: PUNCH

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