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Last Updated:[05-04-2010 08:19:28 EDT] Zoom in Zoom out Back to Tradenews

US-Nigeria Aims to Ameliorate Ties by Broad-based Accord

tradenews The US and Nigeria would be attempting to upgrade its diplomatic ties through a historic comprehensive commission pact to be signed on Wednesday in New York. The bi-national commission agreement comes barely days after the US lifted enhanced airport screening measures against Nigeria and other 13 countries, which was imposed following failed terror attempt by a Nigerian in a US flight on Christmas day last year.

The Secretary to the Nigerian Government of the Federation, Alhaji Ahmed Yayale is leading a delegation comprising of top government officials and private company heads to the US to sign the agreement as well as to interact with their counterparts to explore areas of interest and profit. While speaking to THISDAY, the Nigerian Ambassador to the US, Professor Adebowale Adefuye said Yayale would sign the accord on behalf of Nigeria and the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would do the same for the US.

Nigeria envisages this pact as an important milestone in trade ties with the US especially after the country failed to take advantage of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) enacted in 2000, which enabled the country to penetrate the US market. Similarly, through the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) which is in effect again from 2000, both countries have not been able to achieve the desired results despite an uptick in some of the trade areas. However, in the wake of the restoration of democracy in 1999, the Nigeria-US relations have shown tremendous improvements in diplomatic co-operation and regional peacekeeping efforts.

According to Adefuye, the pact will cover several spheres including trade and energy, Niger Delta; electoral reforms, and peace and security. In addition, the first US-Nigeria Business Forum will be held between April 12 and 20 in three US states - Georgia, Texas and Illinois.

The Forum is expected to discuss the trade prospects for both countries in the fields of tourism & hospitality, mining, telecommunications, aviation & transport, and the SMEs development. Other areas such as banking, infrastructure, construction, agriculture, health, oil & gas, maritime, environment and insurance are also expected to be featured in the Forum.

Nigeria is the largest trading partner of the US in sub-Saharan Africa. About one million Nigerian nationals and Nigerian-Americans are believed to live, work and study in the US as against around 25,000 US citizens who live and work in Nigeria.

By Jose Roy

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