The UK government is proposing a new scheme in Nigeria and other low income developing economies aimed at growing trade, supporting jobs creation and economic growth.
A consultation has already been launched on new trading regulations that would help the affected countries grow their trade and build back their economies better, while also helping British businesses and consumers.
The consultation on the UK’s new scheme runs for eight weeks and seeks the view of all sectors of society, including businesses, the public, civil society groups, consumers, associations, partner governments and any other interested stakeholders.
Collation of views from Nigerian businesses and interest groups would continue till September 12 this year.
Giving further insight into the new scheme, the UK Trade Commissioner for Africa, Emma Wade-Smith, said the UK Developing Countries Trading Scheme (DCTS) presents a major opportunity to grow free and fair trade with developing countries.
Wade-Smith said the proposed scheme, which would apply to Nigeria and 69 other qualifying countries, would include improvements such as lower trade tariffs and simpler rules of origin requirements for countries exporting to the UK, allowing countries to diversify their exports and grow their economies.
“The UK currently operates a similar scheme rolled over from the EU, but as an independent trading nation we can now take a simpler, more generous, pro-growth approach to trading with developing countries,” the Commissioner said.
The UK Developing Countries Trading Scheme would apply to 47 countries in the Least Developed Country Framework (LDCF) and 23 additional countries classified by the World Bank as low-income and lower-middle-income countries, including Nigeria.
“The proposed new UK scheme will mean more opportunity and less bureaucracy for developing countries, for example by simplifying rules of origin requirements or reducing tariffs on imports.
“For instance, this could mean lowering tariffs on products, including rice from Pakistan and raw materials from Nigeria.”
UK Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab said: “Cutting tariffs for poorer countries enables them to trade their way to genuine independence. I’m proud we lead the world in offering that opportunity.”
International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said: “Trade fundamentally empowers people and has done more than any single policy in history to lift millions of people around the world out of poverty. “Now the UK is an independent trading nation we have a huge opportunity do things differently, taking a more liberal, pro-trade approach that leads to growth and opportunity.
“Countries like Bangladesh and Vietnam have proven it’s possible to trade your way to better living standards, and our new Developing Countries Trading Scheme will help others do the same.”
Wade-Smith added: “The DCTS scheme signals the UK’s strong appetite to promote free and fair trade. It is a demonstration of our commitment to help boost economic growth and prosperity in Africa, by enabling businesses there to access the UK market more easily.
“The UK is committed to strengthening our commercial relationship with African partners.
“The new DCTS scheme will create a smoother path for companies to export to the UK. I encourage the African business community to contribute to this important consultation.
“We want to hear a range of views and perspectives, to ensure the scheme targets those areas that will have the greatest positive impact on growing our bilateral trade.”
The UK Government wants the new scheme to be the best in its class, like what obtains in Canada, the US, Japan and the EU, before adopting an approach that takes some of the strongest elements of each and builds on them.