Trade negotiations vital to reviving Nigeria’s economy-WTO DG

The director-general World Trade Organisation, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has said if the country must step up action on its economy, trade negotiations on agricultural issues remains very important.

Dr Iweala is a leader on issues of e-commerce, services domestic regulations, investment facilitation, micro small and medium enterprises and women in trade.

She stated this on Monday in Abuja during her visit to the Minister of Industry Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, adding that the country have difficulty and challenges with her economy and has to move fast because it has potential to do so much better.

Dr Okonjo-Iweala, said that the WTO will work with Nigeria to help deliver support directly with its resources in technical assistance, training and quality upgrade.

She said, “The  WTO is about supporting investment’s and supporting infrastructure in technical assistance, its not a Financial institution but it works with Financial institutions it is one of the economic institutions that was created with the World Bank and the International Monitory Fund, IMF, these are three powerful institutions that working together can deliver a lot.

“The WTO faces many challenges and also needs its own reforms to deliver results, the organization has not delivered a multilateral round of negotiations in quite a number of years and we have the unique opportunity of delivering the fishery subsidy negotiations.

“The dispute settlement system that is paralyzed we have to discuss with all members including the United States on how to make this work again, because the rules based organisation cannot continue to make rules if the dispute settlement system does not work”.

While responding, the Minister congratulated Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on her appointment as the director-general WTO, hinting the DG on some of the country’s expectations regarding engagements in ongoing negotiations and discussions.

“On the ongoing agriculture negotiation, Nigeria expects balance and equitable outcome that addresses structural causes of food and livelihood insecurity in Net Food Importing Developing Countries NFIDC and Least Developed Countries LDC.

“On the Fishery Subsidy Negotiations,  we look forward to outcomes that result in reduction in over fishing and  unsustainable fishing practices with effective differential treatment that allows a sustainable development of  developing countries,” Mr Adebayo said.

Also, the Minister of State for Industry Trade and Investment, Amb Maryam Katagum, urged the DG WTO not forget the commitment to sustain and enhance the ongoing dialogue and action on ‘women in trade’, as a firm believer in the power of trade to lift developing countries, including Nigeria out of poverty.

She said the Ministry recognizes the WTO as an indispensable multilateral institution. Although it remains an indispensable organization, the WTO requires urgent fixing, reform, and modernization of its rules.

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