|Wikileaks:||View 02ABUJA1811 at Wikileaks.org|
|Tags:||ETRD EINV ECON NI|
|Redacted:||This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.|
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 ABUJA 001811 SIPDIS DEPT PASS TO USTR FOR WHITAKER AND COLEMAN E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/17/2012 TAGS: ETRD, EINV, ECON, NI SUBJECT: NIGERIA: POST PERSPECTIVE ON JUNE 24 TIFA COUNCIL REF: ABUJA 1606 1. Classified by CDA Andrews for reasons 1.5 (B) and (D). 2. (C) The Nigerian delegation to the June 24 Trade and Investment Framework Agreement Council in Washington will be headed by Minister of Commerce Engineer Mustafa Bello. The annual Council meeting provides an opportunity for senior level policy discussion and for both sides to take stock of major issues on the bilateral trade and investment agenda. However, GON preparedness may not be what we would hope. They may not yet have in mind specific goals or a plan of action they would like to see come from the meeting. To make the meeting as productive as possible, we should develop an agenda that includes general policy discussion as well as concrete steps that can be taken by both sides to advance bilateral trade and investment. We should maintain a careful balance between the issues we push on and what we can do to help them. 3. (C) We suggest that the U.S. delegation take this opportunity to encourage GON economic reform, especially tariff reduction and rationalization and exchange rate and monetary policies. We should thank the GON for their support of U.S. positions at multilateral fora including the Doha WTO meeting, and enlist their continued assistance on these and other issues such as those which may arise at the World Summit on Sustainable Development coming up in August in South Africa. We should push for movement on a number of outstanding issues including ratification of the OPIC and Open Skies agreements. 4. (C) Nigeria will not enact appropriate legislation for AGOA eligibility prior to this TIFA Council. We should use this meeting to reach final agreement on regulatory language for the AGOA visa regime, and encourage the GON to resolve the legislative roadblock on transshipment penalties that has kept Nigeria from enjoying full AGOA benefits. We should discuss agricultural and textile opportunities. While giving the GON recognition for progress made in instituting due process for capital projects, we should encourage the GON to exercise fiscal restraint and enter in a program with the IMF at the earliest opportunity. We also should encourage greater transparency in government contracting, including the petroleum sector. 5. (U) Below is the text of the Objectives of the Second TIFA Council meeting submitted by the Nigerian Ministry of Commerce. This is the only documentation we have received from the GON regarding the TIFA meeting. BEGIN TEXT: It is pertinent to recall that the overall objective of the TIFA is to develop further for both countries the international trade and economic interrelationship. This objective is to be achieved through: (1) Fostering an open and predictable environment for international trade and investment; (2) Mutual resolution of trade and investment problem between the two countries; (3) Removal of trade and investment barriers between our two countries; (4) Increased participation of both countries private economic operators in foreign direct investment; (5) Elimination of non-tariff barriers in order to facilitate great access to markets of both countries; (6) Providing adequate and effective protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights etc; The TIFA Council is essentially put in place to ensure full implementation of these objectives and the inaugural Session at Abuja addressed some of these issues. The focus of Washington meeting therefore, should be to: (1) Review the issues discussed at the inaugural Council and perhaps assess the extent of implementation; (2) Discuss issues still constituting impediments to unfettered and fair trade between our two countries and proffer solutions to them; (3) Discuss new strategies to increase US-Nigeria trade and investment flows; (4) Apprise the Council of Nigerian efforts at implementing AGOA; (5) Explore new areas of technical assistance in developing agriculture and empowerment of Nigerian women; (6) Cooperate in areas such as agriculture and Biotechnology and irrigation projects; (7) Seek further grant assistance from the US Trade Development Agency (TDA) and increased involvement of Overseas Private Sector Investment Corporation (OPIC) in Nigeria; (8) Further identify the funds which OPIC is making available to Africa, so as to enable Nigeria to take advantage of it (9) Create a forum for bilateral trade and investment discussions between the two countries business entrepreneurs that will be on the delegation; (10) Match potential Nigerian business partners with American investors through the US "Strategic Alliance programme"; (11) Seek Technical assistance in Bilateral and Multilateral Trade Negotiations (12) Apprise the Council of Nigerian Government of efforts at facilitating Trade etc. It is hoped the above will meet the request of the U.S. Government in firming up arrangements for the 2nd TIFA meeting. END TEXT. 6. (U) The Nigerian Delegation is: (1) Engr. Mustafa Bello, Honorable Minister of the Federal Ministry of Commerce and Leader of the Delegation; (2) Mr. E.I. Ogbile, Director of External Trade Department of the Federal Ministry of Commerce; (3) Alhaji Dogara Shehu, Special Assistant to the Honorable Minister of Commerce; (4) Mr. Y.F. Agah, Federal Ministry of Commerce; (5) Mr. Y.S. Labaran, Federal Ministry of Commerce; (6) Mr. David I. Adulugba, Nigerian Export Promotion Council; (7) Dr. Julius Bala, Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission; (8) Mr. A.I. Sole, Federal Ministry of Industries; (9) Mr. V.O.E. Adeoba, Federal Ministry of Finance 7. The Ministry of Commerce still wants private sector participation but they have not yet communicated to the Mission the members of this group. --------------------------------------------- Post-suggested Specific Action Items --------------------------------------------- 8. (C) General Policy Reform - The Importance of Fiscal Discipline The USG should stress the negative effect of excessive government spending on interest rates, inflation, private investment, and long-term growth. - Importance of Re-establishing a Program with the IMF The USG should emphasize the benefits to Nigeria of resuming a formal program with the IMF. Particularly useful is to describe the difficulties in debt rescheduling or reduction while Nigeria is not part of a program. - Exchange Rate Unification Again, we should stress the costs to their economy of maintaining the parallel exchange rate system. If numbers can be generated to represent the cost to the Nigerian economy of "round tripping," it would focus political attention on an issue that is usually ignored, or considered a perquisite for those officials Nigerians traveling with dollars purchased at the IFEM rate. - Transparency in Granting of Government Contracts The USG can use the information from Reftel on due process in capital projects to emphasize the positive benefit of reducing corruption. However, U.S. firms are getting the cold shoulder on a number of projects in a less than transparent process with NNPC contracts. 9. (C) AGOA - Regulation for Apparel and Textile Visas We should be ready to reach agreement on a final draft from the GON at the meeting. - Legislation for Transshipment Penalties We should ask that the Nigerian government put pressure on the National Assembly to pass legislation increasing penalties for transshipment immediately. This may require separating the current language from the Customs Excise Management Act (CEMA) where it has been attached. - Identification and Promotion of Niche Market Products The Council should review progress on identified products (gum arabic, ginger, prawns) and efforts to identify new ones. - Export Shipment Alternatives Pending Reform of Ports - The GON should look at the window of opportunity for direct foreign investment in AGOA apparel and textiles. Can the industry wait for port reform and rehabilitation? Discuss alternatives such as special Export Processing Zones (EPZ) or shipment through neighboring ports. - Leather and Footwear What is the potential for this industry and how should the GON attract investment? 10. (SBU) Follow Up on US-Nigerian Agreements - Open Skies - OPIC 11. (C) USG Assistance for Capacity Building in Trade and Investment - USAID-sponsored Capacity Building Programs - Other Initiatives 12. (SBU) Cash Calls and Any Other Outstanding Oil-sector Issues 13. (SBU) Recognition of Nigerian Economic Accomplishments - Successful privatization process Though the NITEL bidders were unable to complete their purchase when the world telecom market crumbled, the GON has maintained its commitment to privatization. Each privatization has faced political opposition, and the GON should be commended for keeping with the program despite considerable pressure to keep many items off the auction block. - Restructuring of Telecom Sector and GSM Success GSM telephones more than doubled Nigeria's telephone capacity in less than six months. The work of the NCC has made possible the near-term renovation of the sector and created the largest market for direct investment outside the oil sector. - Partial Deregulation of the Downstream Oil Sector Note the success of the partial deregulation of the downstream oil sector in increasing supplies of gasoline throughout the country and how that availability is an important democracy dividend. ANDREWS
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