Canada has shown interest in increasing both bilateral and multilateral cooperation with Nigeria, and subsequently increase the volume of trade with the country.
Addressing the media in Abuja earlier in the week to mark Canada’s independence from the British on July 1, 1867, the Acting High Commissioner of Canada to Nigeria, Nicolas Simard, said: “We look forward to broadening and deepening our cooperation with Nigeria, both bilaterally and multilaterally.”
Nigeria presently stands as the second largest trade partner of Canada on the African continent, exceeded only by South Africa.
The Canadian High Commissioner said: “Nigeria is Canada’s second most important partner in sub-Saharan Africa.
“Nigeria is an important partner for Canada. Our bilateral relationship is multifaceted and growing stronger each year, through our longstanding cooperation across trade, development, diplomacy, education, and security.”
On the volume of trade with Nigeria, Simard said as per year-to-date data from statistics, the total merchandise trade between Canada and Nigeria is estimated to be $1.4 billion (Canadian dollar, CAD), with Canadian merchandise imports from Nigeria accounting for more $411 million (CAD) and Canadian exports to Nigeria at more than $539 million (CAD).
He disclosed that the main sources of imports from Nigeria consisted of minerals (mineral fuels, oil and bituminous subs), vegetable products (oil seeds, grains, fruits and nuts) and processed food, while Canada continued to export a wide range of products to Nigeria, including vehicles and equipment, wheat, manufacturing equipment, aircrafts, vessels and cars.
Simard said despite the uncertain economic conditions, the volume of trade between Canada and Nigeria remained stable and slightly outpaced the total volume of trade in 2019 – estimated as $801illion (CAD).
The High Commissioner also disclosed that Canada’s top trade partners in Africa include South Africa, Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire, Botswana and Ghana.
He said in 2019, bilateral merchandise trade with Nigeria totalled $800.26 million, with the decrease from the previous year largely due to a significant decline in Canadian imports from Nigeria.
He said: “Notwithstanding, Nigeria still maintains its position as Canada’s second largest bilateral merchandise trading partner in sub-Saharan Africa – following South Africa ($1.383 billion) and followed by Côte d’Ivoire ($604 million), Botswana ($544.88 million) and Ghana ($358.84).”
The High Commissioner said Canada is waiting on the Nigerian National Assembly to breathe life into the machinery that will increase Canadian investment in Nigeria.
According to him, “A bilateral Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA) with Nigeria would be instrumental to facilitating further Canadian investment and commercial activity in Nigeria and deepening trade relations between both countries.
“Although the governments of Canada and Nigeria jointly signed a FIPA in 2014, the Parliament of Canada ratified the agreement, but the Nigerian National Assembly is yet to do so and seeks for the agreement to be renegotiated.”