Trade relations between Nigeria and the United Kingdom have reached £7bn, British High Commissioner to Nigeria Richard Montgomery said on Sunday.

In an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, Montgomery announced that the two nations have signed a new agreement on enhanced trade and investment partnership.

The agreement aims to boost cooperation in key sectors such as agriculture, creative industries, legal services, financial services, and education.

The UK currently exports around £4bn worth of goods and services to Nigeria, while Nigeria’s exports to the UK stand at approximately £3bn.

The British envoy said the new agreement is expected to increase trade volumes and strengthen economic ties between the two nations.

“Trading by both countries is relatively balanced because the UK exports about £4bn worth of goods and services to Nigeria while Nigeria exports to the UK about £3bn worth of goods,” he said.

“We need to do more because if you look at last year’s figure compared to the penultimate, there was not much of an increase in trade volume. It was an increase of about two per cent.

“So trade in the last few years has changed. And the aim of our enhanced Trade and Investment Partnership is to boost trade and investment between both countries and also to raise these numbers,” he explained.

According to him, Nigeria can benefit and take advantage of a new post-Brexit trading agreement that the UK has put in place that is called the Developing Countries Trading Scheme (DCTS).

Montgomery noted that DCTS is one of the world’s most generous schemes, removing tariffs on thousands of products worldwide to facilitate free trade.

The envoy added that Nigeria has at least 3,000 tariff-free products that it could export to the UK. “In agricultural exports, Nigeria can export cashew, cotton, or cocoa from the middle belt.”

He stated, “There are lots of commercial farmers involved in vegetables, which can be processed, and there is also timber. And we think that there’s a big potential for commercial agriculture in the future in Nigeria.

“You have the land, you have the people. The new trading scheme should be an opportunity for Nigeria. We can do more in financial and legal services.”
Montgomery revealed that new technologies are entering the financial services sector which will greatly improve the sector.

Further, he expressed optimism that the UK will increase trade with Nigeria, citing the country’s bold reforms.

Montgomery praised the Nigerian government’s removal of the “crippling fuel subsidy,” efforts to tackle oil theft, and foreign exchange reforms.

He noted that the previous foreign exchange system had deterred investors due to difficulties in accessing and transferring funds across borders.