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India-Nigeria Joint Trade Committee Meeting Paves the Way for Enhanced Economic Cooperation

Abuja: A significant stride towards bolstering economic ties between India and Nigeria was made as a seven-member delegation from India, led by Additional Secretary, Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Amardeep Singh Bhatia, held a Joint Trade Committee (JTC) meeting with their Nigerian counterparts in Abuja from April 29 to April 30, 2024.

The JTC, co-chaired by Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Industry Trade and Investment, Nigeria, Ambassador Nura Abba Rimi, and Additional Secretary, Department of Commerce, India, engaged in a comprehensive dialogue aimed at reviewing recent developments in bilateral trade and investment ties. Acknowledging the vast untapped potential for further expansion, both sides identified several areas of focus to enhance bilateral trade and mutually beneficial investments.

Key sectors of cooperation highlighted during the meeting included crude oil and natural gas, pharmaceuticals, Unified Payments Interface (UPI), local currency settlement system, power sector and renewable energy, agriculture and food processing, education, transport, railway, aviation, MSMEs, and development, among others. Both sides expressed commitment towards the early conclusion of a Local Currency Settlement System Agreement to strengthen bilateral economic ties.

The official delegation from India included representatives from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), EXIM Bank of India, and the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI). The discussions, held in a cordial and friendly atmosphere, were marked by enthusiastic responses towards greater cooperation, addressing pending issues, boosting trade and investment, and fostering greater people-to-people contacts.

In a concerted effort to bolster bilateral trade, both sides committed to expeditiously address all issues impeding bilateral trade and facilitate trade promotion between the two nations. A business delegation led by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) also accompanied the official delegation, comprising representatives from various sectors such as power, fintech, telecommunications, electrical machinery, and pharmaceuticals.

The deliberations of the 2nd Session of the India-Nigeria JTC were characterized by a forward-looking approach, indicative of the amicable and special relations between the two countries. Nigeria remains a major partner and the second-largest trading partner of India in the African region. Bilateral trade between India and Nigeria stood at USD 11.8 billion in 2022-23, with approximately 135 Indian companies actively engaged in Nigeria’s vibrant market, reflecting the depth and breadth of economic cooperation between the two nations.

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