Nigeria and China are set to form stronger ties as both countries after China agreed to explore making Nigeria a major manufacturing zone for China's key industrial enterprises, according to a report in Taiwan News.com.tw.
The report quoted Weng Jieming, the director of Chongqing Liangjing New Area, a multifaceted manufacturing industry, saying apart from encouraging Chongqing to export their goods to Nigeria, the government also has plans to “support the companies, especially in the motorcycle and automobiles industry, to make direct investments in Nigeria for local production.”
Chongqing has five key industries, including automobiles and motorcycles, petroleum and natural gas, equipment manufacture, new materials and high-tech industry, which have key investments in many countries in the world, according to the report, which cited Vanguard.
Minister of Trade and Investment, Dr. Olusegun Aganga, paid a visit to Chongqing, one of the major industrial cities in Southwest China and the site of China’s major Free Trade Zones, which contributes about 20% of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product.
In a meeting with his counterpart at the Ministry of Commerce, China, Fu Ziying, Aganga encouraged the collaboration between the two countries, saying it will correct the trading imbalance and create more job opportunities for Nigerians.
Aganga said that Nigeria provided both raw materials and a ready consumer base for Chinese goods, adding that the move was in line with President Jonathan's economic transformation plans for the country.
“It makes economic sense for Chinese companies to come and manufacture in Nigeria because Nigeria is strategic, it has the market and raw materials. We would also focus on backward integration so that other industries can spring up and the value chain strengthened,” Aganga was reported saying.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government and the Chinese government have agreed to ensure that the Lekki Free Trade Zone commences full operation in 18 months.
Guangfa, the president of China Railway Construction Corporation Limited, during a meeting with Aganga on Tuesday night, also asked that the FG remove hindrances to the progress of the Lekki Free Trade Zone project, adding that other countries had successfully completed similar projects.
A committee, made up of representatives of the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment, the Lagos State Ministry of Commerce and CRCC, has been asked to review the underlying project in order to see it completed between 12 and 18 months.