The European Union (EU) has clarified that it did not ban the export of several agricultural products from Nigeria, as wrongly stated in a number of national newspapers.
Head of Trade and Economics Section of the European Union Delegation to Nigeria and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Filippo Amato, during the final national training on standards on code of practices for Nigerian agricultural products for exportation in Abuja with the theme: “Standard and Quality: Unleashing the Potential of Agricultural Products to grow the Non-oil Export in Nigeria,”organised in partnership with the Standards Organisation of Nigeria(SON).
While admitting that although it was true that there were a number of food products (such as melon seeds, dried meat, palm oil) imported from Nigeria that were sometimes rejected at the EU border because they were found to contain dangerous substances for human health, Amato said the import suspension measure adopted by the EU only concerned dried beans.
“The reason for the import suspension measure of dried beans is that since January 2013 more than 50 rejections have been recorded at the EU border in relation to this product originating from Nigeria, nearly all of them reporting the presence of the unauthorised pesticide dichlorvos at levels largely exceeding the acute reference dose tentatively established by the European Food Safety Authority,” he explained.
He said In order to allow the time necessary for Nigeria to provide feedback and to consider the appropriate risk management measures, the suspension of imports of dried beans applies until 30 June 2016,adding that Nigerian authorities must provide an export control plan to assure that the beans exported to the EU comply with the EU Minimal Risk Levels for Hazardous Substances.
Amato also said that the key to economic development is not protectionism, but a good mix of policy measures and reforms capable to increase the competitiveness of all sectors of the economy and consequently Nigeria’s trade relations with the rest of the world.
He argued that one tool that would considerably enhance trade relations, and increase the potential to diversify the exports from Nigeria to the EU, is the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the EU and ECOWAS.