APPAREL AND LEATHER EXPORT: A Potential Market for Nigeria

Joyce Akpata, Director-General, NACC Presenting Certificate to Participant
1st Row: Right: Joyce Apata, Middle: Christina Alabi,  Left: Emmanuel Odonkor. 2nd Row – Left: Anthony Adesina, Middle – Abubakar M. Isah (with a cap) and next – Mohammed Abou iiana.

Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce (NACC) on October 19th and 20th 2017 organized a 2-Day Masterclass on Apparel and Leather export. The 2-Day training was held at First Business Alliance (FBA Suites), Victoria Island, Lagos. The Event had in attendance Micro Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (MSMEs), infant exporters, investors, existing exporters and stakeholders in the apparel and leather export value chain.

The workshop which was facilitated by high profiled skilled practitioners in the apparel and leather export business focused on; Understanding the Apparel and Leather value chain, Niche versus General markets, Developing a Functional Standard Operating Procedure, Sourcing, Value Addition and HTS Codes, Financing Apparel and Leather Export Trade, Accessing the United States Market, Migrating from Tailoring to Manufacturing, Quality and Standards: Social and Environmental Compliance, Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP) Certifications, International Best Practices, Pricing, Participating in Trade Fairs and Step-by-Step guide to Exporting Apparel and Leather Goods.

In attendance for the training amongst facilitators were Emmanuel Odonkor, Apparel Value Chain Specialist, West Africa Trade and Investment Hub; Dr. Mohammed Abou iiana, Senior AGOA Specialist, West Africa Trade and Investment Hub; Anthony Adesina, Director- Membership and Events and AGOA Trade Resource Centre Coordinator; Abubakar M. Isah, CEO, As-Sadiq Global Investment Limited and Christiana Talabi, Reporter/Editor, Nigeria Packaging.

Facilitators took sessions to educate and interact with participants on the focus for the training, examined their products in physical form and proffered techniques to prepare them for the export market. They were encouraged to take advantage of the African Growth and opportunity Act (AGOA).

AGOA accords duty-free access for eligible products to the largest single market in the world. It also provides beneficiary countries with a significant competitive advantage over non-AGOA countries that must pay normal tariff rates to enter the United States. This is particularly true with respect to products that have high U.S. tariff rates in many instances, such as apparel, footwear and agricultural products.

Nigeria has benefited from AGOA but mostly for the export of crude oil to the United States. Emmanuel stated that the country having high Human Capital with robust creativity must wake up to take advantage of the benefits provided.

Although AGOA has had success in helping many African countries to diversify exports portfolio, Nigeria needs to wake up to the huge potentials it offers to the Apparel and Leather market. According to the US Imports of Apparel under AGOA by Rule of Origin Category, Kenya has the most import with $329,836,000 in value for February 2017 with Nigeria not appearing on the list. Furthermore, in a 2016 exports of Leather and Allied products to the United States report, Nigeria had traded about $436,000 in leather and allied products, while countries such as Ethiopia and South Africa traded in Millions of Dollars.

It is Imperative that Nigeria develop and implement standards and measures to utilize the potentials AGOA offers, while we still enjoy access to the ACT.