AfCFTA, Dumping and Enforcement of Rules of Origin: Issues for Legislative Intervention
The recent launching of AfCFTA holds promise for the economic development of Nigeria and other AU member states. Despite the projected gains from the intra-Africa free trade, dumping is a key downside of AfCFTA, especially for Nigeria being the biggest economy in Africa. Dumping has an adverse effect on Nigeria’s domestic economy by crippling domestic manufacturing capacity and ultimately, worsening unemployment and balance of payment position. To corroborate this worrisome development, The recent Report of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS, February 2021 Report) shows a rising deficit in manufactured goods trade between Q4 2019 and Q4 2020. To reverse this trend, the enforcement of the rules of origin is considered the game-changer for Nigeria to maximize the gains from AfCFTA. Otherwise, the failure to enforce the rules of origin will inadvertently consign Nigeria as a dumping ground with adverse socio-economic consequences following. Though the Federal Government through the National Action Committee on AfCFTA has given the assurance that efforts are ongoing to establish a Trade Remedies Authority to enforce the rules of origin, this Analysis Report is warranted as it draws the attention of the National Assembly to this development and ultimately to galvanize the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Investment to expedite action in enforcing the rules of origin as enshrined in the AfCFTA Protocol on Trade in Goods. Arising from the analysis, the following recommendations have been advanced for consideration by the National Assembly. i. The National Assembly may consider summoning the National Action Committee for AfCFTA in order to elicit update on the status of the establishment of a Trade Remedies Authority to enforce the rules of origin. ii. The National Assembly may also consider intensifying its legislative oversight on the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Investment in the light of Nigeria’s benefit from AfCFTA. iii. The National Assembly may consider a quarterly update from the National Action Committee on AfCFTA. This is warranted in order to safeguard the welfare of Nigerians as provided in Section 14 (4b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999.