Nigeria and China yesterday agreed to explore making Nigeria a major manufacturing hub for China's key industrial enterprises according to the Director, Chongqing Liangjing New Area, China.
Mr. Weng Jieming, in a statement from Mrs. Yemi Kolapo Special Adeviser, Corporate Communications to the Minister of Trade & Investment Olusegun Aganga said Chongqing has five key industries, including automobiles and motorcycles, petroleum and natural gas, equipment manufacture, new materials and high-tech industry, which had key investments in many countries of the world.
He said, apart from encouraging companies in Chongqing to export their goods to Nigeria, the government would also "support the companies, especially in the motorcycle and automobiles industry, to make direct investments in Nigeria for local production."
He said this yesterday when the Minister of Trade, Olusegun Aganga, visited Chongqing, the largest and most important industrial city at the upper reaches of Yangtze River and Southwest China. It consists of China's major Free Trade Zones, which contribute about 20 per cent of the nation's Gross Domestic Product.
Jieming noted that the largest investments in Ghana were made by companies from Chongqing, adding that fostering such a relationship with Nigeria would be beneficial to both countries.
Nigeria's trade and investment minister had said, during a meeting with his counterpart at the Ministry of Commerce, China, Mr. Fu Ziying, that making Nigeria a major manufacturing zone for most of China's products would go a long way in correcting the trade imbalance between the two countries and creating jobs for Nigerians.
Aganga said the availability of raw materials and a ready market in Nigeria for "quality" Chinese products would make the deal a win-win situation for both countries.
He urged Chinese companies, to invest in critical infrastructure in Nigeria, noting that local industries in Nigeria would also benefit from the improved business environment that would result from sound infrastructure.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government and the Chinese government have agreed to ensure that the Lekki Free Trade Zone commences full operation in 18 months.
The President, China Railway Construction Corporation Limited, Mr. Zhao Guangfa, during a meeting with Aganga on Tuesday night, urged the Federal Government to remove the bottlenecks hindering the progress of the Lekki Free Trade Zone project, noting that such projects initiated at about the same time in other countries had been completed.
Consequently, a committee, made up of representatives of the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment, the Lagos State Ministry of Commerce and CRCC, was constituted to review the underlying problems and resolve the issues with a view to completing the project between 12 and 18 months.
Related stories: Video - Nigeria and China strengthen ties