Culled from timesofindia.com
PAUL OHIA ABUJA: India has overtaken the US to become Nigeria's largest market for exports, according to the first quarter Trade Statistics released by the oil-rich African country's National Bureau of Statistics.
The moving of the US to the second position is seen as a major development for Nigerian and Indian trade relations, given that the US had remained the country's largest export market since 1964.
In a broader context, the NBS data also reveals that during the quarter, India-Nigeria bilateral trade reached USD 5.15 billion in the first quarter or within 0.5 per cent of the US which, for the moment, retains the top-spot.
NBS put the total value of Nigeria's exports in the first quarter of 2012 at about USD 30 billion, showing that exports to India reached USD 4.2 billion, compared to USD 3.7 billion credited to the US in the period under review.
Nigeria's export to India is mostly crude oil and cashew nuts while India exports pharmaceutica
l goods, machinery, electronics and rice.
The US was trailed by the Netherlands with USD 2.9 billion, followed by Spain with USD 2.4 billion and Brazil which recorded USD 2 billion.
High Commissioner to Nigeria Mahesh Sachdev said it is indicative of a trend of consistent robust growth.
"If this growth persists, India can be expected to emerge as Nigeria's largest trading partner in the next quarter. Interestingly, Nigeria was India's 14th largest trading partner last year." he added.
Sachdev said an important take-away from this data-set is the trade deficit of USD 3.7 billion that India had with Nigeria.
"This figure is obviously too high to be sustainable. Consequently, both sides need to ensure that more Indian products are imported into Nigeria so that the momentum of growth in bilateral trade can be maintained," he said.
This data, Sachdev said, is consistent with official Indian data which puts the bilateral trade in 2011 at USD 16.4 billion, with Indian exports to Nigeria at USD 2.6 billion (up 38 per cent annually) and India's imports from Nigeria at 13.728 billion (up 34 per cent annually).
He gave a figure from India's Department of Commerce for the financial year that ended June 12 2012 which shows the country's exports to Nigeria in the first quarter of 2012 increasing by nearly 4 per cent over previous quarter.
Sachdev pointed out that in recent weeks, India has permitted global unrestricted exports of agricultural products such as wheat, rice, sugar, milk powder and other goods which are needed by Nigeria.
He said he hoped Nigerian stake-holders would take steps to source these items from India as this would promote a more balanced bilateral trade.