NIGERIA – Nigeria’s imports from China in the second and third quarter of 2019, (April to September) stood at US$6.08 billion (N2.2tn); data obtained from the National Bureau of Statistics has shown.

The country imported Chinese goods worth US$2.82 billion (N1.02tn) in the second quarter, representing 25.47 per cent of total imports and in the third quarter, imported Chinese goods valued at US$3.37 billion (N1.22tn) representing 31.34 per cent of total imports.

Imports from the United States of America were valued at US$1.17 billion (N422.1bn), representing 10.53 per cent of total imports.

Other trading partners – Netherlands, India and Belgium – accounted for imports valued at US$1.03 billion (N374.1bn) (or 9.33 per cent), US$897 billion (or 7.48 per cent) and US$688.24 billion (or 6.21 per cent) respectively.

According to data from the NBS, during the second quarter, Nigeria imported US$4.98 billion from Asia, representing 44.36 per cent of total imports.

Other imports originated from Europe (valued at US$3.93 billion or 35.51 per cent), Americas ( US$1.50 billion or 13.58 per cent), Africa (US$668.34 million or 6.03 per cent) and Oceania (US$57.24 million or 0.52 per cent).

The major products imported during the second quarter were machinery and transport equipment valued at US$4.7 billion (N1.7tn).

Other major imports during the quarter were mineral fuels, US$2.51 billion (N909.7bn) and chemical and related products, US$1.18 billion (N428.2bn).

China has continued to increase its exports to Nigeria and is now the nation’s biggest trading partner.

However, it is not on the list of the top 10 countries Nigeria was exporting its products to in the first half of 2019.

While China remains Nigeria’s biggest source of imports, India currently stands as the nation’s biggest export market.

Major items imported from China include natural rubber, motorcycles and others.

In April 2018, the Central Bank of Nigeria signed a Bilateral Currency Swap Agreement with the People’s Bank of China, a move that further enabled more trade to be done between the two countries.

By the end of 2018, the CBN disclosed that it had injected CNY669.66m in the foreign exchange market to support businesses trading with China.

Worried about the trend, experts had said if something was not done to correct the negative trade balance trajectory between Nigeria and China, the gap would continue to widen.

An export analyst and Chief Executive Officer, Multimix Group, Mr Obiora Madu, pointed out that China had commenced heavy export of services to Nigeria.

“Nigeria’s trade balance with China has been in the negative for years. Now, they have started exporting services to Nigeria. They are all over – construction, the new Dangote refinery, rail; you name it.”

He called on the Nigerian agency responsible for export matters to research and come up with a strategy to address the situation.

He said Nigeria had a lot of goods to export to China including agricultural products and hardwood but added that strategy was needed.

“We can even do without some of the items we are importing from China; we can produce them locally,” he said.