By Damilola Oyedele
Crude oil exports from Nigeria to the United States rose to $34 billion in the year 2011; from $31 billion and $19 billion in 2010 and 2009 respectively.
Within the same period, the figures for non-oil export rose from $101 million in 2009 to $115 million and $150 million in 2010 and 2011 respectively.
These figures were presented by the Economic Counsellor of the US Embassy, Mr. Perry Ball, at a recent media briefing held in Abuja.
He also added that the success of the amnesty programme of late President Yar'Adua was responsible for the rise after production dropped due to the restiveness in the Niger Delta region.
He added that the global economic downturn accompanied by drop in oil prices caused the oil export figures to drop from $35 billion in 2008 to $19 billion in 2009.
Briefing on the benefits of African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) for Nigerian businesses, Ball advocated that small and medium business owners can liaise with big companies in Nigeria or in the US to participate in exports to the US especially for non oil exports.
The benefits of AGOA, he outlined, include the provision of duty free treatment for 1,800 products in addition to the standard 4,600 products available to non-AGOA countries.
Exports from sub-Saharan Africa in 2011 amounted to $74.2 billion, he said with Nigeria topping the list with $33.7 billion mainly from crude oil sales and Chad at the bottom of the list with $3.1 billion also from crude oil sales.
It also provides an additional preference in the form of duty free/quota free access for apparel made from fabric originating anywhere in the world under a special rule for lesser developed beneficiary countries with per capita GNP of under $1,500.
Ball disclosed that over 300,000 jobs have been created in Africa since the creation of AGOA in 2000; many of these jobs for women in the textile industry. It has also encouraged the export of non mineral products to the US, he added.
Since its enactment, two-way trade under AGOA has grown to $82.1 billion in 2010 and AGOA exports to United States have increased to $44.3 billion.
The official annual AGOA Forum which would hold in Washington in June, 2012 would bring together senior US administration officials, African government ministers as well as US and African businesses and civil society stakeholders from AGOA eligible countries.