…trade talks stalled
…Chinese interference suspected
Nigeria may have openly decided to shut the door of enhanced trading with Japan as the country’s Trade Minister, Okechukwu Enelamah has refused to meet the Japanese Ambassador to Nigeria, Ambassador Yutaka Kikuta,
This is coming amidst allegation of state capture of Abuja by Chinese commercial interest.
Chinese heavy investments and loans to the Nigerian state is alleged to have compromised top Nigerian officials in their trade dealings with countries percieved as Chinese rivals such as Japan and South Korea.
Very reliable source hinted that the minister has since February this year ignored request for a courtesy visit and trade talk from the Japanese embassy. Japan it would be recalled is the third largest economy in the world.
Nigeria Trade Minister not only refused to meet the Ambassador but has also downplayed the all important trade talk between Nigeria and Japan to establish a trade agreement between the two countries. Nigeria as atoday has no trade pact with Japan.
It was learnt that the trade talk between the two countries is downgraded from ministerial to the agency level such that the the Investment Promotion Agency is the parastatal hosting trade talks for the country.
As if that humiliation for Japan is not much, reports also confirmed that during such talks at agency level, the Japanese team is expressly giving red lines and no go areas within the Nigerian economy, a move said be a deliberate ploy to ensure that the trade talks fail.
While reasons for the minister’s action is not immediately known,checks showed that the diplomatic snub may not be unconnected to the rumoured Chinese influence on Abuja and her top officials.
Nigeria had recently inked a currency swap with China in addition to Chinese multi-billion dollar infrastructure loans to Nigeria.
The Japanese embassy in Nigeria is keeping sealed lips on the increasingly strained relationship. Efforts to get the reaction of the minister proved abortive.