The US-Nigeria Trade Council has urged Foreign Affairs Ministry and the United States Secretary of States to expand U.S. Visa validity period from two to ten years.
Reviewing the recent visit of President Muhammadu Buhari to the United States, the Council advised the United States and Nigeria to focus less on the politics of the visit “but rather drive explicit policies to lower the barriers of trade and promote economic inclusion on both sides.
The Council explained that the two years Visa policy has “led to long wait times for US visa and sometimes business opportunities are lost.”
As with other non-immigrant U.S. visas, a B-1/B-2 visa has a maximum validity period of two years and allows for one or multiple entries into the United States from Nigeria.
The Council in a statement issued by President/CEO, Titus Olowokere and Director, Marketing & Communication, Sennami Goziem said: “We call upon the Foreign Affairs Ministry as well as the US Secretary of States to expand this to 10 years. Currently US visas issued from Australia has validity period of 5 years; France 10 years, Kenya 5 years and little-known Kyrgyzstan-5 years”.
Making reference to E1 and E2 Treaty Visa, the Council advised Nigerian government to sign a trade treaty with the United States to take bilateral advantage of the E1 (Nonimmigrant Treaty Traders) and E2 (Nonimmigrant Treaty Investors) visa program.
“With the E1 / E2 treaty visa category, the U.S. welcomes those who perform a great deal of trade or investment in the United States and create value for the American economy through job creation and business growth. This is less complicated than the more known EB5 immigrant investor (green card) program.
“An E1 Treaty Trader Visa holder can remain indefinitely within the USA for as long as he or she fulfils the conditions required by this visa. Several Nigerians, by their investment and trade in the United States qualify for this simple visa category.
“However, applicants must be a national of a treaty country and a requisite treaty for commerce and friendship must exist between the two countries to promote business and stimulate the economy. Unfortunately, no such trade treaty exists between Nigerian and the United States.
“Countries that have trade benefits from this visa category include Argentina, Togo, Liberia, Ethiopia, Congo, Morocco, Senegal, Egypt, Jamaica and Cameroon. It is vital that Nigeria and the United States sign such trade treaty.
“We commend both the Presidents of the United States and President Buhari of Nigeria for giving priority to infrastructure development particularly in Nigeria where there is currently an infrastructure deficit.
“The allocation of 30% to capital expenditure in the three Nigerian budgets of 2016, 2017 and 2018 is a step in the right direction. With their understanding of the value of infrastructure, President Buhari should use his visit to White House to make a case for attracting more FDI /partnerships with the U.S on infrastructure
”Nigeria is one of America’s largest trading partners. However, most of US imports are made up mainly of crude oil. Stripping out the oil, the U.S. would have a huge trade surplus. To revitalize the Nigerian economy and create jobs, the US-Nigeria Trade Council emphasizes the need to export more non-oil products to the U.S. The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) must be retained and strengthened to facilitate the access of African exporters to the U.S. market.
“Also, Nigeria must be recognized as a valuable trade partner and preferred source of agricultural and solid mineral raw materials and semi-finished materials to help support United states processing plants
“As part of the drive to maximize the benefits of the recent visit of the President Muhammadu Buhari to the United States, the 2nd US-Nigeria Agribusiness (Non-Oil) Investment Summit & Expo has been scheduled for November 8-10, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. USA. 3
“This is an annual high-level expo of agribusiness ecosystem across Nigeria and the United States of America with a focus on agriculture and value addition of the two Countries. The Summit aims to consolidate the gains that have been made in Nigeria’s agriculture environment, and at the same time, to provide solutions to the challenges that bedevil agricultural production, post-harvest management, value addition and market access in the country.
“It will be a unique opportunity to explore and expand the international presence for our agribusiness products and services, to introduce delegates to unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technologies (drones) that will make farming more cost effective, and productive for Nigeria farming environment.
”Participants from Nigeria will be exposed to advanced Agro-biotechnologies and data-driven, modern, large-scale farming solutions in USA, and discover global agriculture funding options available in US to farming projects in Africa”.