Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has said that its trade volume with Nigeria in 2017 hit $7.7 billion. The body of 10 nations, has only five Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippine, Vietnam and Thailand represented in Nigeria. The Malaysia High Commissioner-designate to Nigerian, Gloria Tiwet, spoke in Abuja when she led Heads of missions of Embassies and High Commissioners of ASIAN member-states on a visit to Foreign Affairs Minister, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama.
She said the ASEAN envoys were in the ministry to intimate the minister on ASEAN Day and Film Festival scheduled to hold between Wednesday and Friday in Abuja. Tiwet said “in 2017, the trade volume between ASEAN and Nigeria amounted to 7.7 billion dollars. That is very promising and portrayed good relations between our countries and Nigeria. “Trade is one area that we looked into to strengthen our bilateral relations, and respectively, we represent our countries here as ambassadors and high commissioners to strengthen our bilateral relations as much as we can do.”
The envoy explained that the film festival was to strengthen relations between Nigeria and ASEAN. `The film show is to promote to Nigeria and strengthen our bilateral relations in the area of culture as we tend to know each other better. “The films are all in our respective languages, with sub-titles in English through which we get to know ourselves better,” she said. In his remarks, Indonesian Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Harry Purwanto, said that the objective of ASEAN Day was to make ASEAN more feasible in Nigeria He noted that there were many commonalities between Nigerian and ASEAN countries. “It is also to promote culture, and we also recognise the role of Nollywood in the country. We recognise that Nigerians like film and tried to introduce our culture through films to the people of Nigerian.
“We can also try to raise awareness and through culture, we can develop into some other cooperation and many other things in the future,” he said. In his response, Onyeama said that the bilateral relations between Nigeria and ASEAN focused on trade, but had assumed another dimension of promoting culture. “We are very delighted that the relations we have with ASEAN nations has until now been on commercial basis, but now, culture is being introduced into it. This will enhance the bilateral relations between Nigeria and ASEAN countries. It is very good to diversify our relations because we have so many commonalities,” he said.