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Cutting ties with Taiwan means total collapse of motoring in Nigeria—Auto traders

The controversy trailing whether Nigeria actually severed ties with Taiwan on grounds of China’s loan condition has attracted comments from leading trading moguls at the Auto Spare parts & Machinery Dealers Association (ASPMDA), Lagos International trade fair complex.

Barring their minds during a visit by Business Hilights reporters’ weekend, majority of them said there is no comparison between Chinese and Taiwanese auto spare parts.

They all agreed that whereas Chinese parts are cheap, Taiwanese products are durable and the best in quality even though they are costly.

Commenting further, the current PRO of ASPMDA, Prince Tony Omeh said “Chinese auto products are cheap but hardly last the test of time like Taiwanese”.

“I want to tell the government that if they want every Nigerian car owner to abandon his or her car and be trekking, let them severe relations with Taiwan because if Nigeria want to rely on Chinese spare parts, motoring in Nigeria will begin to drop over frustrations in using Chinese auto parts.

A former President of ASPMDA, Chief Jossy Egwuatu said “Government should not think of severing ties with Taiwan no matter the amount of interest-free loans they want to give Nigeria”.

“China has a way of first killing areas of your strength before they unleash business terror on your economy.

They have done it to us in Candle industry. Recall that before China jerked up the price of candle in the market, it first crashed the price of candle to N50 and that forced local manufacturers to close shops. When China noticed that all local producers of candle are down, they shut the price to a record high as today, a stick of candle in Nigeria is not less than N100.

He therefore advised the federal government to study whatever that is coming relatively free from China as the end is always bitter.

However, the Presidency has dismissed what it called ‘incorrect media reports’ to the effect that Nigeria has cut ties with Taiwan.

“The correct position is that the official relationship between Nigeria and Taiwan has been at the level of trade representation and this has not changed from what it used to be.

“Taiwan trade office is the only Taiwanese representation in Nigeria and Nigeria’s trade office in Taipei is our only representation in Taiwan.

“Nigeria recognises and will sustain the “One China” policy and nothing has happened so far to change that level of relationship,” the statement by Garba Shehu, senior special assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari said.

Nigeria’s reaction followed complaints from Taipei  to a Nigerian request to the island to relocate its representative office in Abuja to Lagos, a request Taiwan sees as more pressure by China to isolate it.

Beijing regards Taiwan as a renegade province, ineligible for state-to-state relations, and to be taken back by force if necessary, especially if it makes moves toward independence.

Currently, Taiwan has no diplomatic ties with Nigeria, but has an office for handling business affairs in the Nigerian capital.  The Chinese had mentioned in diplomatic circles that the office was running as a full-fledged embassy, issuing visas among other things and actually being called an ‘Embassy of the Republic of China’.

Penultimate Wednesday, Nigerian officials asked Taipei to move its office from Abuja to its former capital, Lagos.

In a swift reaction, Taiwan called on Nigeria to consider the issues as both sides have an understanding based on reciprocity, under which Nigeria runs a trade office in Taiwan’s capital, Taipei.

“The foreign ministry urges Nigeria to leave room for discussion,” Taiwan’s ministry said in a statement, referring to the request to move the trade office.

“The foreign ministry seriously objects and condemns the unreasonable actions by the Nigerian government,” it said.

Nigerian officials met their Chinese counterparts in Abuja on Wednesday and pledged to stick to Beijing’s “one China” policy, that Taiwan is a part of China, media reported.

Taiwan has 21 formal allies, only two in Africa. Last month, former African ally Sao Tome switched its diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China.

In countries with which Taiwan has no formal diplomatic relations it often sets up trade and commerce offices, in capitals and major cities.