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CONCEPT PAPER IMPACT OF FREE TRADE ZONES ON NIGERIA’S COASTAL STATES: CALABAR FREE TRADE ZONE AS A CASE STUDY This paper will explore the impact of Calabar free trade zone on the Cross River State environment. The study will attempt to unravel whether the free trade zone is able to fulfill the goal of its establishment such as attract direct foreign investment ; grow the economy of the state; create employment oppurtunities;accelerate the development of other sub sectors in the state amongst others.The paper will examine the possible barriers that has impeded the realization of the objective of the setting up of the free trade zone such as removing or eliminating bureaucratic bottle neck; customs delays; high taxes and tariffs; low turn around of vessels and lack of cargo aircrafts to the zone. The paper will examine the composition of investment portfolios in the zone coming in from America,Europe,Asia Pacific and other foreign investment to the zone.The paper will take a look on the most successful free trade in the zones in developing countries around the world and examine reasons for their success.

This will contribute to proffer solutions to the successful operation of the Calabar free trade zone. The primary research hypothesis is that the low performance of the Calabar free trade zone is a combination of factors which includes unfavorable legislation for the smooth operation of the zone; the low draft access channel to Calabar sea port and airport inability to take cargo aircraft have worked against the smooth operation of the zone.Since the establishment of the zone, the paper will examine how the zone has affected both import and export of good and services and foreign exchange generation both to the investors and the local population around the zone. The methodology this research will employ includes a review of secondary sources about free trade zones development in Nigeria and the world generally. There are about 3000 free trade zones in 116 countries including Calabar free trade zone as at 1999 according to Economy Watch Date: 30 June 2010. References Economy Watch 30th June 2010

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