Breaking: US gives Ethiopia ultimatum to access AGOA privileges

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Picture: Industrial Parks Development Corporation

Addis Abeba, November 02/2021 – U.S. President Joe Biden has informed the Congress of his decision to revoke Ethiopia’s AGOA privileges as of January 01/2022 and that he will continue “to assess whether the government [of Ethiopia is] making continual progress toward meeting the AGOA eligibility requirements.”

On August 25, US Trade Representative Katherine Tai held a virtual meeting with Mamo Mihretu, Ethiopia’s Senior Policy Advisor and Chief Trade Negotiator, and “raised the ongoing violations of internationally recognized human rights amid the ongoing conflict and humanitarian crisis in northern Ethiopia, which could affect Ethiopia’s future African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) eligibility if unaddressed.” 

Since then, however, Ethiopia has been campaigning to avoid revocation amidst growing concerns that the Biden Administration was preparing to remove Ethiopia from AGOA eligibility. “Today, the two most successful exporting industries under the AGOA, apparel and leather, employ about 200,000 people directly—80 percent of them young women. In Hawassa Industrial Park alone, 95 percent of the employees are women, providing in many cases the first-ever jobs for young families,” Mamo wrote on Foreign Policy Magazine. 

Regardless, the Biden administration has today passed a decision to revoke Ethiopia’s AGOA eligilility. Guinea and Mali are the other Sub Saharan states whose access to AGOA has been revoked alongside Ethiopia.  

Full Statement  of President Biden 

A Message to the Congress on the Termination of the Designation of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (Ethiopia), the Republic of Guinea (Guinea), and the Republic of Mali (Mali) as beneficiary sub-Saharan African countries under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA)

TO THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES:

In accordance with section 506A(a)(3)(B) of the Trade Act of 1974, as amended (19 U.S.C. 2466a (a)(3)(B)), I am providing advance notification of my intent to terminate the designation of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (Ethiopia), the Republic of Guinea (Guinea), and the Republic of Mali (Mali) as beneficiary sub-Saharan African countries under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

I am taking this step as Ethiopia, Guinea, and Mali are not in compliance with the eligibility requirements of section 104 of the AGOA — in Ethiopia, for gross violations of internationally recognized human rights; in Guinea, for not having established, or not making continual progress toward establishing, the protection of the rule of law and of political pluralism; and in Mali, for not having established, or not making continual progress toward establishing, the protection of the rule of law, political pluralism, and internationally recognized worker rights, and for not addressing gross violations of internationally recognized human rights. 

Despite intensive engagement between the United States and the Governments of Ethiopia, Guinea, and Mali, these governments have failed to address United States concerns about their non-compliance with the AGOA eligibility criteria.

Accordingly, I intend to terminate the designation of Ethiopia, Guinea, and Mali as beneficiary sub-Saharan African countries under the AGOA as of January 1, 2022.  I will continue to assess whether the Governments of Ethiopia, Guinea, and Mali are making continual progress toward meeting the AGOA eligibility requirements. Dispatch



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