US Decision to Terminate Ethiopia from AGOA Misguided, Affects Ordinary Citizens

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Addis Ababa November 3/2021 (ENA) Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that US decision to suspend Ethiopia’s privileges over the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) is misguided.

In its statement, the ministry said that the suspension of Ethiopia from AGOA eligibility fails to take into account the commitment of the Government of the United States to value the wellbeing of ordinary citizens.

US President Joe Biden on Tuesday provided advance notification of his intent to terminate the designation of the Ethiopia as beneficiary sub-Saharan African countries under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) related to the conflict in the northern part of the country, it was indicated.

Accordingly, the ministry responded to the termination that the government of Ethiopia understands the human rights concerns of the United States over the ongoing conflict in northern Ethiopia.

However, “we believe that such concerns over human rights issues do not warrant the decision of the US to suspend Ethiopia’s privileges over the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA),” said the ministry in its statement.

Removing the preferential agreement will affect the livelihoods of more than 200,000 low-income families, mostly, women who have got nothing to do with the conflict, it was indicated.

According to the statement, it will also considerably impair the lives of one million people who engage in the supply chain ecosystem.

What Ethiopians expect from the International community, and the US, in particular, at this time is an unbiased assessment of the critical situation and supply of the much-needed humanitarian support to affected people, the statement noted.

“Unjustified intimidation to jeopardize the economic livelihoods of innocent citizens, which we believe is propelled by the enemies of Ethiopia behind the scenes, will not give a peaceful resolution to the conflict.”

The statement added the Government of Ethiopia is deeply dismayed by the failure of the United States to properly acknowledge efforts made to address concerns on both the humanitarian aid and human rights issues in connection with the conflict.

Reducing security checkpoints from 7 to 2, among others, has shown our commitment to address the concerns of the International Community over some bureaucratic hurdles.

The government also supported the joint investigation by the UN Human Rights Office and the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) into alleged violations of human rights committed in Tigray.

The Government of Ethiopia has also been supportive of investigations over the issue by independent domestic institutions, the statement said.

Accordingly, punitive measures were taken over perpetrators of atrocities, it was stated.

The time calls for concerted efforts from all responsible bodies, both in Ethiopia and abroad, to mitigate the unprecedented challenges posed by the actions of the TPLF, the ministry urged.

It further  added Removing the duty-free arrangement will, by no means, ease up the problem.

“We, therefore, urge the United States Government to reverse its decision that may only embolden the terrorist group while endangering the aspirations of Ethiopians to extricate themselves out of poverty.”

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