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News: “Misguided” U.S. plan to suspended AGOA privileges affects 200.000 low-income families: Ethiopia

Women workers at Industrial Park.
Picture: Industrial Parks Development Corporation

Addis Abeba, November 21/2021 – The Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said laments upcoming decision by the U.S. to remove Ethiopia from AGOA privileges “misguided and fails to take into account the commitment of the Government of the United States to value the wellbeing of ordinary citizens.” It will also affect “the livelihoods of more than 200.000 low-income families mostly, women who have got nothing to do with the conflict.”

The statement came a day after the 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.”

It picked momentum after US Trade Representative Katherine Tai first 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.” 

Ethiopia said it “understands the human rights concerns of the United States Government over the ongoing conflict in northern Ethiopia,” but it believes 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).”

Full Statement

The Government of Ethiopia understands the human rights concerns of the United States Government over the ongoing conflict in northern Ethiopia. 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). The decision is misguided and fails to take into account the commitment of the Government of the United States to value the wellbeing of ordinary citizens.

The Government of Ethiopia understands the human rights concerns of the United States Government over the ongoing conflict in northern Ethiopia. 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). The decision is misguided and fails to take into account the commitment of the Government of the United States to value the wellbeing of ordinary citizens.

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 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. 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.

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.”

MoFA

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 Federal 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. Accordingly, punitive measures were taken over perpetrators of atrocities.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. 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. MOFA

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