Joe Biden government has suspended Ethiopia from African Growth and Opportunity Agreement (AGOA). Reportedly on Thursday, US government officially terminated US Ethiopia AGOA trade concessions agreement. Under this agreement, some Ethiopian exports to US, especially textile products, had duty free access to American markets.
At the start of November 2021, Joe Biden government warned Ethiopia, Mali and Guinea that the 3 countries would cease to be part of AGOA from 1st January 2022 if they did not improve their human rights situation.
According to US government Ethiopia, Mali and Guinea do not meet AGOA criteria, as set out in section 506A(a)(1) of the Trade Act of 1974. US has been warning Ethiopian government against human rights abuses in Tigray and other parts of Ethiopia.
Ethiopian government has been accusing US of backing Tigray People’s Liberation Front and it says that the US wants to pressurise Ethiopian government by removing it from AGOA.
Economists say that Ethiopian economy is already under stress and removal of AGOA will strike a blow to the economy. Ethiopian government did some lobbying in the US to stop AGOA suspension. Some US law makers issued statement against termination AGOA in recent days. Senator Jim Infohoe, Karen Bass and Sheila Jackson Lee openly opposed Ethiopia’s suspension from AGOA in their statement in recent days.
Since the start of Tigray conflict in November 2020, US-Ethiopia relations have deteriorated. US accuses Ethiopian and Eritrean government of human rights abuses in Tigray region while Ethiopian government says that the US and the west are interfering in Ethiopian internal matters.