Ethiopia Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has requested for the country’s Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) ties with the United States to be restored.Speaking in a press conference in Addis Ababa, Meles Alem, Spokesman for Ethiopia Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), said the PM Abiy has oriented U.S. officials on the need for Ethiopia’s AGOA trade benefits to be restored.
Abiy made the request at the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit which concluded on Thursday,
The U.S. last year de-listed Ethiopia from AGOA, a trade legislation launched in May, 1999 that provides sub-Saharan African nations with duty-free access to the US market for 3,500 plus products if they meet a range of requirements including “respect for human rights and political pluralism,”.
The U.S. government at that time listed purported human rights violations in the northern Ethiopia war as the main reason for suspending Ethiopia’s AGOA benefits.
The AGOA de-listing took effect for 2022, with the U.S. government expected to make a decision before the end of 2022, on whether Ethiopia will be reinstated into AGOA in 2023.
Ethiopia earned $147.1 million from textile and garments sector exports alone to U.S. in 2013 Ethiopian Calendar under the AGOA scheme.
The Ethiopian government has generally been weary about disclosing the effects of Ethiopia’s suspension from AGOA, but trade unions say several thousand jobs have been lost already and several other thousand more jobs will be lost if Ethiopia’s suspension from the free trade pact continues into 2023.