Ethiopia asks US to reinstate AGOA trade benefits as Blinken heads to Addis, Niger

By Julian Pecquet, in Washington

Posted on Friday, 10 March 2023 12:12
A view shows trucks queuing with sacks of grains at the grain market in Merkato neighbourhood of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, November 30, 2021. Picture taken November 30, 2021. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri

Ethiopia is asking the Joe Biden administration to reinstate its duty-free access to the US market, arguing that “exceptional circumstances” warrant an immediate re-examination of its suspension just as Secretary of State Antony Blinken heads to Addis Ababa to discuss the cessation of hostilities in Tigray.

The Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) terminated Ethiopia’s participation in the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) program effective 1 January 2022, accusing Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government of “gross violations” of human rights. In a 3 March letter to USTR chief Katherine Tai, Ethiopia’s US lobby firm argues that the country has addressed US concerns through its November peace deal with the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and deserves to be let back in.