Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA), Chair of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, on Wednesday, called on President Joseph R. Biden Jr. to extend Ethiopia’s AGOA termination deadline.
On November 2, President Biden announced its intent to suspend Ethiopia from AGOA by January 1, 2022, over human rights violations in the East African country.
But Bass said the suspension of AGOA “will reverse economic gains that have been hard won by the people of Ethiopia, American investors, and exacerbate the circumstances of the most vulnerable sectors of the population, including women and children.”
“I urge the Administration to allow time for all parties in Ethiopia to take the necessary steps to end this conflict, deploy humanitarian aid to those who need it, and continue negotiations to garner peace. The abrupt timeline of January 1, 2022, will adversely impact citizens without necessarily alternating the pace of progress,” she wrote.
On November 2, President Biden announced that he would be terminating AGOA trade agreement with Ethiopia, Guinea and Mali , three African nations, over human rights abuses and coups.
In a letter to the United States Congress, President Biden wrote, “In accordance with section 506A(a)(3)(B) of the Trade Act of 1974, as amended (19 U.S.C. 2466a (a)(3)(B)), I am providing advance notification of my intent to terminate the designation of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (Ethiopia), the Republic of Guinea (Guinea), and the Republic of Mali (Mali) as beneficiary sub-Saharan African countries under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).
“I am taking this step as Ethiopia, Guinea, and Mali are not in compliance with the eligibility requirements of section 104 of the AGOA — in Ethiopia, for gross violations of internationally recognized human rights; in Guinea, for not having established, or not making continual progress toward establishing, the protection of the rule of law and of political pluralism; and in Mali, for not having established, or not making continual progress toward establishing, the protection of the rule of law, political pluralism, and internationally recognized worker rights, and for not addressing gross violations of internationally recognized human rights.
“Despite intensive engagement between the United States and the Governments of Ethiopia, Guinea, and Mali, these governments have failed to address United States concerns about their non-compliance with the AGOA eligibility criteria.
“Accordingly, I intend to terminate the designation of Ethiopia, Guinea, and Mali as beneficiary sub-Saharan African countries under the AGOA as of January 1, 2022. I will continue to assess whether the Governments of Ethiopia, Guinea, and Mali are making continual progress toward meeting the AGOA eligibility requirements.”