US shall reconsider AGOA misguided decision

There is no gainsaying the fact that the U.S. for long has been pulling out all the stops to justify its unfair sanctions and pressure against Ethiopia as a tool to have an impact on its political leadership. However, over time, the U.S. ended up suspending Ethiopia from the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

The measure would make millions of Ethiopians for the most part women to lose their jobs at the earliest time possible. On top of that, people who have been working in the textile and apparel industries will be economically impacted by the political decision beyond a shadow of a doubt.

On the subject of the issue, once American-Ethiopian Public Affairs Committee (AEPAC) expressed the U.S.’ act of delisting Ethiopia from AGOA would lead American businesses like shoes and leather as well as coffee into a state of bankruptcy and negatively affects its long ties with the Horn of Africa.

In an interview she gave to BBC English, AEPAC Spokesperson, Wassy Tesfa said that the committee has launched a petition to urge the U.S. government to revisit its decision, and if they delist Ethiopia from AGOA, it will be detrimental to the lives of many women especially young women, because there are about 200,000 people employed and being direct beneficiaries of AGOA.

She further stated that American businesses will also suffer from business hurdles as a lot of clothes like leather shoes are made in Ethiopia by these young women.

She also noted that women and business suffering is the economical part of the decision and it does also have an impact on the global relationship.

Many agree that Washington’s termination of Ethiopia from AGOA is a misguided and politically-motivated measure that would damage the American business interest in the continent of Africa. In fact, the decision came amid opposition from congress members.

For instance, in recent times, a member of the United States Congress and Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Karen Bass lobbied the Biden Administration to keep Ethiopia in AGOA.

It is to be recalled that in her social media post, Bass has urged 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.”

In other news, Sen. Jim Inhofe in his Twitter page stated that the Biden administration should take real steps to undo the sanctions against the democratically elected government of Ethiopia and roll back the termination of AGOA benefits.

Members of the Ethiopian and Eritrean communities urged the U.S. to reconsider the decision of revoking Ethiopia from the African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) and revisit other restrictions.

Ethiopian American Civic Council (EAAC) Chairperson Deacon YosephTeferi concerning the issue said, “The sanction is used as a weaponizing tool against developing countries, particularly in Africa. Ethiopians as a country are the most robbed people in Africa and according to the global financial integrity report up to 2012 over 30USD billion Ethiopian treasures has been looted out and deposited in foreign banks which is well aware by the U.S. “We need to use every available tool to make sure our voices heard.”

Over the past 30 years, TPLF had been using the resources of the country for funding anti-peace elements working to destabilize Ethiopia. The Trojan horse TPLF has worked to undermine the legitimately elected government forcing the people of Ethiopia to compromise the sovereignty of the country, which is unacceptable.

“We want to have good relationships between U.S. and Ethiopia for enduring good relationship, President Biden put pressure on the warring Parties by putting sanction. The sanction will further worsen the situation than ease the problems. TPLF is among the wealthiest terrorist organizations and the U.S. administration needs to put sanctions on the TPLF officials and need to dig out all the treasures that have been looted from Ethiopia and used by the terrorist group in good faith,” according to the EAAC chairperson.

Political-Economic Analyst for Africa Lawrence Freeman on his part said that some of the geopolitical factions do not care about the development of Africa rather they oppose it and they are not interested in eliminating poverty, hunger, and other related problems. Rather they are pursuing to achieve their interest.

Benefit Corporation for Africa founder Tibebu Assefa on the subject of the issue stated that the Biden Administration wants to take the measure as a political weapon to punish the Ethiopian government to defy unwarranted pressure. The decision is counterproductive and would further marginalize the U.S. presence in Africa’s resource market.

Mida Advisors Association Director Yeabsira Zewdie said for her part the termination sends a negative message to investors that Ethiopia is not the right place to do business and it should not have been enacted considering the two countries’ century-old warm diplomatic and economic relations. As to her, the decision is not in the best interest of the people of the U.S. and it was driven by ill-judged individuals within the Biden Administration.

Once American Ethiopian Diaspora Public Affairs Committee (AEPAC) stated that the U.S. sanction on Ethiopia’s African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) opportunity would not change anything in the ongoing war except cause suffering to the people.

In an interview he gave to Real Fiction Radio, AEPAC Chairperson Mesfin Tegenu said the American Ethiopian Diasporas are very shocked and incredibly disappointed by the decision of President Joe Biden and his administration which will directly impoverish thousands of Ethiopians as it has highly affected several Ethiopians.

“These are people who have nothing to do with the conflict. And this action would not do anything to change the direction of impact in any way to the conflict except causing more sufferings to the people involved in a range of jobs,”

On 1st December 2021, AEPAC wrote an open letter to US Secretary Antonio Blinken notifying that AEPAC is concerned with “Sanctions as a political tool” in the conflict.

“Such measures target at further destabilizing the country and hurting the most vulnerable segments of the country. However, as the US has ignored those calls and pursued aggressive punitive actions against Ethiopian and Eritrean governments, it is high time to extend that to the TPLF leadership for balance and as a matter of urgency,”

In recent times, having a stay with Business Insider Africa, Leiden University Politics and Governance Professor Jan Abbink stated that delisting of Ethiopia from The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) would undermine human rights on the grounds that thousands would lose jobs and many Ethiopians would be exposed to poverty.

According to Abbink, AGOA exclusion will immediately hurt 200,000 Ethiopian laborers in the textile and apparel sectors which 80 percent of them are women. Similarly, it is hurting 800,000 Ethiopians engaged in transport, catering, and distribution. Reasoning from this fact, Ethiopia might be seeking a new market to survive and deprive the American market.

He believes that the U.S. Government, under President Joe Biden, appears to be pro-Tigray People’s Liberation Front in its handling of the conflict in Ethiopia to realize the interest of regime change.

AGOA removal will be bad in the short run but opens a new market for Ethiopia in Asia and the Middle East which are not standing against Ethiopia. Ethiopia was delisted from AGOA alongside Mali and Guinea, with the U.S. citing concerns of human rights violations. So long as the Act fundamentally focuses on development, economic progress and trade facilities, how could it be used as a political tool to twist countries’ arms?

All in all, taking all the essence and objective of it into account, one can confidently deduce that AGOA can by no means be a political tool following a misguided tendency.



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