The Embassy held a Business Forum on Ethiopia’s AGOA Reinstatement with 50+ Companies

H.E. Dr. Eyob Tekalign, State Minister of Finance and H.E. Ambassador Dr. Seleshi Bekele held discussions with about 50 investors, manufacturers and exporting companies in the apparel and footwear sectors at a workshop organized by the Embassy of Ethiopia. The main focus of the workshop was to review the impacts of the termination of Ethiopia’s AGOA benefits on Ethio-American business and economic relations. H.E Dr. Eyob and Ambassador Seleshi briefed the participants on the various concrete measures the Ethiopian Government has undertaken regarding all of the concerns expressed by the U.S. Government when it announced the termination of AGOA.The participants highlighted that the decision made to suspend Ethiopia’s AGOA benefits is counterproductive and it disproportionately affects thousands of poor employees as well as the manufacturers and investors in the sector who relied on the AGOA program when they developed their businesses in Ethiopia.Since the U.S. Government terminated Ethiopia’s AGOA eligibility in January 2022, thousands of workers in the textile and footwear sectors have lost their jobs and livelihoods (mostly young women who support children and elderly parents). The participants have expressed their concern that thousands of additional jobs will be lost if the AGOA benefits are not restored.With regard to the conflict in the northern part of the country, the participants appreciated the measures undertaken by the Ethiopian Government and the significant progress made in allowing unfettered access to the provision of humanitarian assistance to the people in Tigray and other conflict-affected regions, and the various investigations it has conducted into alleged human rights violations. They also expressed their support to the Government’s commitment to the AU-led peace process towards the peaceful resolution of the conflict.In this spirit, the participants expressed their appeal to the U.S. Government to reconsider its decision and reinstate Ethiopia’s AGOA benefits without further delay with the aim of fostering the long-standing relations between Ethiopia and the United States.

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