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U.S. trade chief: Ethiopia’s duty-free market status to be decided ‘quickly’


GENEVA, Oct 14 (Reuters) – Katherine Tai, U.S. world trade consultant, stated Washington would “soon” determine on Ethiopia’s status beneath the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), an settlement which provides it duty-free entry to the United States.

“Reports coming back to us through official channels and civil society are not encouraging. What is happening in Ethiopia is a humanitarian crisis,” stated Tai, referring to combating in northern Ethiopia and deepening famine within the area of Tigray.

Ethiopia exported about $237 million value of products duty-free to the United States beneath AGOA in 2020, in accordance to U.S. commerce division information.

In August, her workplace issued a press release saying “ongoing violations of internationally recognised human rights amid the ongoing conflict and humanitarian crisis in northern Ethiopia … could affect Ethiopia’s future African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) eligibility if unaddressed.” learn extra

Any suspension would deal a serious blow to Ethiopia’s economic system, which is already beneath immense strain from the coronavirus pandemic, the 11-month-old battle and inflation of almost 35%.

Billene Seyoum, the prime minister’s spokeswoman, despatched a textual content message to Reuters saying: “No one is extra dedicated than the Government of Ethiopia to the reason for addressing the continuing humanitarian disaster in Tigray, Amhara and Afar areas with urgency.”

“Humanitarian crises don’t finish by taking away jobs from low revenue girls that AGOA enabled; somewhat the issue deepens. We should not go there.”

She previously said the suspension would take away 1 million jobs from the nation of 109 million people.

AGOA gives sub-Saharan African nations duty-free access to the United States if they meet certain eligibility requirements, such as eliminating barriers to U.S. trade and investment and making progress towards political pluralism.

Additional reporting by Katharine Houreld; writing by Katharine Houreld; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Giles Elgood

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U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai addresses the Geneva Graduate Institute on the role of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in the global economy and U.S. policy priorities ahead of the 12th Ministerial Conference in Geneva, Switzerland October 14, 2021. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

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