Senator Van Hollen, Representative Bass urge Biden Administration to reconsider Ethiopia's suspension from AGOA

Published
Thursday, 23 December 2021 ~ Sen van Hollen, Rep Bassass

Today, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-Calif.) urged President Biden to reconsider his Administration’s November 2, 2021 decision to terminate Ethiopia’s designation as a beneficiary country under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) at the end of this year.

As the lawmakers note in their letter (download a copy at the link alongside), this decision will hurt the nation’s most vulnerable and reverse hard-won economic gains without reducing hostilities in the ongoing civil war. Senator Van Hollen is Chair of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health Policy, and Congresswoman Bass is the Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations.

The lawmakers begin, “We write regarding your intent to terminate the designation of Ethiopia as a beneficiary country under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) as of January 1, 2022.

We ask that you reconsider this decision to suspend Ethiopia’s eligibility on such an abrupt timeline and allow time for all parties in Ethiopia to take the necessary steps to end the conflict, deploy humanitarian aid to those who need it, and continue negotiations to garner peace.

“While we absolutely condemn the human rights abuses that have taken place on both sides of this conflict, we are concerned that suspension of AGOA benefits will be counterproductive and disproportionately harm the most vulnerable Ethiopians without contributing to the cessation of hostilities,” they continue.

The lawmakers conclude, “We urge your administration to explore options for allowing additional time for Ethiopia to come into compliance with AGOA as we continue pressing all sides to come to a peaceful resolution of the conflict.”

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