More than 85 thousand factory workers are poised to be at risk of losing their jobs if the United States disqualified Ethiopia from the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), a trade opportunity for Sub-Saharan countries, according to Sandokan Debebe, CEO of the Industrial Parks Development Corporation (IPDC).
“Though there’s no official statement disclosed on the matter so far from President Biden’s Administration, we are urging that disqualifying Ethiopia will hurt low-incomers not government officials,” said Sandokan.
In addition, withdrawal of the preferential access would harm about 1 million across the entire value chain, Mamo Miheretu, Ethiopia’s Chief Trade Negotiator, said earlier.
IPDC is in charge of 13 parks among a total of 24 industrial parks in the country. Most of these plants produce leather and textile products and 90 percent are export items mostly to the US.
AGOA is an initiative established by the US in 2000 to grant special access to beneficiaries in Sub-Saharan Africa. Ethiopia joined after a year of its establishment. It was originally expected to end in 2008, but the initiative is now to run until 2025 after a few postponements. It provides non-reciprocal duty-free access to countries, including Ethiopia, to export approximately 6,500 products to the US market.