- African Growth and Opportunity Act
TRALAC - Trade Law Centre
You are here: Home/News/Article/US officials highlight opportunity for Ethiopia's future

US officials highlight opportunity for Ethiopia's future

US officials highlight opportunity for Ethiopia's future
Donald Yamamoto, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs
Published date:
Thursday, 27 June 2013
US Embassies / Government

Ethiopia is "an important partner" of the United States in the East Africa region and one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, a senior State Department official told a US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Subcommittee June 20.

Donald Yamamoto, the acting assistant secretary of state for African affairs and a former U.S. ambassador to Ethiopia, told the lawmakers that the Ethiopian economy has been growing by double-digit percentages over the last five years. However, he cautioned that Ethiopia-U.S. business relationships have been limited because of investment climate challenges.

He also noted that Ethiopians in the United States are returning to their homeland to expand political and economic ties between the two countries and to provide humanitarian support. Ethiopia is a major recipient of U.S. aid, primarily for development in the health, agriculture and education sectors, and Ethiopia is one of the U.S. Peace Corps’ largest host countries.

In development, Ethiopia “has emerged as a leader on the push to end preventable maternal and child deaths,” Yamamoto said. As part of its leadership, in 2012 Ethiopia co-hosted the global Child Survival Call to Action with India, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the United Nations children’s agency UNICEF. The meeting was held in Washington.

Yamamoto stressed that the United States wants to increase cooperation with Ethiopia in key areas, including security, counterterrorism and bilateral trade and investment. He said that as chair of the African Union, Ethiopia “will play a key role in determining AU priorities on peace and security and development and governance.”

On August 12–13, 2013, the United States will partner with Ethiopia to host the 2013 U.S.–Sub-Saharan Africa Trade and Economic Cooperation Forum in Addis Ababa. Also known as the AGOA Forum, this year's theme is “Sustainable Transformation through Trade and Technology.” The event will bring together senior officials from the United States and AGOA-eligible African countries to discuss a range of trade and investment-related issues. The U.S. African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) offers incentives for African countries to continue their efforts to open their economies and build free markets.

An Ethiopian farmer tends his chickens. He has provided umbrellas so they can keep cool.

Yamamoto said the United States will “encourage Ethiopia to work toward greater market liberalization, including progress toward World Trade Organization accession." He added that recent successes on the economic front include a May trade mission to Ethiopia sponsored by the state of Illinois and a November 2012 agricultural investment conference in Ethiopia sponsored by the Corporate Council on Africa.

Yamamoto further noted that the United States is working with a major U.S. company to secure multimillion-dollar deals aimed at improving Ethiopia’s infrastructure.

Following Yamamoto, USAID Assistant Administrator Earl Gast testified that to fuel development in health, education and growth, Ethiopia wants to boost its power production capacity fivefold by 2015. The United States in early June signed an agreement with Ethiopia’s Ministry of Water and Energy that will serve as the basis for the government to negotiate project deals with private-sector developers.

Yamamoto also said that U.S. companies have signed letters of intent to make investments in support of Ethiopia’s country plan under the Group of Eight’s New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition. The alliance, introduced in May 2012, aims to form partnerships between investors and local companies in Africa to accelerate progress in mobilizing private capital, taking innovations to scale and managing risk.

Gast said Ethiopia is one of the United States’ key African partners in countering the effects of climate change and promoting food security. “USAID’s programs in Ethiopia have seen remarkable results,” he said.

But, Yamamoto said, Ethiopia wants to eventually eliminate the need for donor assistance.

Read related news articles

Two years on: How Ethiopia's apparel sector is combatting AGOA uncertainty

During an exclusive side chat at Source Fashion in London, the president of Ethiopia's Hawassa Industrial Park Investors Association (HIPIA) Hibret Lemma, confesses Ethiopia is only just at the start of its shift away from relying solely on the US for its garment exports. He admits losing AGOA was a big hit to the country's garment sector and it slowed down growth considerably. However, Ethiopia's garment suppliers were hopeful that AGOA...

02 April 2024

US official reveals Ethiopia’s request for AGOA eligibility ‘still pending’, decision unlikely at upcoming forum

A US State Department official has disclosed that the decision to reinstate Ethiopia’s eligibility for the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) is “still pending”. Constance Hamilton, Assistant US Trade Representative for Africa, made this statement during a digital press briefing held on Thursday.  “Those decisions are still pending,” Ms Hamilton told journalists from the continent, and that “there probably will not be...

27 October 2023

State Secretary Blinken praises Ethiopia on Tigray peace, no return to trade programme yet

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken praised Ethiopia on Wednesday for its progress in implementing a peace deal to end the Tigray conflict, but stopped short of ushering the country back into a U.S. trade programme. Visiting Ethiopia to repair relations that were strained by the two-year war in the northern region, Blinken met with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and discussed ongoing efforts to solidify peace, restore basic services and address...

13 March 2023

Ethiopia asks US to reinstate AGOA trade benefits as US Secretary of State Blinken heads to Addis, Niger

Ethiopia is asking the Joe Biden administration to reinstate its duty-free access to the US market, arguing that “exceptional circumstances” warrant an immediate re-examination of its suspension just as Secretary of State Antony Blinken heads to Addis Ababa to discuss the cessation of hostilities in Tigray. The Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) terminated Ethiopia’s participation in the African Growth and Opportunity Act...

09 March 2023

Kenya 'reaps Sh10 billion after Ethiopia's ban from AGOA deal'

Kenya earned an additional Sh10.2 billion from its exports to the US as Nairobi reaped big from Ethiopia’s suspension from a duty-free trade pact. Last year, Kenya’s exports to the US — mostly apparel were valued at Sh59.6 billion, a jump of more than a fifth from Sh49.4 billion in 2020 as Kenyan traders sold more goods through the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa), a free trade agreement between Washington and select African...

24 May 2022

US Senator requests return of Ethiopia to AGOA

A U.S senator has requested the senate to return Ethiopia to AGOA as it has been progressing in many aspects. U.S. Senator from Virginia Mark Warner said the U.S. should strengthen and improve the trade relationship between Africa specifically Ethiopia. The Ethiopian government has been pending progress in many aspects, especially the ceasefire. The trade relation between Africa specifically with Ethiopia is important. “We do that...

05 April 2022

In Ethiopia, Guinea and Mali, fears rise over losing duty-free access to US market

For Sammy Abdella, the new year has brought bad tidings: the prospect of a steep drop in sales of scarves, rugs, baskets and other textile goods produced by Sammy Handmade in Ethiopia. “The U.S. market is our main destination,” said Abdella, who estimates it accounts for nearly two-thirds of sales for his Addis Ababa-based home decor and fashion company. “So, losing that put us in a very, you know, bad situation.” The source of...

20 January 2022

US takes Ethiopia, Mali, Guinea off AGOA program

The United States on Saturday cut Ethiopia, Mali and Guinea from access to a duty-free trade program, following through on President Joe Biden's threat to do so over accusations of human rights violations and recent coups. "The United States today terminated Ethiopia, Mali and Guinea from the AGOA trade preference program due to actions taken by each of their governments in violation of the AGOA Statute," the U.S. Trade Representative's...

01 January 2022

Despite a late push, Ethiopia is set to exit the US trade pact

Despite a last-minute drive backed by diaspora members who fear that Washington may lose an ally, Ethiopia is likely to lose important commercial privileges in the United States on January 1 due to human rights concerns. President Joe Biden said on November 2 that Ethiopia, a longtime US ally and the continent’s second most populous country, will be removed from the African Growth and Opportunity Act in the New Year, citing “grave...

30 December 2021

US President terminates AGOA preferences for Ethiopia, Mali and Guinea

U.S. President Joe Biden announced yesterday that he has “determined that Ethiopia, Guinea, and Mali do not meet” the AGOA requirements described in section 506A(a)(1) and has proceeded to “terminate the designation of the three countries as beneficiary sub-Saharan African countries …effective January 1, 2022.” On November 21, the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs lamented the impending decision by the U.S. to remove Ethiopia...

24 December 2021

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

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...

23 December 2021

You are here: Home/News/Article/US officials highlight opportunity for Ethiopia's future