The United States has 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 alleged human rights violations and recent coups.
The suspension of benefits threatens Ethiopia’s textile industry, which supplies global fashion brands, and the country’s nascent hopes of becoming a light manufacturing hub. It also piles more pressure on an economy reeling from the conflict, the coronavirus pandemic, and high inflation. Mali and Guinea were targeted due to recent coups.
The Washington embassies of the three African countries did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Ethiopia’s Trade Ministry says it was “extremely disappointed” by Washington’s announcement, saying the move would reverse economic gains and unfairly impact and harm women and children.