Ethiopia: Chinese investors pay US lobbyists to resist American sanctions

Ethiopia: Investors in a Chinese-built industrial park in southern Ethiopia have hired international trade law firm Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg to push back against mounting calls to strip Addis Ababa of US trade preferences amid continuing violence in Tigray and beyond.

The firm is lobbying on “preserving AGOA eligibility for apparel from Ethiopia” on behalf of the Hawassa Industrial Park Investors Association, according to a new lobbying filing.

Lobbyists on the account include former Rep. Jerry Weller (R-Ill.), a former member of the House Ways and Means Committee, and Nicole Bivens Collinson, a former assistant textile negotiator for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

The registration comes as critics of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed are lobbying to suspend Ethiopia’s eligibility under the African Growth and Opportunity Act. US Trade Representative Katherine Tai raised the possibility in a virtual meeting with Ethiopian chief trade negotiator Mamo Mihretu this summer.

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