After nine years, the governments of Ecuador and the United States agreed to resume the Trade and Investment Council (TIC), the Ecuadorian Foreign Ministry reported yesterday. The measure marks a new moment in the commercial relations between both countries.
According to a statement from the Foreign Ministry, the decision is “an important milestone in the strengthening of relations between the two countries during the current year.” On November 14 and 15, the representatives of both nations will meet to work on initiatives to expand bilateral trade flows and investments.
The Trade and Investment Council is the main forum for dialogue between Ecuador and the United States. In fact, if Ecuador wants to propose a free trade agreement, the order becomes official through this body. In addition, this forum reviews, with great emphasis, the main topics of the bilateral relationship in matters of trade, investment and cooperation.
The decision is part of the agreements established during the visit of US Vice President Mike Pence to Ecuador last June. “The United States is consistently one of Ecuador’s main trading partners and the objective of the meetings of the Council is to expand export opportunities in that market, as well as encourage the attraction of investments coming from that country,” the Foreign Ministry said.
USA is the main market for Ecuadorian exports. The trade balance between both countries is favorable for Ecuador, for almost five years. However, since 2014 shipments to that destination fell by 25%, until 2017, according to the Ministry of Productivity, Foreign Trade and Investment.
The owner of that Portfolio, Pablo Campana, has attributed that decline to the fact that Ecuador has lost competitiveness, a product of the fact that neighboring countries have a trade agreement with Washington.
Chilean investors explore the country
A group of 16 Chilean businessmen yesterday held a meeting with President Lenin Moreno, to learn about the investment advantages established in the new Law on Productive Development, in force since last August. Entrepreneurs represent different economic sectors.
Among the attendees were executives from air transport services firms, such as Latam and Sky Airlines, the second most important in Chile. “The option of the airline entering with its direct flight between Santiago and Quito is being analyzed,” explained Peter Hill, president of the Chamber of Commerce of Santiago.
Representatives of fuel, forestry, technology, services and other companies also arrived in the capital. The Chilean business sector has been interested in the country for some time, said Eduardo Tapia, Chile’s ambassador to Ecuador.
With the change of Government, the approach could be achieved. The businessmen pointed out that this type of meetings are important because they allow to have a clearer idea of the opportunities offered by the country, what is the government’s openness to foreign investments and what the conditions are.
Hill emphasized the importance of Ecuador having a bilateral investment treaty so that a greater volume of capital arrives. The Minister of Foreign Trade and Industries, Pablo Campana, was also present at the meeting, who highlighted the importance of the approach to attract new investments to the country.
“These visits are the product of State policies in order to provide legal security, confidence and transparency to bring us closer to the Pacific Alliance and major strategic partners in the world,” said Campana.
According to Ambassador Tapia, Chilean companies have already made important investments in the country. “The National Petroleum Company (Enap) has made one for USD 85 million. Agunsa built a passenger terminal in Manta and improved the dock with an outlay of more than USD 30 million, “he said.
Another of the aspects analyzed was the country’s trade with Chile, which has grown 40% in the last two years, according to Hill. One of the reasons for the increase in figures, he said, is “the last political changes that have been made in Ecuador, because there is a possibility of opening to trade.”
During the visit to the country, Chilean businessmen signed an agreement with the Chamber of Commerce of Quito to support small and medium enterprises. (I)