The president of Ecuador, Lenin Moreno, said today in Tokyo that his country is going through a new stage of “opening to the world” to attract foreign investment, and highlighted the potential of sectors such as housing, energy or infrastructure.
Moreno defended the attractiveness of Ecuador “ideal investment scenario” for Japanese companies in the framework of his visit to the Japanese archipelago, which takes place in a year in which both countries celebrate the centenary of the establishment of diplomatic relations.
“We want to take advantage of this anniversary to strengthen our economic and commercial relations,” Moreno said during his speech at a meeting with Japanese businessmen, the most important event on his official agenda in Japan after meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the eve and with the Japanese emperors.
Moreno and Abe signed a joint statement in which they pledged to promote economic and trade exchanges, an objective that the Ecuadorian president aims to achieve within the “new direction” that the country has embarked upon since its arrival to power more than a year ago.
In this regard, he highlighted the economic growth experienced by the country and the “order” it has placed in its public finances, and presented a series of legislative initiatives aimed at improving investment conditions for foreign companies that include tax advantages or reinforcement of legal security.
“The new Ecuador has opened to the world, and the world has opened up to us,” said Moreno, who noted that so far this year the country has achieved 114 investment contracts worth 9,400 million dollars that another 22 will be added in the processing phase for an amount of 886 million.
The president offered companies and financial institutions in Japan a portfolio of investment projects worth 32,000 million dollars, and highlighted the potential of sectors such as hydrocarbons, infrastructure, agri-food or social housing.
In the same line, the Ecuadorian Minister of Foreign Trade and Investment, Pablo Campana, affirmed that Ecuador aspires to negotiate a commercial agreement with Japan “in the medium term”, which would be added to the pacts already signed by Quito with the European Union, the Andean Community of Nations (CAN) or the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), among others.
The next step in the economic relations between Tokyo and Quito “should be the signing of a double taxation agreement, then an investment agreement and ending with an EPA” (Acronym of an Economic Association Agreement), said Campana during his intervention in the act.
For his part, the vice president of the Japanese employers, Shinya Katanozaka, said that Japan and Ecuador “are promoting their understanding in sectors such as energy and infrastructure,” during his speech at the event.
The business representative appreciated that the Ecuadorian Government “is working on the diversification of the industry,” and also noted that Ecuador “has shown interest in TPP-11 (Trans-Pacific Partnership and Progressive Treaty),” which points to “an even closer relationship with Japan.”
In 2017, the Asian country was the 10th destination of Ecuadorian non-oil exports to the world, with a value of 199 million dollars, and the third destination of local non-oil sales in Asia.
Moreno will conclude his official agenda in Japan this Friday, when he will move to the city of Kyoto (west) to re-present business and investment opportunities in his country, as well as visit industrial facilities and meet with local authorities. (I)