A mission of the United States Department of Commerce (USTR) arrived yesterday in Quito to meet with government officials. The visit is headed by Magaly García, the new director of the USTR for the region.
Yesterday, she planned to meet with officials from the public sector, including the Ministry of Foreign Trade. Today she plans to do it with representatives of the business sector, said Roberto Aspiazu, executive director of the Committee of the Ecuadorian Business Committee (CEE).
The objective is to enlist the first meeting of the Bilateral Investment Council of Ecuador and the US, which will be held in November in Washington. This body is in charge of dealing with trade and investment issues between both nations. And it is the forum to define a road map towards a commercial agreement with the northern country.
The Council had not been installed since 2009, when relations with the United States cooled down. “This visit is given by the decision of President Lenin Moreno, to establish a business appointment with the US, Ecuador’s main partner,” said Patricio Alarcón, president of the CEE.
The executive said that the formation of the Bilateral Council was also the result of Vice President Mike Pence’s visit last June. “This is a clear signal that Ecuador is opening up to the world and, above all, the Government to get ahead by promoting exports,” said Alarcón.
For Vinicio Salgado, executive director of the Observatory of Foreign Trade, the reactivation of this organism is a “transcendental” step in the strategy of approach towards a more formal and wider commercial exchange. “It translates into officially establishing a working table and conversations to promote trade and investment, with which Ecuador will benefit greatly,” he said.
The Council, according to the expert in Foreign Trade, is composed of public-private actors, with the main representatives of the USTR and the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Industries. From the private side, he said, the Council will convene the chambers, as representatives of the productive sector.
He added that social sectors, such as those of the popular and solidarity economy, will also be interested in participating, with the idea of placing their products in the world’s main market. The Board addresses several commercial issues of bilateral interest, such as access to new products, health problems, trade restrictions, investment opportunities, among others.
For the export sector it is important that in this space some irritating topics are discussed. On the part of the United States is the revision of some licenses of agricultural products and, in the case of Ecuador, the quotas and the entrance of dairy products to that market, considered Iván Ontaneda, president of the Fedexpor Board of Directors.
Ontaneda said that the reactivation of this organization is important, because it will help solve the country’s macro-fiscal problem. “Ecuador needs dollars and the way to enter is through greater exports.”
For Felipe Ribadaneira, expert in foreign trade, the entity will also provide guarantees for the entry of new US investments. And a trade agreement will require authorization from the US Congress to negotiate. “This can be achieved if the necessary approaches are given in the Council.” (I)