Bananas, shrimp, cocoa and flowers are among the main products exported. While in the imported ones are pharmaceutical products and medical devices. The first analyzes of the impact of the trade agreement between Ecuador and the European Union (EU) are positive. The subscription was made on November 11, 2016 and the tariff preferences apply from January 1 of this year.
Of the three objectives of the agreement, which are: increase trade flows, increase investments and strengthen legal stability; the first one is the one that yields the most tangible results. For the EU ambassador in Ecuador, Marianne Van Steen, “the most important success has been the increase in trade flows. We have seen an increase of almost 25% (in 9 months). ”
From January to September of this year $ 3.5 billion were exchanged. The ambassador aims to close the year with a flow that exceeds $ 4.5 billion in 2016. The export of traditional products is the one that increased the most. One of the countries with the highest growth in exports is tuna with 51%. Mónica Maldonado, executive director of the Ecuadorian Chamber of Tuna Industrialists and Processors (Ceipa), affirms that the sector exported 188,000 metric tons ™ to the EU, representing $ 834 million. The sector aims to grow 3%.
In social terms, Maldonado indicated that the Agreement allows to maintain the jobs. The processor sector generates 23,000 direct and 100,000 indirect jobs. In second place are vegetable oils, with an increase of almost 40%. Increases like this, according to the EU, mean new investments in plants and improvement in the processing of metric tons per hour.
Another example is the banana, the sales grew 11.83%. According to the EU, the difference of only one euro in tariffs per box of bananas allows Ecuador to recover its competitiveness against Colombia and Costa Rica. The fulfillment of the high demands of quality of the fruit worldwide and the control of the plague of the black sigatoka are factors that contribute to gain competitiveness.
One of the products that does not register positive results is cocoa. External factors such as oversupply caused the fall in prices. To this is added the reduction of consumption in the United States. While the results of the agreement generate expectations, Van Steen also attributes the increase in commercial flow to the economic recovery of European countries (it is estimated that all member states of the block will grow 2.3% this year).
The lifting of the Ecuadorian safeguards and the elimination of quotas for the import of vehicles also contribute. A sample is that the import of automobiles increased 113%. Other goods that were imported more are: alcoholic beverages (272%), fuels and industrial machinery.
From the Ecuadorian Federation of Exporters (Fedexpor), Daniel Legarda, president of the union highlighted that “non-oil exports increased by 14%, while imports increased by 25.8%”. For the exporter, the most important thing is that the entrepreneurs have certainty, which has protected the jobs. Legarda emphasizes that the main shortcoming is that we are a very expensive country to produce. “Companies have difficulty sustaining themselves. It is necessary to focus measures that are in favor of competitiveness.
Exporters expect a new year of growth. That new products arise and that some MSMEs open up markets in the EU. In addition, demand increases and prices remain stable. On November 11, Ecuador signed the multi-part trade agreement with the European bloc in Brussels. More than 300,000 jobs generate exports with the EU. Until September, exports and imports leave a favorable balance of $ 887 million in the trade balance. (I)