At least three conditions were negotiated with the United Kingdom for the signing of the Agreement, on May 15. This was revealed by the Deputy Minister of Foreign Trade, Diego Caicedo. The subjects negotiated were tariff quotas, rules of origin and protection of geographical indications.
The United Kingdom is the destination market for more than 120 products, exported by more than 200 Ecuadorian companies. Caicedo said the talks were held in bloc, with Colombia and Peru, after the United Kingdom activated its exit process from the European Union in March 2017.
This operation, known as Brexit, means that all trade agreements that this block maintains with third countries cease to apply to them, including the EU Multiparty Trade Agreement.
The official explained that at the political level the contacts started in 2017 and in May 2018 the first technical meeting between Ecuador and the United Kingdom was held. Then, in June 2018, Ecuador initiated contact with Colombia and Peru for the identification of the aspects necessary to negotiate.
Negotiations between Andeans and the United Kingdom began in 2018, but grew in 2019. Regarding the new conditions, Caicedo indicated that they negotiated the volume of tariff quotas to be granted bilaterally. Ecuador sought to negotiate the granting of low volumes to the United Kingdom so that they do not affect the sensitive sectors of the country.
Regarding the rules of origin, we sought conditions that maintain a continuity in business practices; that is to say, that they allow us to continue accumulating origin with the European Union, both the United Kingdom and the Andean countries.
Regarding Geographical Indications, it was negotiated that those already protected with the agreement with the EU, also move to the new pact.
Caicedo said the agreement will allow businesses between Ecuador and the EU to continue developing as if the United Kingdom had not ceased to be part of that bloc.
For Daniel Legarda, executive director of the Ecuadorian Federation of Exporters (Fedexpor), the agreement is good news for the sector. “With that we eliminated the uncertainty that existed in terms of market access conditions for our products in the event of an eventual brexit.”
He indicated that the union was aware of the negotiations and assured that it is “very similar, 100% similar to that of the EU; Maybe it has been necessary to add some other questions in terms of public purchases or intellectual property, I know that Peru had some new issues that they wanted to introduce in the agreement, but in general it has been quite similar, simple to negotiate “.
According to Fedexpor, the commercial exchange with that market reached $ 330 million in 2018, with a balance surplus of $ 36 million for Ecuador.
Under the agreement with the EU, non-oil exports from Ecuador to the United Kingdom reflect an increase of 34% compared to 2016 when the tariff preferences of the treaty were not available.
The products that increased in exports to the United Kingdom in 2018 were canned tuna (143%), broccoli (38%), followed by shrimp and bananas that rose by 23% and 15% in 2018. that Ecuador imported $ 151 million in that year; there are vehicles (23%), machinery (15%) and drugs (13%). (I)