In December, a commission of Chinese sanitary inspectors will travel to Ecuador to verify whether the country's pitahaya-producing farms meet the quality standards required by the Asian country for a foreign product to enter its territory.
The news was announced by Juan Carlos Sánchez, coordinator of Extraregional Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Trade, during an exhibition last week in the framework of the relaunch of the Centre for Chinese Studies of the Institute of Higher National Studies (IAEN).
Sánchez pointed out that the visit of the technicians is one of the final steps before the Ecuadorian product can finally be exported; a process that has taken about 10 years due to strict phytosanitary protocols.
China is Ecuador's third biggest trading partner, only behind the United States and the European Union; but unlike the latter two, the relationship is "deeply unbalanced," said Sánchez, showing figures that reveal how the flow of exports and imports favours the Asian country.
In the last 10 years, bilateral trade has doubled from about $ 1.5 billion in 2007 to almost $ 3 billion in 2016.
In this context, Ecuador proposed the idea of a Partial Scope Agreement during the 13th Joint Commission held between the two countries on 25 October 2016. This was reiterated a few days ago by the Minister of Foreign Trade, Pablo Campana, in the framework of a visit to the Asian nation. The government, according to Sánchez, is mainly seeking to negotiate the entry of more Ecuadorian agricultural products, while also reducing approval times.
However, he pointed out that the response of the Chinese authorities was that they preferred to negotiate a free trade agreement. Besides pitahaya, quinoa, grapes and avocados are also in the process of gaining access to the Chinese market.
Ji Xiaofeng, Economic and Commercial Councillor of the Chinese Embassy in Ecuador, pointed out that more than 80 Chinese companies operate in the country. She said that investors are waiting to hear the results of the revision of the Bilateral Investment Treaties (BIT), announced in May by the Ecuadorian government, among which there is one with the Asian country.