Starting in 2020, Ecuador will compete on equal terms with Colombia, Peru, and Costa Rica in the export of bananas to the European Union, thanks to the progressive tariff reduction achieved through the Commercial Agreement with the European bloc, which has been in force since 2017.
Xavier Rosero, the technical manager of the Ecuadorian Federation of Exporters (Fedexpor), said that this is the first year in which the Ecuadorian banana ceases to have a differential tariff that negatively affected the country. "This is good news. However, we are worried about how we are losing market share in the EU due to our high-cost structure. Meanwhile, the Central American countries that produce bananas and Colombia have adjusted their prices downwards, making it increasingly difficult to compete," he said.
According to Rosero, the agreement is absolutely positive since it has allowed Ecuador to increase its exports, on average, in the first two years, by 7%. Without the trade agreement, the country would have lost a large part of the tariff preferences of the European Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), with a consequent 400 to 500 million dollars drop in exports, in the first year alone.
Before the multipart agreement, there were some 1,300 companies that exported to Europe, according to Fedexpor; today there are 1,450. In addition, 250 new varieties of export products have been introduced. Rosero highlighted these figures as a result of the country's 'Internationalizate' project, which has allowed the classification of some 120 companies nationwide, and aims at strengthening their export capacities, and adapting their products to the needs of the European market.