The trade agreement between Ecuador and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), will allow 99% of the products that Ecuador exports to enter Liechtenstein, Norway, Iceland, and Switzerland without paying taxes. This will benefit Ecuador's banana, the country's main fruit export, as it will have better access to a market with a total of 12.5 million consumers that are recognized for their high consumption and purchasing power.
According to the Association of Banana Exporters of Ecuador (AEBE), Ecuadorian bananas, which were required to pay a 25% duty in Switzerland (considered the most strategic market in the block), will now be able to enter that country with zero duty. According to Francisco Ballen, foreign trade advisor, this will allow the Ecuadorian fruit to regain the ground it had lost to Colombian bananas since 2014 after Colombia and EFTA signed an agreement that year.
The agreement will also benefit cocoa, flowers, and agro-industrialized products, among other products. In exchange, the nations that make up the EFTA will be able to sell products to Ecuador that will have tariff reductions in 0 to 17 years. These products include medicines, machinery, cosmetics, watches, and cars, among others.
These four countries are not within the Central Bank of Ecuador's ranking that compiles the 30 main partners with whom the country has constant commercial exchange. However, the agreement is expected will promote these transactions. In fact, the Government has estimated that the agreement could help the county increase its exports by up to 12.8%.
The agreement is already in force and those who wish to export or import products (to and from this market) must process the certificates of origin -the main requirement to access the zero-tariff granted by this agreement- with the Ministry of Foreign Trade. According to the Ministry of Foreign Trade, this documentation began to be processed and issued from midnight on Sunday, after the entry into force of the agreement was confirmed.