On Tuesday, December 8, Ecuador and the United States signed the First Phase of a broader trade agreement that will eliminate obstacles, simplify trade, generate transparency in customs matters, and facilitate the exchange of products between both nations.
The Ecuadorian Minister of Production and Foreign Trade, Ivan Ontaneda, told the Associated Press that the first phase agreement was set up to benefit micro, small, and medium-sized companies, as well as actors from the popular and solidarity economy. 82% of the companies linked to non-oil exports to the United States correspond to this segment, he said.
The agreement will make it possible to achieve a 15% reduction in the cost structure almost immediately, which will increase the competitiveness of companies that sell to the United States, he stressed. He also said that Ecuador expected the signing of this agreement would lead to a 20% increase in sales to the US market.
The United States is the second destination for Ecuadorian non-oil exports after the European Union. Trade between Ecuador and the US between January and September 2020 amounted to 2.415 billion dollars with a positive trade balance for Ecuadorians of $1.044 billion. The country exports about 1,400 products, which generates half a million jobs.
According to reports, among other products, the agreement will benefit banana and shrimp, which account for 42% of the country's total exports.
Before the signing of the agreement and the benefit it will provide to, Ecuadorian exports had registered a 7% growth in recent years.