Canadian Trade Minister Mary Ng said she and her Ecuadorian counterpart agreed to explore the possibility of a free-trade agreement between several countries, the latest example of the Canadian government’s attempts to lessen its reliance on trade with the United States and China.
Ng made the announcement from Mexico City on Nov. 24. She and Ecuador’s trade minister, Julio José Prado, are attending a summit of the Pacific Alliance, a trading bloc made up of four Latin American countries with a history of openness to freer markets: Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru.
The talks with Ecuador come amid something of a reset of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s trade policy after years of bruising confrontations with the world’s biggest economies. Trudeau’s attempt to sign a free-trade agreement with China after he was first elected in 2015 ultimately fell flat, and then he spent the better part of two years negotiating a new North American free-trade agreement after former president Donald Trump threatened to end Canada’s privileged access to the world’s largest economy.
Ecuador plans to open a new trade office in Ottawa on Dec. 1, a press release said. In the weeks to come, Canada will consult with Canadians to see what they think about a Canada-Ecuador free trade agreement.