Ecuador approves free trade agreement with China

Photo: Ecuador Government.

The National Assembly of Ecuador has ratified a trade agreement with China that seeks to open the Ecuadorian market to an estimated 5,000 Chinese products free of tariffs.

On Wednesday, the Assembly resumed sessions on the trade agreement with China, previously suspended on January 11, 2024. During the two sessions, the debate included 46 interventions, with split opinions.

The Assembly ratified the agreement with China with the proposal receiving聽76 favorable votes out of 137. The Free Trade Agreement with China was originally signed on May 10, 2023 and was negotiated throughout 2022.

After notification of its approval to the Chinese government, products such as dragonfruit, which currently enter the Asian market with a 20% tariff, will stop paying it with immediate effect, the Ecuadorian authorities explained; in addition to opening the market to other Ecuadorian products such as frozen meats, tea, blueberries, oranges, pineapple, coffee, guava, spinach and quinoa, among others.

The debate was preceded by a press conference by the Minister of Production, Sonsoles Garc铆a, former ministers and representatives of the productive sector who defended the benefits of the agreement.

Garc铆a indicated that the approval of the FTA would give way to the 鈥減otential creation of more than 50,000 jobs, with a growth of more than 32% in the exportable supply.鈥 The minister stressed that it is essential to 鈥渁ccess to a market鈥 of more than 1.4 billion people, of which 1 billion 鈥渁re constantly doing electronic commerce.鈥

Jos茅 Agualsaca, indigenous legislator for the Citizen Revolution party, criticized the trade agreements, stating it could bring about a 鈥渄eepening of the economic crisis鈥 and 鈥渟erious consequences鈥 due to the unequal competition that the law of the market will impose. In addition, legislators against the agreement recalled China’s non-compliance with illegal fishing regulations and the presence of Chinese fleets.

Minister Garc铆a assured that the negotiation was technical and that in defense of the local industry, 820 exclusions were established for sensitive sectors and long tax relief periods of up to 20 years. 

Ecuador is the fourth country in Latin America to ratify a trade agreement with the Asian country. After Chile, Costa Rica and Peru.