Ecuador to debate free trade agreement with China

Photo: Ecuador Government.

On February 7, Ecuador’s National Assembly will decide whether or not to approve the Free Trade Agreement with the People’s Republic of China. If approved, almost five thousand products will be able to enter Ecuador from China without paying any tariffs.

Last January 11, 2024, exactly 10 months after signing the original agreement, Ecuador鈥檚 legislative body began to debate the issue, but after four hours the session was suspended. Therefore, this Wednesday, February 7, 27 days later, they will have to meet again and either ratify, or reject the trade agreement with China.

However, the outcome of this discussion that the Assembly will have tomorrow is still uncertain, since there are conflicting opinions within different sectors. On the one hand, social and environmental groups, especially from the Amazon region, are strongly opposed due to the environmental pollution that the agreement could generate. On the other hand the Ecuadorian Business Committee issued a statement calling not only for ratification, but also the need to create a competitive agenda to make the most of the agreement.

The Ecuadorian Business Committee brings together the chambers of different productive sectors of the country, which promote the ratification of this trade agreement and invite other sectors to learn about the reality of the agreement and the national regulatory framework, especially with regard to the widespread criticism about the importation of “junk goods” and the consequent pollution that this would entail.

“Ecuador maintains its sovereign power to prohibit and control the entry of products that endanger the population or pollute our environment”, the Committee added in the letter, “a trade agreement does not restrict the right to prevent the entry of polluting goods”.

Meanwhile, according to Ecuavisa, the Corporation of Exporting Guilds of Ecuador assures that the FTA would represent low costs of raw materials and inputs for agriculture.

This agreement arose as a result of the increase in bilateral trade, where Ecuadorian exports to China reached US$5.8 billion in 2022, Chinese sales to Ecuador amounted to US$6.4 billion, according to official figures quoted by Investing.

Now all the prefects of the country, in coordination with the Consortium of Autonomous Provincial Governments of Ecuador (CONGOPE), reviewed the potential benefits of this agreement for their provinces through a virtual meeting where the Minister of Agriculture and Livestock, Danilo Palacio and the Minister of Production, Foreign Trade, Investment and Fisheries, Sonsoles Garcia were present.