China and Ecuador will sign a free trade agreement after nearly a year of negotiations, the Ecuadorian president said on Tuesday.
“Good news for 2023. FTA negotiations between China and Ecuador have ended successfully,” President Guillermo Lasso said on Twitter.
“Our exports will have priority access to the world’s largest markets, giving our industry access to low-cost machinery and inputs.”
China is one of Ecuador’s major trading partners, with bilateral trade estimated at over $10 billion annually.
It was Ecuador’s main non-oil trading partner in the first half of 2022, according to Quito’s Ministry of Trade.
The company said it has not yet set a date for a formal contract signing, which will take place after the process is complete.
Once the deal is signed, Ecuador will become the fourth country in Latin America to have a free trade agreement with China, after Costa Rica, Peru and Chile.
The deal will boost Ecuador’s exports of shrimp, bananas, flowers, cocoa and coffee and “open the door for the export of non-traditional products such as dragon fruit, pineapple and mangoes,” the statement said. , blueberries, quinoa, processed foods, fresh and canned fruit. ”
Ecuador began negotiations on a deal in February 2022 after Lasso’s visit to Beijing.
In September, Mr. Lasso announced that the government had secured another deal to extend the terms of payments and lower interest rates on $3.2 billion in debt it holds with two state-owned banks in China.