GLOBALink | China-Ecuador FTA to enhance trade exchanges and bilateral relations
The recently signed free trade agreement (FTA) between Ecuador and China will enhance trade exchanges and bilateral relations, leading to mutual benefits, according to officials.
"I must express the enormous joy I feel at having finalized this free trade agreement between Ecuador and the People's Republic of China," Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso said following the signing of the agreement on Wednesday night.
The pact was signed by China's Commerce Minister Wang Wentao and Ecuador's Minister for Production, Foreign Trade, Investment and Fisheries Julio Prado via video after a year of negotiation, according to the Chinese Ministry of Commerce.
"The FTA will translate into well-being for citizens, development and more income for thousands of families," said Lasso, adding that "both countries win with this agreement."
At a following press conference, Prado called the deal "historic," saying that "the agreement takes into account the interests of both countries and expands opportunities for joint collaboration to achieve the more sustainable development of our countries in the present and in the future."
"It puts Ecuador on the map of Asia, and makes China (Ecuador's) largest supplier of consumer goods, raw materials and capital goods, which will contribute to improving the competitiveness of Ecuadorian industry," said Prado.
China, he noted, is the world's leading market, with more than 1.4 billion consumers. Hence, the agreement "is tremendously interesting for the exporting, productive and consumer sectors, as well as being good business for everyone."
"The specific potential of this agreement, from the perspective of exports, is an additional 3 billion to 4 billion U.S. dollars over the next 10 years," he said, adding that Ecuador's employment outlook is also poised to benefit.
"Through the trade agreement with China and others that are being negotiated with several countries, we estimate that in the next seven years, we will double the number of productive jobs" in the export sector, which currently stands at 1.2 million, he said.
Ecuador is the fourth Latin American country to sign an FTA with China, after Chile, Peru and Costa Rica. The FTA needs to be approved and ratified by the Constitutional Court and the National Assembly (unicameral Congress) of Ecuador before taking effect.
Produced by Xinhua Global Service