Global Times - 17 February 2023
China, Ecuador conclude FTA negotiation; both sides will strive to sign the deal as soon as possible: MOFCOM
By Li Xuanmin
China has concluded free trade agreement (FTA) negotiation with Ecuador on Thursday, and the two sides will continue following works involving legal document review, translation, and implement domestic procedures needed by each country to sign the FTA as soon as possible, according to a statement on the website of China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) on Friday.
The third round of chief representative meeting on China-Ecuador FTA was held on Thursday via video link. Both sides confirmed at the meeting the conclusion of the FTA negotiation, MOFCOM said. China and Ecuador began FTA talk on February 2022.
Carlos Larrea, Ambassador of Ecuador to China, told the Global Times in an earlier interview that the signing of the FTA will take place "in the coming weeks."
The entry into force of this trade agreement will provide preferential access for 99 percent of Ecuador’s current exports to China, mainly agricultural and agro-industrial products such as shrimp, bananas, roses and flowers, cocoa, coffee, according to Larrea.
"It will also open the doors to exports of non-traditional products such as pitahaya, pineapple, mango, blueberries, quinoa, processed foods, fresh and canned fruits, and many other agricultural and agro-industrial products," he added.
MOFCOM said the FTA will play an active role in facilitating the continuous, stable, and diversified development of bilateral trade and investment, and promote bilateral economic cooperation to a new level.
The deal, once signed, will also make Ecuador the fourth Latin American country to have a free trade agreement in place with China, after Chile, Costa Rica and Peru. Observers expect the deal to influence thinking among other Latin American countries.
In 2022, bilateral trade volume between China and Ecuador hit a record high of $13 billion, up 20 percent year-on-year, data from MOFCOM showed. China remained the second-largest trading partner for Ecuador.