Ecuador Foreign Trade
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The export of primary goods and the import of capital and manufactured products have historically characterized Ecuador’s trade. While petroleum remains Ecuador’s most important export and economic force, an increasing diversity in export products (most notably the recent dramatic rise in the export of cut flowers; in just a few years Ecuador has become the leading supplier of cut flowers to the United States) is reducing the historical volatility of Ecuador’s export revenues and is helping to stabilize its economy.
The United States, European Union countries, Columbia, Chile, and Japan are Ecuador’s primary trading partners. In 1998, the United States exported USD 1.6 billion worth of goods to Ecuador, or about 30% of Ecuador’s total imports, and received nearly 40% of Ecuador’s exports, making it the country’s leading import and export partner. Colombia, Japan, Mexico, Venezuela, Spain, Germany, Brazil, and Chile together supplied approximately a 40% share of the Ecuadorian import market and likewise, were the destinations of almost 40% of Ecuador’s exports.
Ecuador’s active membership in global trade organizations and its participation in a number of regional free trade zones confirm the nation’s trend toward liberalization and its commitment to open trade. Ecuador is a member of the World Trade Organization (“WTO”), the Andean Community, and the Latin American Integration Association (“ALADI”). In addition, Ecuador has concluded bilateral free trade agreements with Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, and Venezuela, is negotiating a trade agreement with Mexico, is engaged in trade talks with the Mercosur nations of Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay, and fully supports the establishment of a free trade area for the Americas.
Ecuador’s application of free market principals, including the lowering of trade barriers, its participation in numerous international trade organizations, and a firm commitment to diversification of its economy and reform of its financial institutions, are helping to restore a favorable balance of trade and generally better the nation’s economy.