The removal of import tariffs on sporting goods in Ecuador will benefit both consumers and sellers, according to the owner of Cuenca’s Cube Bike shop, Diego Contreras. “Everyone benefits from the change and I look forward to meeting new customers.”
Contreras says he has already received a number of inquiries about when the lower prices will take effect.
Following an order by President Lenin Moreno, Ecuador’s Foreign Trade Committee (Comex) reduced import fees on all sporting goods and equipment from 40 percent to 15 percent. In several statements, Moreno said that the decision was prompted by the Ecuadorian cyclist Richard Carapaz’s victory at the Giro d’Italia in June and by the country’s recent success at the PanAmerican Games in Lima.
“We want to reduce the burden of our athletes so they can compete successfully in international competition,” he said. “Lowering the tariff is one way the government can help.”
Moreno added that the tariff reduction was part of the government’s overall plan to develop “a more rational” economic policy. “We must accept the reality of the interconnected world market and adopt trade and import rules that respond to that reality.”
At Contreras’ bike shop on the corner of Remigio Tamariz and Agustín Cueva, the lower tariff means that the price for his popular All Mountain bike will drop from $8,000 to $6,500. “For some of the bikers who have put off replacing older bikes, this means they can now afford to purchase a new one.” He says the new pricing should be fully in place in Cuenca by November or December.
For Jaime Moreno, director of the Cuenca Chamber of Commerce, the tariff reduction is welcome news. “The import costs should never have been 40 percent since this was not a case of protecting Ecuadorian businesses, since there are none to produce high-quality sporting goods. It was simply a money grab by the government.”