Ecuadorian and U.S. trade negotiators said Tuesday that they expect the recently signed bilateral trade agreement to go forward as scheduled when Joe Biden succeeds Donald Trump as U.S. president in January.
“The agreement follows long-established standard practices of the U.S. Department of Commerce and I see no reason why it will not be honored in the coming transition,” says Iván Ortiz, director of the Ecuadorian-American Chamber of Commerce.
Ortiz said that the two governments will develop a work plan to implement the agreement after the U.S. Congress gives its approval of the agreement, probably in February 2012. “This is a far-reaching agreement, covering many products and issues and there are many details to be worked out,” he said.
The agreement eliminates U.S. tariffs on a wide variety of agricultural and manufactured goods, including bananas, rice, cut flowers, cocoa, coffee and canned fish. It also contains requirements for the enforcement of intellectual property law by Ecuador and guarantees of fair labor and environmental practices.
Xavier Rosero, manager of the Ecuadorian Federation of Exporters (Fedexpor) is also confident that the change of administration in Washington will not affect the agreement. “We have been in touch with members of Joe Biden’s transition team and they tell us that they agree the deal should move forward.”
He added that a main focus of the Biden government will be to build stronger trade ties between the U.S. and Latin America. “Biden’s advisors believe that Latin America has been neglected during the Trump administration, which has allowed China to unfairly advance its trade agenda in the region. They see much of China’s gains as the result of unfair labor practices that make China’s products less expensive.”
The U.S. and Ecuador agreed two weeks ago to fast-track one element of the trade agreement: elimination of tariffs on flowers shipped to the U.S. Rosero said this will be in place in time for Valentine’s Day shipments next year.