President Lenín Moreno announced Tuesday that Ecuador and Great Britain have signed a trade agreement that maintains most of the conditions of the European Union agreement signed in 2016. Britain is in the process of severing its relations with the EU, requiring the new pact.
According to Moreno, 95 percent of Ecuadorian exports will not pay UK tariffs. In 2019, almost $300 million in goods were traded between the two countries, with Ecuador maintaining a positive trade balance. The majority of goods shipped from Ecuador to the UK are bananas, tuna, shrimp and cut flowers.
Major imports to Ecuador from the UK include liquor, cars, medicines and industrial machinery and chemicals.
UK’s ambassador to Ecuador, Katherine Ward, says she expects no disruption in trade between Ecuador and Britain. “The amount of trade has increased impressively each year in the four years the old agreement was in effect and we don’t expect that to change,” she said, adding that the impact of the coronavirus on both countries would have a temporary economic impact on trade.
“The intent of the new treaty is to replicate the favorable and preferential conditions that the parties agreed to under the agreement with the European Union,” she said.
According to numbers released by Ecuador’s trade ministry, liquor is the top import from the UK, amounting to more than $75 million annually. Prior to the EU trade agreement, a typical bottle of Scotch sold for $62 in Ecuador while today it sells for $23 or $24.