The European Union’s International Trade Committee (INTA) has approved Ecuador’s a trade agreement with the EU. The agreement now goes to the full EU parliament where it is also expected to be approved.
The agreement, expected to go into force next year, means that EU and Ecuadorian products will be imported duty free. The agreement is similar to one reached earlier between the EU, Peru and Colombia.
Although the agreement covers hundreds of products, the most significant ones for most Ecuadorians will be liquor, cars and clothing, prices for which will drop significantly. Early estimates are that prices on some items will drop by 50%.
President Rafael Correa said on Friday that he was pleased with the INTA action which, he said, was the last major hurdle for the agreement. “The EU parliament still has to approve it and we have to sign it, but it appears that the agreement will soon go into effect,” he said. He added that Peru and Colombia also need to okay the deal.
In a its final resolution, the INTA praised Ecuador for its achievement “in reducing poverty, improving education, and overall social development in recent years.”
The resolution urged Ecuador to continue efforts on all fronts and to work to improve human rights conditions within the country.