President Guillermo Lasso concluded a four-day visit to Mexico Thursday in which he received support from Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador for Ecuador’s admission to the Pacific Alliance trade organization. Lasso and his staff also met with government and corporate officials to discuss expansion of free trade agreements between the two countries.
Membership in the Pacific Alliance, which currently includes Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru, will assure duty free trade not only among members but with Asian nations that have agreements with the Alliance.
One the objectives of the trip, Lasso said, was to open new markets for Ecuadorian products and reduce trade tariffs that remain in place for some them. “Mexico is our third largest trading partner and we import many of their products and services,” he said. “On the other hand we have a large trade deficit with them, which we would like to reduce.” In 2020, the deficit was $500 million, with Mexican imports totaling $591 million while exports to Mexico totaled only $91 million.
Among the products and services Ecuadorians buy from Mexico are computer equipment, cell phones, cell and data services, plastics, drinks and food. Among the Mexican companies with offices and factories in Ecuador are Claro, Arca Continental tires, Fybeca pharmacies, Mabe appliances and Bimbo bakery products.
According to Alberto Acosta Burneo, editor of the Weekly Analysis, Mexico represents the most potential for Ecuador of expanding trade over the next decade. “The market is growing rapidly there and the Mexican government and businesses have an incentive to open markets to Ecuador because of Ecuador’s acceptance of Mexican companies and products. Lasso is smart to focus on Mexico.”
Among the businessmen Lasso met with on his trip was Carlos Slim, owner of several companies operating in Ecuador, including Claro, and listed as one of the five richest men in the world by Forbes magazine.