Tram construction closes more intersections, Ecuador applies for Pacific Alliance membership, Cell phone mfgs complain, Guacho bomb threats

Jul 30, 2018

Ecuador could join the Pacific Trade Alliance

The founding members of the Pacific Alliance trade organization voted last week to consider Ecuador for membership. Colombia, Peru, Chile and Mexico said they are open to accepting new members “to strengthen and diversity the organization.” Ecuador and three other Latin American countries interested in joining attended the meeting in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico as “observer nations.” If Ecuador is accepted as a full member, it will be required to change a number of rules and regulations to allow products of other member nations to enter the country, the trade ministry said. Currently, 19 percent of Ecuadorian exports go to Colombia, Peru, Chile and Mexico.

Tram work causes traffic disruptions in El Centro

Tram construction moves east in El Centro.

More intersections will closed Monday morning in the historic district as tram construction moves east on Calles Gran Colombia, Mariscal Lamar and Sangurima. According to municipal traffic director Daniel Cárdenas, the intersections at Octavio Cordero, Miguel Heredia and Vargas Machuca will close. In addition, intersections at General Torres and Padre Aguirre will remain closed but will reopen on Friday. The closures require rerouting bus routes 22 and 24, Cordero says. City tram director Jaime Guzmán added that arrangements have been made for delivery of produce and other merchandise to the Tres de Noviembre market while streets in the area are blocked.

Guacho threatened to bomb four Ecuadorian cities

According to new information released by the government, Walter Arizala, alias Guacho, of the Oliver Sinisterra Front drug gang threatened to detonate bombs in Esmeraldas, Quito, Guayaquil and Latacunga in November 2017. The threat was made in response to Ecuador’s arrest of several of the Front’s top officers and was delivered in phone calls between Guacho and an Ecuadorian police major. Although the bombing threat in the four cities was not carried out, the Front took credit for bombing the police headquarters in San Lorenzo in January. The Front also took credit for the kidnapping and murder of a team of journalists from the Quito newspaper El Comercio in March.

Ecuadorian cell phone makers close doors, blame government

Cell phone manufacturers in Quito and Cuenca blame the government of former president Rafael Correa for the collapse of the industry. As import quotas were eliminated and tariffs were reduced on imported cell phones in 2016, the government failed to protect Ecuadorian manufacturers, said Gabriel Garcés, general manager of Ecuador Electronic Development and Manufacturing Company. “Instead of helping us maintain market share, they gave in to the demands of the major service companies, Claro and Movistar (Telefonica), allowing them to import large numbers of foreign brands,” he said. “This has caused us to close or reduce operations and lay off staff.”

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