This week’s trade talks between the U.S. and Ecuador have been postponed by last weekend’s U.S. government shut-down. The U.S. Trade Office (USTR) said it will announce a new date for discussions soon.
When the USTR delegation arrives in Quito, it will be their first visit since 2006 when Ecuador broke off negotiations for a free trade agreement that included Colombia and Peru. Former president Rafael Correa ended Ecuador’s participation because he believed the agreement proposed by the U.S. would hurt Ecuadorian businesses.
President Lenin Moreno says he too is opposed to a full free trade arrangement but wants to negotiate a deal similar to the one signed last year with the European Union (UE). Under that agreement, Ecuador was allowed to protect about 100 domestic products, saying that duty free foreign competition would harm the manufacturers.
“We do not want a total free trade agreement with the U.S.,” said Moreno two weeks ago. “We are a developing economy with many vulnerable agricultural and manufacturing sectors that we must continue to protect. On the other hand, we want to reestablish cordial relations with the U.S. since it is our largest trading partner.”