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Trade agreement negotiations with S. Korea to start in Quito

Trade agreement negotiations with S. Korea to start in Quito

SEOUL: Representatives of the governments of Ecuador and South Korea begin next 26 January to negotiate a strategic agreement on economic cooperation. The meeting will be held in Quito, for three days, and at its end, a joint statement will be issued.

The bilateral agreement will not have the form of a regular free trade agreement (FTA), “but of a Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement (SECA), respecting the principle of special and differential treatment for Ecuador through clauses to protect its economy, which is more vulnerable than that of South Korea, the thirteenth in the world, according to the World Bank (WB),” the Ministry of Foreign Trade informed.

The agreement modality between Ecuador and South Korea will also include commitments of cooperation, knowledge transfer and technical support. In 2014, Ecuador exported to South Korea non-oil products worth USD 58 million and in January-November 2015, shipments totalled USD 55 million. The main exported products were shrimp, bananas, tilapia and other fish, purees and pastes of different fruits, among others.

These negotiations were preceded by a trip to Seoul, five months ago, made by the Minister of Foreign Trade, Diego Aulestia, who signed with his South Korean counterpart, Yoon Sang-Jick, the official start of this process.

“Ecuador is interested in promoting non-oil goods trade, and South Korea has a strong demand for agricultural products.” The goal is “to keep on increasing exports to further reduce trade deficit,” the Ecuadorian minister then said.