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Presidential Debate in Ecuador: Conservative Lasso Leads Socialist Arau

President of Ecuador Seeking Free Trade Agreement with the U.S.

“We will continue to take the necessary steps to move towards a free trade agreement with the United States,” said President Guillermo Lasso.

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The Government of Ecuador assured on Monday that it wanted to negotiate a free trade agreement with the United States, its main trading partner, as its neighbors Colombia and Peru have already done.

The announcement was made by the Ecuadorian president, Guillermo Lasso, in a virtual speech at the opening of the “Business Future of the Americas BFA-2021”, considered one of the most important business meetings in the region.

“We will continue to take the necessary steps to move towards a free trade agreement with the United States. We seek an alliance that not only includes trade issues, but also issues of labor law, intellectual property, gender equity, environmental sustainability”, among other aspects, said the president in statements reproduced by his office.

These aspects are already part of the policies of Lasso’s government, whose administration began last May 24, when he replaced Lenín Moreno, who was unable to negotiate the free trade agreement with the United States.

Peru in 2009 and Colombia in 2011 reached free trade agreements (FTA) with the United States, after long negotiations from which Ecuador withdrew.

Lasso, a former center-right banker, remarked on Tuesday that Ecuador aspires to obtain more injection of foreign capital, as well as a greater volume of its exportable supply to other nations, which implies a greater insertion of the country in international markets, especially with the United States.

The President also pointed out that this strategy will be key for the economic recovery of the country, whose deterioration was aggravated by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

For this reason, he explained that the current vaccination plan against covid-19 being carried out by his administration, which plans to immunize 60% of the population (9 million people) until the end of August, will be key to fully resume economic activities in his country.

Lasso also assured that the “BFA-2021” forum will stimulate investment, trade and, above all, strengthen the sustainable business environment between the United States and the region.

“Ecuador is convinced that integration is the way forward and is indispensable for economic and social recovery,” the Ecuadorian head of state added.

The United States is Ecuador’s main trading partner with a bilateral exchange of more than 10 billion dollars last year, according to official figures.

Ecuador also sends 30% of its exports to the United States, according to Debra Hevia, Minister Counselor of the Embassy of Ecuador in Washington.

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