Mexico and Ecuador agreed on Friday a pre-closing of negotiations of a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the two, reported Julio José Prado, Minister of Production, Foreign Trade, Investments and Fisheries of Ecuador.
This pre-closing was achieved during the seventh round of negotiations held in person in Mexico City, which was a defining round, with the anticipation of holding minor virtual technical meetings on specific issues and a new meeting in Quito, in person or virtual, in which the formal closing of negotiations would be announced no later than the first quarter of 2022.
Interviewed by El Economista, Prado reported that among the pending products are tuna, shrimp and bananas, in which Ecuador is competitive and it has not yet been defined whether quotas, export windows or longer tax relief programs will be established for them. “We can consider it as the last great round of negotiations in all aspects and there are only a few technical elements left, which will possibly be discussed at a final meeting, which would no longer be a round of negotiations, but rather a meeting to present the finalization of the agreement” , He said.
In almost all manufacturing sectors, including the automotive industry, tax relief periods of between 7 and 10 years were agreed upon. In other cases, there are shorter periods, but not longer than 10 years.
Of the 19 disciplines in which the negotiations were worked on, 13 were fully closed at noon this Friday, leaving six pending, with more than 90% progress in each of the latter. Prado added that it was likely that two more would be closed later that same day. Among the pending are access to markets, commercial defense and rules of origin.
In another aspect of the FTA, Ecuador used pressure from Mexico to advance to international standards in the financial services sector and took it as a national policy to be able to open its own market and make specific reforms to its Financial Law in order to attract more foreign investment.
“There were several legal obstacles that did not allow the opening of the financial market and that were closed in Ecuador, and we have managed to pass a legal reform in line with what was requested by Mexico, which is a new definition of what financial groups and the permitted share capital to be able to invest in Ecuador”, commented Prado.