Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: New trade opportunities with Ecuador could be imminent, opening possibilities for Wisconsin manufacturers and suppliers to participate.
The U.S. and Ecuador may soon expand their trade relationship.
U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai met with Ecuador’s commerce minister Julio Jose Prado in Washington, D.C., in late October and agreed to set up a fair trade working group. Its goal will be to explore potential negotiations on labor, the environment, and digital trade, according to a news release from Tai’s office.
A new round of talks in early 2023 is intended “to pursue a worker-centered trade policy that fosters greater trade, investment, and cooperation between both countries,” the news release says.
The U.S. and Ecuador established a Trade and Investment Council in 1990 and approved updates in 2020 aimed at cutting some red tape and improving opportunities for trade and investment. The 2020 agreement set terms for good regulatory practices, transparency, anti-corruption efforts, and an emphasis on small and midsize enterprises.
Ecuador is the 41st largest trading partner for the U.S., according to the U.S. Trade Office, with a total of $12.5 billion worth of goods changing hands between the two countries in 2019. U.S. suppliers sold $5.5 billion worth of products to Ecuador, while Ecuador exported $7 billion in goods to the U.S.
Top U.S. exports to Ecuador include mineral fuels, machinery, plastics, soybean meal, and food waste. Top exports from Ecuador to the U.S. include petroleum fuels, fish and seafood, and fruits and nuts.
Ecuador is not among the top destinations for Wisconsin products, according to the latest figures from WEDC, but an expansion of the trade agreement with the U.S. could open the door for more Wisconsin manufacturers to consider the South American nation as one of its targets.