EFTA and Ecuador hold first round of free trade negotiations

Published 18-11-2016
From left: Mr Alejandro Dávalos, Chief Negotiator, Undersecretary for Trade Negotiations and Economic Integration, Ecuador; Ms Nína Björk Jónsdóttir, Minister-Counsellor, Iceland; Mr Pascal Décosterd, Ambassador, Switzerland; Mr Juan Carlos Cassinelli, Minister of Foreign Trade, Ecuador; Ms Karin Büchel, EFTA spokesperson, Minister, Head of Free Trade Agreements / EFTA Division, Switzerland; Mr Martin Zbinden, Deputy Secretary-General, EFTA; Ms Ragnhild Gunnes, Deputy Director, Norway; and Mr Pa
The EFTA States and Ecuador held their first round of negotiations on a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) from 14 to 17 November 2016 in Quito, Ecuador.

Mr Alejandro Dávalos, Chief Negotiator, Undersecretary for Trade Negotiations and Economic Integration, led the Ecuadorian delegation, while Ms Karin Büchel, Minister and Head of the Free Trade Agreements / EFTA Division at the State Secretariat of Economic Affairs of Switzerland, acted as the EFTA spokesperson.

Expert working groups convened to discuss draft texts in areas such as trade in goods, rules of origin, trade facilitation, trade remedies, trade in services, intellectual property rights, competition, trade and sustainable development, government procurement, legal and institutional issues, cooperation and dispute settlement. Technical barriers to trade, sanitary and phytosanitary measures and investment were discussed at Heads’ level. The negotiations were held in a constructive spirit and paved the way for progress in all areas.

These negotiations were preceded by the signing of a Joint Declaration on Cooperation (JDC) on 22 June 2015 in Schaan, Liechtenstein, and were officially launched by Ministers from the EFTA States and Ecuador on 27 June 2016 in Bern.

Merchandise trade between the EFTA States and Ecuador reached USD 287 million in 2015. EFTA’s top exports to Ecuador include pharmaceutical products, chemicals, machinery and mechanical appliances. EFTA imports mainly consist of fruits, cocoa and precious metals. Pharmaceuticals represent over 40% of EFTA’s exports to Ecuador while fruits represent one third of Ecuador’s exports to EFTA. The stock of foreign direct investment in Ecuador’s economy originating from the EFTA States reached USD 678 million in 2012.

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Seminar on the European Economic Area - Brussels 13 September 2018