Mr Humberto Jiménez Torres, Vice Minister of Negotiations, Integration and Trade Remedies, led the Ecuadorian delegation, while Ms Karin Büchel, Minister and Head of the Free Trade Agreements/EFTA Division at the State Secretariat for 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, technical barriers to trade, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, trade remedies, trade in services, competition, trade and sustainable development, legal and institutional issues and dispute settlement. The negotiations were held in a constructive spirit and paved the way for progress in all areas. Experts on intellectual property rights, government procurement and investment will meet during intersessional meetings before the next round, which is planned to take place in July 2017.
Merchandise trade between the EFTA States and Ecuador reached USD 275 million in 2016. EFTA’s top exports to Ecuador include pharmaceutical products, chemicals, machinery and mechanical appliances. EFTA imports mainly consist of fruits, cocoa, cut flowers and precious metals. Pharmaceuticals represent over 60% of EFTA’s exports to Ecuador while fruits represent 40% 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.