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Trade Profile

Foreign Trade in Figures

Ecuador has been a member of the WTO since 1996 and has implemented a four-level tariff system: 5% for most raw materials and capital goods, 10-20% for intermediate goods and 20% for most consumer goods. Lastly, a small number of products, including planting seeds, agricultural chemicals and veterinary products are exempt from tax. However, there are still several non-tariff barriers: importers are required to register with the Central Bank in order to obtain an import license and must also have authorisations from different governmental agencies. Ecuador also continues to maintain a pre-shipment inspection (PSI) regime for imports.

Trade accounts for more than 44% of the country's GDP (WTO, 2015). In November 2016, Ecuador signed the tripartite free-trade agreement between the EU and the Andean countries. In addition, the country has intensified its trade relations with Russia and Iran, and is negotiating an agreement with South Korea. The United States remains the largest partner and China the main investor and creditor. The country mainly exports oil and agricultural products (bananas, cocoa, shrimp, fish and flowers). Its main export destinations are the United States (39.4% of exports), Chile, Peru, Vietnam and Colombia. The main suppliers are the United States, China, Colombia and South Korea.

After registering a deficit of 2.8 billion EUR in 2015, the Ecuadorian trade balance recovered in 2016, showing a surplus of 427.7 million EUR. Imports fell by 24% from 2015 in 2016, due to the slowdown in activity following the earthquake and the fall in oil prices, while exports decreased by 8.4%.

Foreign Trade Indicators 20122013201420152016
Imports of Goods (million USD) 25,47727,14627,72621,51816,324
Exports of Goods (million USD) 23,76524,84825,72418,33116,798
Imports of Services (million USD) 3,0903,4013,4233,1183,232
Exports of Services (million USD) 1,6941,9112,2182,2172,109
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 175-8-10
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 536-12
Trade Balance (million USD) 50-529-63-1,6501,567
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 6260584539
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 3231302419
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 3029282120

Source: WTO – World Trade Organisation ; World Bank - Latest available data.

Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
United States 31.7%
Vietnam 7.6%
Peru 6.7%
Chile 6.5%
Panama 4.9%
Russia 4.4%
China 4.0%
Colombia 4.0%
Spain 3.1%
Italy 3.1%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
United States 20.0%
China 18.6%
Colombia 8.1%
Panama 4.5%
Brazil 4.4%
Peru 3.8%
Mexico 3.7%
South Korea 3.3%
Spain 3.0%
Germany 2.7%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data


Main Products

19.1 bn USD of products exported in 2017
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 32.4%
Bananas, incl. plantains, fresh or dried 15.9%
Crustaceans, fit for human consumption, whether in shell or not, live, fresh, chilled, frozen, dried, salted or in brine, incl. crustaceans in shell cooked beforehand by steaming or by boiling in water; flours, meals and pellets of crustaceans, fit for human consumption 15.9%
Prepared or preserved fish; caviar and caviar substitutes prepared from fish eggs 6.1%
Cut flowers and flower buds of a kind suitable for bouquets or for ornamental purposes, fresh, dried, dyed, bleached, impregnated or otherwise prepared 4.6%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 3.8%
Cocoa beans, whole or broken, raw or roasted 3.1%
Palm oil and its fractions, whether or not refined (excl. chemically modified) 1.1%
Gold, incl. gold plated with platinum, unwrought or not further worked than semi-manufactured or in powder form 0.9%
Flours, meals and pellets, of meat or meat offal, of fish or of crustaceans, molluscs or other aquatic invertebrates, unfit for human consumption; greaves 0.6%
19.8 bn USD of products imported in 2017
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 8.5%
Oils and other products of the distillation of high temperature coal tar; similar products in which the weight of the aromatic constituents exceeds that of the non-aromatic constituents 5.9%
Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, incl. station wagons and racing cars (excl. motor vehicles of heading 8702) 4.7%
Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed products for therapeutic or prophylactic uses, put up in measured doses incl. those in the form of transdermal administration or in forms or packings for retail sale (excl. goods of heading 3002, 3005 or 3006) 3.7%
Petroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbons 2.4%
Transmission apparatus for radio-telephony, radio-telegraphy, radio-broadcasting or television, whether or not incorporating reception apparatus or sound recording or reproducing apparatus; television cameras; still image video cameras and other video camera recorders; digital cameras 2.0%
Motor vehicles for the transport of goods, incl. chassis with engine and cab 1.7%
Oil-cake and other solid residues, whether or not ground or in the form of pellets, resulting from the extraction of soya-bean oil 1.6%
Preparations of a kind used in animal feeding 1.5%
Wheat and meslin 1.4%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data


Main Services

7.0 bn USD of services exported in 2014
Government services
Communications services
Cultural and recreational services
Financial services
10.7 bn USD of services imported in 2014
Insurance services
Cultural and recreational services
Financial services
Government services
Royalties and license fees
Other business services
Communications services

Source: United Nations Statistics Division, Latest Available Data


Trade Compliance

International Conventions
Member of World Trade Organisation
Main International Economic Cooperation
Member of Community of Andean Nations

Member of Organisation of American States

Member of Latin American and Caribbean Economic System

Associate Member of Mercosur

Useful Resources
Corporación Aduanera Ecuatoriana (only in Spanish)
National Organisation of Intellectual Property
The Ecuadorian Institute of Intellectual Property.


Learn more about How to Export to Ecuador on, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

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Last Updates: November 2017