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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) 174-9-6
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 534-0-0
Trade Balance (million USD) 50-529-63-1,6501,570
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 6260574439
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 3231292420
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 3029282119

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

Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
2016
United States 32.4%
Chile 6.8%
Vietnam 6.6%
Peru 5.6%
Colombia 4.8%
Russia 4.6%
Panama 3.9%
China 3.9%
Spain 3.3%
Germany 3.2%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2016
United States 23.2%
China 19.1%
Colombia 8.1%
Brazil 4.2%
Peru 3.8%
South Korea 3.4%
Mexico 3.2%
Panama 3.1%
Japan 2.9%
Germany 2.7%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data

 

Main Products

16.8 bn USD of products exported in 2016
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 30.1%
Bananas, incl. plantains, fresh or dried 16.3%
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 15.4%
Prepared or preserved fish; caviar and caviar substitutes prepared from fish eggs 5.3%
Cut flowers and flower buds of a kind suitable for bouquets or for ornamental purposes, fresh, dried, dyed, bleached, impregnated or otherwise prepared 4.8%
Cocoa beans, whole or broken, raw or roasted 3.7%
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 2.3%
Gold, incl. gold plated with platinum, unwrought or not further worked than semi-manufactured or in powder form 1.6%
Palm oil and its fractions, whether or not refined (excl. chemically modified) 1.4%
Flours, meals and pellets, of meat or meat offal, of fish or of crustaceans, molluscs or other aquatic invertebrates, unfit for human consumption; greaves 0.9%
16.2 bn USD of products imported in 2016
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 8.3%
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 6.0%
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) 4.4%
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) 3.0%
Oil-cake and other solid residues, whether or not ground or in the form of pellets, resulting from the extraction of soya-bean oil 2.2%
Petroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbons 1.9%
Insecticides, rodenticides, fungicides, herbicides, anti-sprouting products and plant-growth regulators, disinfectants and similar products, put up for retail sale or as preparations or articles, e.g. sulphur-treated bands, wicks and candles, and fly-papers 1.5%
Automatic data processing machines and units thereof; magnetic or optical readers, machines for transcribing data onto data media in coded form and machines for processing such data, n.e.s. 1.5%
Wheat and meslin 1.4%
Electrical apparatus for line telephony or line telegraphy, incl. line telephone sets with cordless handsets and telecommunication apparatus for carrier-current line systems or for digital line systems; videophones; parts thereof 1.3%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data

 
 
 

Main Services

7.0 bn USD of services exported in 2014
Travel
63.50%
Transportation
18.20%
Government services
5.21%
Communications services
4.74%
Cultural and recreational services
4.25%
Financial services
4.10%
10.7 bn USD of services imported in 2014
Transportation
50.14%
Travel
17.85%
Insurance services
10.77%
Cultural and recreational services
7.60%
Financial services
4.03%
Government services
3.91%
Royalties and license fees
3.11%
Other business services
2.31%
Communications services
0.29%

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.
 
 
 

 

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Last Updates: July 2017