Ecuador reaches trade deal with China, aims to increase exports, Lasso says

U.S. President Joe Biden meets with Ecuador President Lasso
Ecuador President Guillermo Lasso meets with U.S. President Joe Biden in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S., December 19, 2022. REUTERS/Leah Millis

GUAYAQUIL, Jan 3 (Reuters) - Ecuador President Guillermo Lasso said on Tuesday the country has sealed a free trade deal with China, an agreement expected to increase exports and boost growth in the South American country's industrial sector.

"Good news to start 2023. The negotiation between China and Ecuador has been successfully concluded," Lasso tweeted.

With the deal, Ecuadorean exports will have preferential access to China, and the South American country's manufacturers will be able to acquire machinery and inputs at lower costs, Lasso added.

"This trade agreement will allow preferential access for 99% of Ecuador's current exports to China, especially agricultural and agro-industrial products such as shrimp, bananas, roses and flowers, cocoa, coffee," Ecuador's production ministry said in a statement.

Ecuador began its negotiations with Beijing in February 2022.

Lasso has previously said the deal would secure an additional $1 billion in Ecuadorean exports to China. He did not offer updated figures on Tuesday.

Between January and October 2022, Ecuadorean non-oil exports to China totaled $4.9 billion, a figure higher than any other nation with which Ecuador does export business.

Last year Ecuador reached an agreement to restructure its debt with Chinese banks, providing relief worth some $1.4 billion until 2025.

Reporting by Carolina Pulice in Mexico City and Yuri Garcia in Guayaquil; Editing by Matthew Lewis and Bill Berkrot

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