The Minister of Foreign Trade, Julio José Prado, confirmed that Ecuador will not sign a trade agreement with Mexico if it does not include shrimp and bananas.
As of now, Mexico says shrimp and bananas, two of Ecuador’s main export products, will not be included in a trade agreement.
In a press conference held on December 23, 2022, the President of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, said that Mexico is going to sign the trade agreement with Ecuador, but without including bananas and shrimp.
“I told the President (Guillermo Lasso) that in this case we were not going to be able to include plantains and shrimp in the agreement,” said the Mexican president.
However, regardless of what López Obrador said, Ecuador’s Minister of Foreign Trade, Julio José Prado, said on December 24th that if shrimp and bananas are not included, Ecuador will not sign the trade agreement with Mexico.
“Despite having demonstrated at some point an opening for bananas and shrimp to have an income based on quotas to the Mexican market, Mexico’s current position is that these two products should be totally excluded,” said Prado.
The Minister explained that “Ecuador is not going to close a negotiation while these two products do not have some type of access into the Mexican market that is beneficial for Ecuador.”
The Minister of Foreign Trade added that Ecuador will continue to wait for an official response from Mexico that will allow the closing of the negotiation.
López Obrador emphasized that Mexico wants to have commercial relations “with all countries,” so the agreement with Ecuador will be signed.
After negotiations had been stalled since May 2022, Ecuador and Mexico agreed in October to start a permanent dialogue to seek the definitive closure of the trade agreement.
Ecuador needs a trade agreement with Mexico, so that it can enter the Pacific Alliance, and Mexico is aware of this and is using it as a bargaining chip with the Andean country.
The Pacific Alliance commercial bloc is currently made up of Colombia, Chile, Mexico and Peru.
Ecuador has shown its interest in joining the bloc since 2018, but to enter, it must have trade agreements with all the member countries of the bloc.
However, shrimp and bananas have been the critical points in the negotiation for a trade agreement with Mexico.
Mexican producers of these two products feel threatened by the possibility that Ecuadorian exports enter Mexico without tariffs.