To enter the Pacific Alliance as a full member, Ecuador needs a treaty with Mexico, a goal that has been complicated by the lack of consensus on the entry of shrimp and bananas.
After the negotiations of the trade agreement between Ecuador and Mexico reached a point of stalemate, the Government of President Guillermo Lasso began analyzing alternatives to the Pacific Alliance.
At the beginning of the Government, “the Pacific Alliance was the biggest commercial objective, now it is no longer so. We have other treaties that allow us to compensate or exceed what this trade bloc could give us,” says the Minister of Production, Julio José Prado.
One of those free trade agreements is the one that Ecuador has just signed with China. And the government hopes to sign other agreements in 2023, one of them with South Korea.
To enter the Pacific Alliance as a full member, Ecuador needs a treaty with Mexico, a goal that has been complicated by the lack of consensus on the entry of shrimp and bananas, the main products of the Ecuadorian exportable resources.
The cessation of negotiations with Mexico occurred after four years of negotiating the treaty.
This is because, in December 2022, the president of Mexico, Andrés López, stated that he would sign an agreement, but without including shrimp and bananas.
“When we entered the government, the agreement with Mexico was the only one that was being negotiated. That’s why it was given a lot of effort because there were no other options. And that is why we said that it would be the first to be signed,” explained Prado.
He added that the negotiations progressed well until consensus was reached on 99% of the issues.
“In November and December of 2022, it looked like we had the green light to move forward,” said the Minister of Production.
“This [was] after President Guillermo Lasso’s visit to Mexico and after conversations that made us presume that the proposal for shrimp and bananas to access the market in quotas was going to be accepted,” said the Minister.
But, days later, the president of Mexico said that he will not give access to these two products, not even in installments.
Ecuador’s formal response was that “a trade agreement with Mexico cannot be reached without shrimp and bananas,” says Prado.
‘We hope that at some point there will be an opening from the President of Mexico to make his position on access to shrimp and bananas more flexible. If that happens, the agreement will be resumed and quickly closed.”