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Biden discusses enhancing ties with Ecuador president
Kind: ICD What's New  Organization: Department of International Cooperation  Publish Date: 2023-01-09 16:30
U.S. President Joe Biden met with visiting Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso at the White House Dec. 19, 2022, to discuss deepening the economic and security partnership between their two countries.

As China's influence grows in Latin America and the Caribbean, the U.S. needs to supercharge trade with Ecuador and find ways to enhance its presence in the region, according to the New Atlanticist.

Ecuador is set to become the fourth country in Latin America to ink a free trade agreement with China. The accord, which Lasso said earlier this month is "practically signed", is expected to boost Ecuador's exports by US$1 billion. China surpassed the U.S. as Ecuador's main trading partner in non-petroleum goods in 2022.

The Biden-Lasso meeting is part of the U.S.'s efforts to enhance economic and diplomatic partnerships with Latin American countries. The two leaders discussed strengthening regional economic integration through the bilateral Trade and Investment Council Agreement, as well as the Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity initiative, by promoting investment, deepening economic cooperation, establishing high standards for labor and the environment, and providing opportunities for working families.

During the meeting, President Biden announced a US$13.5 million disbursement to support microfinance loans through Ecuador, including for women-led and owned businesses, as well as the intent to provide US$5 million in support of President Lasso's initiative to address child malnutrition by improving sanitation and access to clear water in rural areas. To ensure that public procurement practices are more fair, open and transparent, Ecuador was also invited to join the Global Procurement Initiative, which will facilitate the development of high-quality, resilient infrastructure through training for Ecuador's public procurement officials.

In addition, Biden also announced US$20 million to support Ecuador in reducing carbon emissions, protecting biodiversity, revitalizing the economy and addressing illegal fishing. Both presidents also committed to deal with regional migration challenges and climate change. Finally, they welcomed congressional approval of United States-Ecuador Partnership Act of 2022, which will expand bilateral cooperation on strengthening democratic institutions, promoting inclusive growth, and supporting environmental conservation, among other issues.

One of Lasso's main priorities when he took office in 2021 was to sign an FTA with the U.S. On Nov. 1 this year, the two countries established the U.S.-Ecuador Fair Trade Working Group, which will hold negotiations on a range of issues including labor, environment, and digital trade.

Sources: Economic Division, Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Peru; White House website; New Atlanticist

Update: 2020-04-23
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