China, Ecuador sign free trade agreement
China and Ecuador signed a free trade agreement (FTA) Thursday to boost bilateral trade and business ties, according to the Ministry of Commerce.
The pact was signed by China's Commerce Minister Wang Wentao and Ecuador's Minister for Production, Foreign Trade, Investment and Fisheries Julio Prado via video after a year of negotiation, said the ministry.
The FTA will help the two sides achieve high-standard mutual opening up, create a better business environment, further tap the potential in trade and investment cooperation, and promote the sustainable, stable and diversified development of bilateral trade, it said.
Once the FTA goes into effect, as much as 90 percent of the goods traded between China and Ecuador will be exempted from tariffs, while 60 percent of them will enjoy zero tariffs immediately, according to the deal.
China and Ecuador will proceed with respective domestic procedures so that the FTA can come into effect at an early date, said the commerce ministry. The two sides will also conduct further negotiations on areas of common interest to seek upgrading of the FTA.
China is Ecuador's second-largest trading partner. In 2022, the two countries witnessed double-digit growth in trade for the second year in a row, with bilateral trade reaching US$13.1 billion, up 19.7 percent year on year.